A Montana man who claimed he was a former CIA agent and Force Reconnaissance Marine conducting “off the books” rescue operations pleaded guilty Nov. 10 to wire fraud, tax evasion and money laundering after defrauding another man of more than $2 million, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson of the District of Montana said in a press release.
Matthew Anthony Marshall, 51, of Whitefish, Montana, faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for wire fraud, the most serious charge against him. He will also be ordered to pay restitution totaling at least $3 million for the charges of wire fraud and tax evasion.
According to court documents, Marshall allegedly began working for the victim — identified only as John Doe — in Montana in 2013, during which Marshall convinced the man he was a former CIA agent and Force Recon Marine who had conducted covert operations around the world.
However, Marshall had no affiliation with the CIA and had never served with the elite reconnaissance unit while in the Marine Corps. According to the press release, Marshall had served in the Marine Corps Reserve, but received an other-than-honorable discharge in 1999 after missing more than 80 inactive-duty training events.
Marshall allegedly asked Doe if he would fund “off the books,” CIA-backed missions, stating that he would lead assault teams on rescue missions abroad.
For the first “mission,” purportedly a paramilitary operation in Mexico, Marshall had Doe wire him $400,000 in April 2013. Doe allegedly made at least six different wire transactions to Marshall between 2013 and March 2016, totaling approximately $2,355,000.
None of the money Marshall received was used for any missions, in Mexico or elsewhere. Instead, Marshall allegedly used the money on gifts for family and friends and on personal expenses.
He additionally failed to report any of the money he received on his tax returns, according to prosecutors, resulting in $356,756 in tax evasion for 2013 alone.
According to the press release, a plea agreement filed in the case calls for eight counts against Marshall to be dismissed at sentencing if the court accepts the agreement. Marshall will also be held completely responsible for restitution and will have to pay it to both the victim and to the government.
The prosecution is requesting approximately $2,355,000 in restitution for the wire fraud and $899,327 for tax evasion committed from 2013 through 2016.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy will determine Marshall’s sentence March 3, 2022, during which the complete amount of restitution to be paid will be determined.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy J. Racicot and Ryan G. Weldon are prosecuting the case. The investigation was conducted by the IRS’s Criminal Investigation unit and the FBI.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master's candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.