Fictitious CIA Mission With Bogus Red Cross and Delta Force Influences Became An IRS and Investor Fraud

March 4, 2022

In these plague days, in these pre- or post-Apocalyptic times, there's often nothing like a good tale to divert our attention from the daily horrors with which we live. In that spirit, I shall gladly accept the role of raconteur and offer a story of intrigue, of dubious derring-do, of international men of mystery, and, in the end, of a garden variety investor fraud somewhat gussied up by a lot of hyperbole.

The Sentencing Memorandum

On February 25, 2022, the United States of America, acting through Leif M. Johnson, the United States Attorney for the District Court for the District of Montana ("DMont") submitted some 3,816 words in the form of a Sentencing Memorandum in United States of America, Plaintiff, v. Matthew Anthony Marshall, Defendant (DMont / 20-CR-00032) DMont US Attorney Johnson asked that Defendant Marshall, 51, be sentenced to 87 months in prison plus three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,254,327 in restitution and a $300 special assessment -- yeah, those special assessments are killers! Prompting the demand for prison and financial sanctions was Marshall's guilty plea to one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of tax evasion. Just how the hell did Defendant Marshall get himself into such a pickle?  Ahhh, therein lies the tale.

Victim: John Doe

As set out in the Sentencing Memo, we come upon a victim, who, in the fashion of many such put-upon folks, is only referred to as "John Doe." When this matter of intrigue starts to unfold, Marshall told John Doe that the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA") was organizing missions for the country's benefit and, it takes money to put these missions together, and:

Bare (sic) with this odd question, but it directly relates to the good guy stuff we have talked about. Are you interested in supporting a way off the books op for the Red Cross?

at Page 3 of the Sentencing Memo

So, Defendant Marshall came up with this sideline of fabricating CIA missions, and in keeping with that rich fantasy life, he also fabricated quotes and commendations for his missions that never actually existed. In one such text sent by Marshall to John Doe, we have this:

Just wanted to pass on the text I just got, "Anthony, as you can see from the recent news, your efforts and op execution paid off high order. Getting number 1 was a direct result of your commitment. Pass that on to our new friend as well. -CB"

at Page 4 of the Sentencing Memo

Cofer Black "CB" -- another victim of Marshall's scam

CB? Who's the CB sender of the above quoted text message to Marshall, who then passed it on to John Doe?

As Marshall informed John Doe, "CB" was Cofer Black. Yeah, that's quite a name; in fact, it sounds like a spy's name out of Central Casting. In fact, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia joined the CIA in 1975, and rose to the Director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center from 1999 to 2002 and then the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department until November 2004. 

Cofer Black had nothing whatsoever to do with wannabe-super-spy Marshall, but, hell, why ruin a good story with the truth. All of which served to lend credence to more of Marshall's fantabulous claims:

The trend continued with the other missions. Before the second fake operation, Marshall, after falsely claiming Cofer Black had cancer, wrote that he "Inquired about another 'trip' to recover 2 personnel but I told him we probably wouldn't have that in the budget this year." Exhibit 25 at 2; PSR ¶¶ 33-34. The fourth fake mission involved Marshall working directly with government agencies - Delta Force and the CIA - and the money for the fifth "operation" was supposed to go directly to Navy SEALS for targeting operations in the Middle East. PSR ¶¶ 41, 46-47. Marshall touted every fictitious venture as being sponsored and authorized by the CIA, for the benefit of that and other agencies, . . .

at Page 4 of the Sentencing Memo

Prayer Beads from Dead Terrorist and Sicario 2

Having woven a background story embracing the CIA, Cofer Black, Delta Force, Navy Seals, the Red Cross, and who the hell knows what else, Marshall proceeded to foist a number of eye poppin' and jaw droppin' things upon John Doe:

  • Marshall sent the victim prayer beads he claimed he removed from the body of a dead terrorist to add color to his claimed CIA affiliation. Exhibit 6. 

  • He showed the victim what he alleged was a legitimate, classified DD 214 that apparently referenced his extensive training and experience as a Force Recon Marine. Exhibit 8a. No such document exists in Marshall's military files. 

  • In addition to the fake text messages referenced above, in 2015, to perpetuate the myth he worked for the CIA under Cofer Black, Marshall obtained fake phone numbers using a phone application called Burner. Exhibit 134. He used two numbers with Virginia area codes, logged the numbers into his contacts as being affiliated with Black (so the messages would appear on his phone as having been sent from "Cofer"), and sent himself fake messages, purportedly from Black. Exhibit 134i. Cofer Black has never been associated with either Virginia number Marshall used via the Burner app and does not know Marshall at all. Exhibit 338. Marshall used the same Burner app to send himself fake messages from alleged CIA colleagues that essentially claimed the CIA operative in the movie Sicario 2 was based on him. Exhibits 134, 134a, 134b. 

  • To fully embrace the Force Recon fallacy, Marshall got a Force Recon tattoo, which shows the lengths he was willing to go to misrepresent his military service and other aspects of his manufactured background. PSR ¶ 111. 

  • When the pressure mounted concerning his credentials, he claimed he had a life-threatening medical condition, which is conspicuously absent from the information he provided to the Probation Office in preparation of the PSR. PSR ¶¶ 111-113. Marshall used the Burner app again to help substantiate that claim by subscribing to a Minnesota area code and sending himself fake text messages allegedly from neurologists at the Mayo Clinic. Exhibits 134, 134c. 

