You've probably heard about Wayne Simmons. He's the alleged former CIA officer who functioned as a "terrorism consultant" for Fox News, where he often spewed far-right hooey
. My favorite example occurred in 2005, when he told Bill O'Reilly that the election of a Democratic president would result in "9/11s unabated."
A grand jury has indicted Simmons, claiming that he is, in essence, a fraud. Prosecutors say that he lied about being a former CIA operative
when he applied for a job at the State Department. They say that he told a similar fib when he worked for a government contractor.
Simmons is also charged with two counts of wire fraud regarding an unrelated real estate scheme in which he also represented himself as a former CIA agent to “bolster his credibility” with the victim, identified only by the initials EL. Simmons offered EL an opportunity to make a $125,000 investment in a real estate investment that would last at least six months.
However, “There was in fact no real estate investment, and the defendant used the invested funds for personal purposes,” according to court documents. Simmons prolonged the fraud by providing the promised monthly payments of 3 percent and “Sent EL text messages intended to lull EL with false explanations as to the status of her invested funds.”
Moreover, he is accused of lying about his felony convictions when he tried to get a security clearance. Simmons claims that he really was CIA, and that his felonies were for acts committed in the line of duty.
Many liberals are getting a hearty chuckle out of this story. On the left, most writers accept the theory that this oft-seen Fox News "expert" was never anything more than a blowhard and a grifter. Simmons, they say, was just another flim-flam man man who concocted a false history of covert derring-do. (Remember the used car salesman in True Lies
? I've met a couple of guys like that.)
But the situation may not be so simple. Is Simmons nothing more than a fraud -- or is something else going on?
Consider: Wayne Simmons wrote a spy novel which received an appreciative blurb from none other than Donald Rumsfield, who said that Simmons had lived the life described in his fiction. Retired General Paul Vallely, who met Simons via Fox News, thought that Simmons was very savvy about Spookworld. Moreover, Marcy Wheeler
has tentatively linked Simmons to the likes of former CIA Director David Petraeus and General Stanley McChrystal.
If Simmons were a mere scamster of the "preach a little Gospel, sell a couple bottles of Dr. Good" variety, I strongly doubt that he would have attempted to get the security clearance necessary to work for the State Department. How many con artists would dare to make a play like that? The reward does not justify the risk.
Behind the scenes, I've corresponded a bit with Marcy Wheeler about the Simmons case. As a result of this exchange, I decided to check out the man's internet trail. My conclusion: There is no pressing need to choose between the "Simmons as con man" theory and the "Simmons as covert operative" theory. It is possible for one person to be both
In fact, that conjunction is more common than many people think. As British writer Robin Ramsey once observed, the spy and the con artist rely on very similar skill sets. For example, both the spy and the con artist know how to set up fake companies, which can be made to seem quite "real" on the internet.
Longtime readers may recall Brent Wilkes and Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the fellows who played such a huge role in the bribery scandal that brought down Congressman "Duke" Cunningham. Dusty rose to the number three spot at CIA, yet he and Wilkes were pretty damned scammy. I did a lot of research into their outrageous antics back in the day
Let us now cast a similar eye on Wayne Simmons.
He was kind enough to provide us with a resume (of sorts) -- here
. Aside from his claims to be a covert operative and a consultant to the Bush White House, Wayne Simmons has dabbled in a surprisingly wide variety of enterprises: He's a novelist, he runs his own airline, he creates and sells high-end software, he's a mortgage loan officer, he ran a medical company, and he's an international financier
Later in his career, Simmons became President and CEO of WSS International, Ltd, a Maryland company formed to arrange loans for multinational companies in Europe, Hong Kong, and Macau. He was also involved in working with American Fortune 500 companies and providing introductions to the various foreign ministers of Kazakhstan. Currently, Simmons is the general manager and senior loan officer of an Annapolis, Maryland home mortgage broker.
What is WSS International? Well, there's a company bearing that name in DC, but it appears to be unconnected.
The firm started by Simmons seems to be no longer in business. The resident agent
was listed as Corrine T. Simmons -- presumably a wife or relative. If you trace the address via Google Street View, you will soon find yourself looking at a pleasant, two-story suburban home in Bowie, Maryland.
doubt that this "company" mounted many loans for multi-national corporations and Fortune 500 companies.
The home mortgage brokerage firm in Annapolis is First Mortgage Masters
, with a mailing address located in a very small (two-story) suburban office building. There are zero reviews of this firm.
In fact, I have found no evidence that First Mortgage Masters has ever done any actual, legitimate business.
Remember: Simmons currently faces charges of running a fraudulent real estate investment firm.
Here's the background
for the man's airline, Simmons Air, which he presumably manages when not advising the President or dealing with multinational corporations or arranging home loans. Wayne Simmons claims to have a fleet of Cessna 404s. I'd like to see the N numbers. You may be interested in this 2006 ruling
from the United States Department of Transportation, which fined Simmons for misleading advertising.
I can find no current website for this airline. So far, I've seen no hard evidence that it has ever sold a passenger ticket.
(Readers may recall the work of Daniel Hopsicker, who has often written about the CIA's use of front companies in the field of aviation. Just before a plane is used in an operation, it often passes through the hands of many tiny companies which exist purely on paper. This ploy obscures the true ownership.)
We have hardly squeezed all the juice out of Simmons' resume. On his website, he claims:
Wayne is the sole inventor and PATENT holder of the Fraud Prevention Software, HADRiAN. He is currently the CEO of Securus LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company.HADRIAN
-- a mobile app that prevents credit card fraud -- would appear to be the sole software product offered by Securus
Wayne Simmons keeps unfolding like a flower! As we've seen, this man has a (claimed) background in counterterrorism, mortgage brokering, airline management, international finance, and novel writing. He has also functioned as a consultant to George Bush, to Fox News, and to an unspecified number of Fortune 500 companies. Yet he also had the time to learn how to write code.
