June 29 (Bloomberg) -- A Virginia man whose charges of posing as a CIA agent and recruiting people to rob banks were dropped by prosecutors last month was accused of impersonating a Homeland Security officer.
Joshua Brady was arrested June 26 after federal agents swarmed his mother’s home in Matoaca. He was charged in a criminal complaint in federal court in Richmond with one count of impersonating a federal officer, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Brady allegedly called two hospitals in the Richmond, Virginia, area saying he needed rooms for an undercover operation and identifying himself as a Department of Homeland Security officer Jacob Attlinger, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
The charge comes a month after Brady was sentenced to three years’ supervision in a plea deal where federal prosecutors dropped charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, accusing the 27-year-old of being behind at least three attempted bank robberies in the Washington area last year while posing as a federal agent who went by the name Theo.
Brady, who pleaded guilty in January to sending a forged judge’s signature to Verizon Communications Inc. in a dispute over an unpaid mobile-phone bill, was ordered by U.S. District Judge John Gibney to stay away from the Internet for one year and receive mental health treatment.
The Homeland Security probe began on June 23 after the Virginia State Police alerted the department to “Attlinger.”
Brady, using the alias, had contacted a security manager at St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian and the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, seeking a room that could be equipped with “audio and video surveillance equipment for an undercover operation” by June 27, according to an affidavit by Kevin Hogancamp, a Homeland Security special agent.
Brady, who appeared June 27 in court on the new charge, was ordered to remain in custody until a detention hearing scheduled for July 1.
Mary Maguire, Brady’s court-appointed lawyer, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail message seeking comment. Zachary Terwilliger, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in Alexandria, declined to comment on the new charge.
In the earlier cases, Brady’s lawyers argued he suffered from mental illnesses that made him unable to form the intent to commit his crimes. Brady has post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and schizotypal personality disorder, according to the doctor hired by his lawyers.
Through Carolina Villegas, an Army reservist he met on an online dating website called sugardaddyforme.com, Brady last year persuaded Herson Torres, then 21, to go into banks in Alexandria and Fairfax County with handwritten notes demanding money, prosecutors said.
Both Villegas and Torres believed that Brady, who they only spoke to by phone, was a federal intelligence agent, according to prosecutors.
Torres said Brady told him the goal of the operation was to test the banks’ security and that he could earn $25,000 and a job with the government by taking part in the mission dubbed “Operation Downstrike.”
None of the robbery attempts over four days succeeded and Torres was eventually arrested. Investigators traced phone calls to Brady, who was charged in August with impersonating a government official and three counts of attempted bank robbery.
At sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said that if Brady didn’t follow up with his treatment and other sentencing requirements, additional crimes may be committed by people at Brady’s behest.
The new case is U.S. v. Brady, 13-mj-00293, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).
To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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