Those familiar with the plot of the Hollywood comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), will be aware of all the cons that the character Lawrence Jamieson (played by the legendary Michael Caine) pulls off.

One such ruse involves posing as the deposed leader of a country seeking funds to fight insurgents. In an instance reminiscent of this scenario, a US man posing as a former CIA agent managed to defraud another man of $2.3 million under the pretext of funding "off the books" missions.

Matthew Anthony Marshall, 51, recently pled guilty to money laundering, tax evasion, and wire fraud (as charged in a second superseding indictment). The resident of Whitefish, Montana, faces a maximum prison term of 20 years, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. Marshall is set to be sentenced on 3 March 2022.

 'CIA Agent' and 'Soldier Elite'

A US Marine (Representational Picture)Flickr/ NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

According to court documents, it has been alleged that Marshall began working for the victim—who has been identified as John Doe—in Montana in 2013. The conman managed to convince Doe that he was a former CIA agent and that he had also served as a member of the elite United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance (FORECON). He told Doe that he had been involved in several covert missions across the world.

However, Marshall's claims were far from the truth. Not only had he not been associated with the CIA in any capacity but had also never served in FORECON. In fact, he had received an 'Other than honorable' discharge from the Marine Corps Reserve in November 1999 after being absent from inactive duty training; not once or twice but a whopping 82 times!

Eventually, Marshal asked Doe whether he would bankroll "off the books" CIA-backed missions. The 'former CIA agent' also stated to his victim that these missions would involve assault teams. Moreover, Marshal informed Doe that he would be personally leading rescue and other operations in foreign countries.

Funding for Important 'Missions'

A secret agent
A secret agent (Representational Picture)Flickr/ John Christian Fjellestad

Believing Marshall's tales, Doe transferred large sums of money—totaling around $2,355,000—to the 51-year-old at least six times. He provided the financial assistance sought while being led to believe that the money was being used to fund CIA operations.

The first wire transfer from Doe to Marshall, a sum of $400,000, was in April 2013 for an "off the books" paramilitary mission to Mexico. Following this, Marshall continued to seek funding for more supposed missions from October 2013 until March 2016. As grand as Marshall's representations were, none of the money was used to fund any missions whatsoever.

Instead, Marshall utilized the money obtained by deceiving Doe for personal expenses and gifts and loans for family members and friends. Additionally, he did not report the money wired by Doe in 2013 (for two supposed missions) as income tax. This resulted in tax evasion amounting to $356,756.

A plea agreement filed has called for the dismissal of eight other counts at sentencing (provided the agreement is accepted by the court). Also, with restitution being mandatory, Marshall has agreed to be responsible for full restitution. The US government is set to seek restitution of about $2,355,000 for the wire fraud, along with $899,327 for tax. However, the final figure will be determined during sentencing.