Unfortunately, I have seen no indication that anyone actually uses
HADRIAN, although there is indeed a patent
Securus is located in Annapolis. I would not be surprised to learn that the company's mail (if it actually gets
mail) goes to the same address used by First Mortgage Masters. If Securus is an actual software company, how has their website managed to escape the attention of Google?
Pissed Consumer devotes a lot of attention to a New Jersey company called Securus, which appears to be a multi-level marketing scam.
I'm not sure if this
Securus should be identified with the Wayne Simmons Securus. Alternet
says that that the two Securuses (Securi?) are one and the same.
On his website, Wayne Simmons says that Hadrian/Securus is partnered
with a company called Smart Solutions of Delaware
, which advises corporations on "human capital" and "strategic planning" and whatnot. Surprisingly, this firm also offers an actual, physical product. It's called -- get this -- the BabyHydroSpa
Smart Solutions, based in Fairfax, VA, introduces us to a remarkable business partner of Wayne Simmons. Although the company is advertising for new hires, the website lists no current employees or officers -- with one exception: CEO John Scudi, a name printed in small type on the "contacts" page.
Does that name ring a bell? In 1998, Rear Admiral John Scudi
was relieved of his duties after being caught up in a scandal. He was found guilty of several charges, including granting Navy contracts to a company run by his mistress -- or rather, one of his two mistresses. (Shades of David Petraeus!) Adultery is a crime in the Navy, although it is customarily prosecuted only when there is a link to some other type of criminal activity.
Are we dealing with the same John Scudi? I believe that we are. Let us pause to ponder the circumstances that brought William Simmons and John Scudi into an association.
That's not all. Believe it or not, Simmons once owned a medical company
. Alas, his foray into that field caused him to run afoul of the SEC.
WAYNE S. SIMMONS ENJOINED
The Commission today announced that Wayne S. Simmons consented to a permanent injunction, enjoining him from future violations of the registration and antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933.
From July 1987 through June 1988, Simmons was the president and a member of the Board of Directors of Blood-Check Inc., a company headquartered in Greenbelt, Maryland which offered blood-screening services to test for AIDS. The Complaint alleges that in January and February 1988, Simmons was responsible for Blood-Check’s offering to sell unregistered shares of its common stock by means of a prospectus which contained materially false and misleading statements concerning Blood-Check’s liabilities and its history of operations and revenues. It further alleges that Simmons violated the registration provisions of the Securities Act by advertising the availability of the prospectus through tombstone advertisements placed in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Annapolis Capitol, and The Baltimore Sun. (SEC v. Wayne S. Simmons, USDC DC, Civil Action No. 88-2899).
All in all, Wayne Simmons appears to be a rather dubious fellow. Could he really
have links to Spookworld?
He does seem to know his way around that territory. He seems to know some important people. He used to be represented by the very prestigious firm of Perkin Coie, which is not the sort of law firm one normally associates with low-level scamsters. (The firm has represented at least one former CIA operative.)
If you don't mind a quick visit to the realm of blue-sky speculation, I'd like to close with a message I sent to Marcy Wheeler yesterday:
This is pure gut reaction -- I have no real evidence and I may be wrong -- but I'll bet that if you dig deep into Simmons' past, eventually the name of Mitch WerBell will come up. He ran a well-known paramilitary camp in Georgia. At different times, he would say that he both was and was not CIA. WerBell linked up to an earlier group called Interpen, a group of off the books operatives, most of whom had had serious problems with the law. They were never Agency in any official sense, but they would be called in for dirty work. Sort of like "The Expendables."
I could easily see how a guy in that era who had received training at WerBell's camp might say he was CIA, and could even claim to be a counterinsurgency expert, since WerBell was always bragging about going to hotspots around the world.
WerBell's orbit included a number of people who had one foot in the world of spycraft and another foot in the world of The Big Scam. (The gloriously bizarre Gordon Novel provides one example. If you would like to go insane, spend a week studying the life and works of Gordon Novel.) If WerBell were alive today, I'm pretty sure that his face would be seen on Fox News almost as often as Sean Hannity's.
I'll say it again: The idea of a WerBell/Simmons link is sheer conjecture
on my part, and there is every chance that I'm wrong. WerBell has been on my mind a great deal lately, ever since I wrote a post about his little-known link to the strange case of Wayne Williams
Check out the comments below this post. An anonymous (but apparently well-informed) reader reports that former Rear Admiral John Scudi is related to Wayne Simmons.
I just now found an obit that shines more light on this matter. You have to pay attention, because there is more than one Patricia in this story. The obituary is for a woman named Patricia Willodean (Myers) Simmons
, who was married to Navy man Wayne A. Simmons, the father of the subject of our post, Wayne S. Simmons.
Wife of the late Wayne A. Simmons; mother of Patricia (John Scudi) Bradshaw, Wayne (and the late Corinne) Simmons, Michael (Joann) Simmons, and Peggy (James) Wagner; grandmother of ten and great-grandmother of 8. A 60 year resident of Sunnyside in College Park and longtime member of Berwyn Baptist, she began her government career in 1944 with the FBI as a fingerprint specialist, then served as a librarian at the Bethesda Naval Hospital for 36 years.
Apparently, Patricia Bradshaw is Wayne's sister and John's wife. Since I'm in a naughty mood, I can't help asking the obvious question: If Patricia Simmons was the librarian at Bethesda Naval Hospital, did she know the whereabouts of the missing JFK autopsy photos?