EX-FBI AGENT FACES THEFT CLAIMS

U.S. pros­e­cu­tors say Scott Bow­man stole more than $100,000 seized from sus­pected drug deal­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Joel Ru­bin

The FBI agent’s buy­ing spree, pros­e­cu­tors say, be­gan in Au­gust when he put down $27,500 in cash for a sports car.

He dropped nearly $44,000 in cash sev­eral days later, this time for a Dodge Chal­lenger. More than $25,000 more went to buy wheels and sound sys­tems.

Shortly af­ter, there was $15,000 for cos­metic surgery for his wife, and then a luxury va­ca­tion to Las Ve­gas with a girl­friend, where he paid $1,000 for tick­ets to a boxing match.

There was one catch, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors: Scott M. Bow­man was fund­ing his ex­trav­a­gance us­ing drug money he had stolen.

A grand jury in­dict­ment un­sealed Thurs­day de­tails the spend­ing. Bow­man, who was fired from the FBI in March, faces charges of steal­ing more than $100,000 that he and other law en­force­ment of­fi­cials con­fis­cated from sus­pected drug deal­ers, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

Bow­man, 44, al­legedly took cash from a se­ries of drug in­ves­ti­ga­tions last year, the in­dict­ment says.

In a few in­stances, Bow­man pock­eted sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars that had been taken off sus­pected metham­phetamine deal­ers dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the in­dict­ment claims.

Then, in Au­gust, Bow­man, along with mem­bers of an anti-gang task force to which he was as­signed, dis­cov­ered sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars in cash dur­ing a raid on a San Bernardino house that was thought to be part of a large heroin and co­caine dis­tri­bu­tion ring. The cash was sealed in ev­i­dence bags and locked in a safe at an FBI of­fice for the night, the in­dict­ment says.

The fol­low­ing day, Bow­man re­trieved the cash to drive it to an­other fa­cil­ity, where it was to be counted. Bow­man opened the ev­i­dence bags, re­moved “a sub­stan­tial amount” of the cash and repack­aged the re­main­ing bills in new bags, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

Bow­man “put his own greed above the trust placed in him by the FBI and the Amer­i­can public,” As­sis­tant Atty. Gen. Les­lie R. Cald­well said in a state­ment. “Cor-

rupt law en­force­ment agents not only com­pro­mise those in­ves­ti­ga­tions in which they are in­volved, but also dam­age the rep­u­ta­tions of fel­low law en­force­ment of­fi­cers who are ded­i­cated to public ser­vice and the pro­tec­tion of all Amer­i­cans.”

In ad­di­tion to the thefts, Bow­man, of Moreno Val­ley, was charged with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice, money laun­der­ing, fal­si­fi­ca­tion of records and wit­ness tam­per­ing, the state­ment said.

Bow­man pleaded not guilty dur­ing an ap­pear­ance in U.S. dis­trict court in River­side on Thurs­day af­ter- noon, said his at­tor­ney Tony Raphael. He was later re­leased from cus­tody on an $80,000 bond, ac­cord­ing to Raphael, who de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

The in­dict­ment al­leges that Bow­man tried to con­ceal the source of his new spend­ing by falsely telling col­leagues he had re­ceived a $97,000 ad­vance on his in­her­i­tance from his sick fa­ther.

He also falsely wrote on a re­port that a San Bernardino po­lice de­tec­tive had ac­com­pa­nied him to drop off the money at the cash­count­ing fa­cil­ity, the in­dict­ment says. Bow­man forged the de­tec­tive’s sig­na­ture on a re­ceipt he re­ceived when he de­liv­ered the money, pros­e­cu­tors al­lege.

Af­ter a su­per­vi­sor later asked about one of the seizures, Bow­man sent an email to the de­tec­tive pro­vid­ing him with a “cover story” to give to of­fi­cials if he were asked about the money, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, which does not name the de­tec­tive. The de­tec­tive was told to say he ac­com­pa­nied the agent to the cash-count­ing fa­cil­ity but did not go in with him, and then signed a re­ceipt the agent brought out to him, the in­dict­ment says.

Bow­man’s al­leged crimes have al­ready taken a toll. Pros­e­cu­tors late last year walked away from one drug case in which Bow­man was an in­ves­ti­ga­tor, ac­cord­ing to the at­tor­ney for one of the de­fen­dants.

David J.P. Kaloy­anides said he rep­re­sented Mor­gan Cousins, one of sev­eral men who faced a host of drug charges that stemmed from an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Bow­man’s task force. In De­cem­ber, as the case was pro­ceed­ing to­ward trial, pros­e­cu­tors sud­denly dropped all charges against the men with­out ex­pla­na­tion, Kaloy­anides said.

In March, Kaloy­anides said he re­ceived a let­ter from the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice no­ti­fy­ing him that Bow­man had been fired and out­lin­ing al­le­ga­tions that he had stolen more than $15,000 con­fis­cated dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the men’s al­leged drug deal­ing.

The let­ter, a copy of which was re­viewed by The Times, also in­cluded men­tion of other mis­con­duct that FBI of­fi­cials sus­pected Bow­man may have com­mit­ted. On two oc­ca­sions, Bow­man is be­lieved to have left drugs and guns that were seized as ev­i­dence be­neath an of­fice desk in­stead of se­cur­ing them in an ev­i­dence locker as agents are re­quired to do.

Kaloy­anides said he rep­re­sents two more peo­ple in pending drug cases in which Bow­man was in­volved. He added that he knows of at least two ad­di­tional peo­ple who pleaded guilty in cases in which Bow­man was part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A spokesman for the U.S at­tor­ney’s of­fice said pros­e­cu­tors had alerted de­fense at­tor­neys on cases in which Bow­man may have played a role.

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