A man who impersonated an FBI officer and preyed on women has been jailed for over five years.
The FBI says 46-year-old Anthony Jones of Jacksonville, Florida impersonated an agent in an attempt to solicit free sex from a prostitute.
In 2013, Jones had requested a date from an online escort service and promised to pay US$200 (€179).
The prostitute arrived at his apartment, which he shared with his family, while his wife was at work and three children were in school.
Shortly after the prostitute arrived, she asked for the money.
But Jones said he was an FBI agent and that if she did not have sex with him for free, she would be arrested.
When the woman complained, Jones called an accomplice on the phone who was working from a script.
Investigating officer Special Agent Steve Burros said: "He puts the phone on speaker and says, 'Hey, I got another one for you. I’m just now finishing up the other two warrants'.
"And so now, the prostitute believed him."
Jones also pointed to a smoke detector in the bedroom and said the woman was being monitored by a hidden camera.
Afterward, the prostitute told her roommate what had happened and the two realised she had been scammed.
They then went to Jones' residence to collect the money. A heated argument that followed led to a police intervention, and Jones ended up being charged with receiving a sex act through force or coercion.
Meanwhile, the accomplice on the phone during the prostitution incident was a young woman who knew she was part of a scam but did not know Jones was trying to get free sex.
She had a child with Jones but had no idea he was married and living with his wife and three other children. The FBI say she was also a victim of Jones' cons.
On the run
It turned out that the young woman - the mother of Jones’ child - had lost both her parents in a car accident and received a settlement of about US$35,000 (€31,358) from the insurance company.
Jones lied and told her he was an investment adviser and that he owned fast food restaurants and would invest the money for her.
"She thought he was investing her money," Burros said, "but instead he was depositing it in his wife's account and spending it on himself."
Jones was arrested on January 9th, 2013 on the prostitute coercion charge and released on bond subject to electronic monitoring.
The following April he cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and fled. He was on the run for more than two years, until he was captured in August 2015 by the US Marshals Service in Jacksonville.
As for the FBI impersonation, "Jones was not a first timer," Burros noted. He had previously been arrested for passing himself off as an agent to get work done on his house.
In 2016, Jones pleaded guilty to impersonating an FBI agent, wire fraud, and failure to appear.
In February 2017, a federal judge sentenced him to five years and six months in prison.
Upon release, he has been ordered to pay restitution of nearly US$22,000 (€19,711) to the young woman whose insurance settlement he fraudulently gained access to.
If he does not pay, he could be sent back to jail.