  • After Marshall suspected he might be investigated and his scheme uncovered, he shifted from defense to offense in an effort to undermine the victim's credibility. As part of that effort, Marshall created fake emails allegedly from the victim's accountant and provided them to the IRS in the hopes of making the victim the target of a criminal investigation. Exhibits 136b-136g.
at Pages 6 -7 of the Sentencing Memo

Don't Screw With the IRS

If you were to ask any savvy lawyer, particularly one who deals with business matters and might occasionally deal with the IRS, you would learn that Rule #1 of corporate law practice is to never screw with the IRS, and the same goes for Rules 2 through 2,000,000. Sadly, Defendant "Sicario 2" Marshall had not acquainted himself with the lore of dropping the IRS's name:

The fake IRS emails require some explanation, which provides further evidence of the level of sophistication Marshall employed to execute the scheme to defraud. Exhibit 136b is an authentic email thread between Marshall and the victim's accountants, which Marshall used as a template for his fake messages. Exhibit 136c shows Marshall forwarding a partially-forged version of the authentic thread to one of his Protonmail accounts. Exhibit 136d contains copies of the fake emails that were found on a thumb drive in Marshall's home office during the execution of a search warrant in December 2018. Page 5 of that exhibit shows the metadata for those fake emails, reflecting creation dates of November 28, 2018. Exhibit 136e is a Google search Marshall performed one day later, November 29, 2018, inquiring "how to clean metadata from a forwarded email." Exhibit 136f is an email from Marshall's then-lawyer forwarding the fake emails to IRS Agent Brett Seamons. And Exhibit 136g, the same fake emails, were hard copies printed by Marshall and seized during the search of his residence from a manila folder labeled "Operation Lima." "Lima" was the victim's call sign during the time Marshall was in charge of his personal security. 

at Page 7 of the Sentencing Memo

Disrespectin' the Law

For all of Marshall's prodigious efforts to build a wall of lies about his CIA exploits, the DMont US Attorney offered a starkly less flattering dose of reality:

Marshall's lack of respect for the law, which dovetails with several other 3553(a) factors, is deeply concerning. While he has no scoreable criminal history, he was convicted of public intoxication and disorderly conduct in 2010 after he refused to cooperate with law enforcement and demonstrated an "abusive attitude." PSR ¶ 98. He also obtained and distributed steroids from at least 2012 to 2015, as evidenced by text messages he exchanged with two different individuals during that time, in which they discuss terms like "deca" (Deca Durabolin), "sus" (Sustanon), "test" (testosterone), "test cyp" (Testosterone cypionate), Andadrol, and Anavar. PSR ¶ 101; Exhibits 336 and 337. 

In this case, Marshall's lack of respect for the law goes way beyond the analysis of scored and unscored criminal history. The following facts, among many others, illustrate Marshall's disregard for the law, law enforcement, and the truth in general: 

  • The Court is well aware of the elaborate lies Marshall told about serving as a Force Recon Marine, including claims he was awarded both a Silver Star and a Bronze Star, which he now acknowledges were entirely false. PSR ¶ 120. It is not clear whether he intends to cling to the lies about working for the CIA, though the record is replete with evidence, much of it outlined above, that he was never associated with that agency in any capacity. 

  • Marshall lied to the Indiana State Police in order to get hired in 1996, neglecting to disclose he had resigned from the police department in Marion, Indiana because he was the suspect in a residential burglary. Exhibit 116 at 4. He lied again in 1998 when he parlayed his fake military service into a coveted position on the state police Emergency Response Team. Id. at 3. Marshall resigned from the Indiana State Police when his duplicity was discovered. Id. at 5. 

  • Marshall petitioned for bankruptcy in 2003. PSR ¶ 126. On his Schedule I, signed under penalty of perjury, Marshall lied about his dependents. He claimed Chris Wernick as his son when, in reality, Wernick is Marshall's nephew. Exhibit 117 at 22.
  • In November 2018, after the victim dissolved Amyntor and multiple people were challenging his credentials, Marshall, using another Protonmail account, sent an ominous email to the victim. Exhibit 140; PSR ¶ 56. That message, sent from, was originally attributed to someone else. But during the search of Marshall's residence in December 2018, a printed list was seized that included passwords for several of Marshall's Protonmail accounts, including Aliceinwonderland63. Exhibit 140a. The victim was alarmed and unnerved by Marshall's statement about unleashing "death and destruction" on the victim's world as well as his warning that "you can't help yourself and your evil queen will rot with you." Exhibit 140.
at Pages 13 - 14 of the Sentencing Memos

There's more but like what's the point -- you got the gist of it, right? Just to tie things up, Marshall defrauded investor John Doe and spent the mark's money on personal expenses and loans and gifts to friends and family members. Not surprisingly, Marshall did not report money received from John Doe in 2013 for two purported missions as income on his tax return, resulting in a tax evasion of $356,756. DMont Judge Donald W. Molloy sentenced Marshall to six years in prison plus three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $2,355,000 in restitution to "John Doe" and $899,327 to the Internal Revenue Service. Whitefish man sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding Montana investor of $2.3 million in scheme to fund fake CIA rescue missions (DOJ Release)