KABC-TV Los Angeles, ABC 7 EYEWITNESS NEWS, abc7.com
BYLINE: Rob McMillan and Lisa Bartley
Los Angeles, CA
An FBI special agent is under criminal investigation after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in cash while working cases as part of a Riverside-based drug task force.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An FBI special agent is under criminal investigation after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in cash while working cases as part of a Riverside-based drug task force.
Scott Bowman worked out of the Los Angeles field office and had been with the FBI since 2005. He was transferred and promoted recently to supervisory special agent at FBI headquarters in Washington.
Eyewitness News and ABC News have learned that Bowman was escorted out of FBI headquarters under guard in early February. According to a letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office obtained by Eyewitness News, Bowman was fired from the agency on March 1.
That letter was sent on Tuesday to dozens of defense attorneys who represent about 75 current and former defendants in drug conspiracy cases that were investigated by Bowman. Questions about the agent's integrity could compromise the prosecution of those cases.
Defense attorney David Kaloyanides has clients connected to three different cases investigated by Bowman.
"It completely unravels your trust in the system. Now, from a defense lawyer's perspective, it undermines the system even one step further," Kaloyanides said.
"How can we trust any of the evidence that the government is providing to us as their case against our client?"
The letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office states that Bowman was fired after an internal FBI investigation found that the agent had committed misconduct including fraud and theft. The letter goes on to say a criminal investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section and the Office of the Inspector General. According to the letter, the criminal investigation has uncovered indications that Bowman may have engaged in misconduct involving missing cash evidence.
"The alleged misconduct was brought to our attention late last year," said David Bowdich, Assistant Director In Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office. "As soon as we learned of that, we gathered some initial facts and we immediately turned this over to the Inspector General's Office under D.O.J."
The letter says that "approximately $15,582 in funds under Bowman's control and possession that were seized during state search warrants executed on June 14, 2014 and June 25, 2014 in United States V. Miller, ED CR 14-89-JGB, are missing and Bowman has not provided any plausible explanation for the missing funds."
According to the letter, Bowman may have made false statements regarding that missing money.
The criminal investigation is looking at allegations that Bowman "misappropriated cash evidence in connection with an August 2014 federal search warrant" that was executed in San Bernardino and that he "improperly left drug evidence and two firearms in and around desks in a Task Force office, rather than in an evidence locker."
The letter also raises questions about the whereabouts of $20,633 in cash evidence seized in a methamphetamine case out of San Bernardino County. Charges against defendants in that case were dismissed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in December 2014.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California has been recused from the investigation because they are currently prosecuting several cases in which Bowman participated as an agent.
"The office sent a letter to defense attorneys involved in these cases informing them about allegations against Bowman and that he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation," said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesperson Thom Mrozek in a statement to Eyewitness News. "The letter informs defense attorneys that the office is prepared to provide additional information about Bowman as it becomes available and will discuss options for resolving cases against individual defendants in these cases."
Because some of the allegations date back to 2009, Kaloyanides says it casts doubt on all of Bowman's cases.
"A jury is going to want to know -- well, he lied about this. Doesn't that mean he might be lying about something more important? Maybe. Maybe not," Kaloyanides said.
Eyewitness News has been unable to reach Bowman. He has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
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