A Virginia man is accused of orchestrating at least three attempted bank robberies while posing as a federal agent named “Theo,” Tom Schoenberg of Bloomberg reports.
Prosecutors say that Joshua Brady, 26, persuaded 21-year-old Herson Torres to go into banks in Alexandria and Fairfax County, Virginia, with handwritten notes demanding money.
Torres said Brady told him he could earn $25,000 and a job with the government by taking part in “Operation Downstrike,” aimed at testing bank security.
When Torres was arrested, he told authorities about “Theo” — the man who hired him and orchestrated the robbery attempts — and showed them a so-called immunity letter on defence Intelligence Agency letterhead that Brady had given him.
The lead detective soon began receiving calls from Theo, who claimed to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and sought Torres’s release, Schoenberg reports.
In an October jailhouse interview, Brady insisted to Schoenberg that he was an intelligence agent and was training Torres for clandestine work.
“When they pull the alarm, then you have a short time to get out of there,” he said. “You need to be able to escape, and that’s going to be stressful. If you crack under stress, then you’re useless to the agency.”
The charges — impersonating a government official and three counts of attempted bank robbery — have been dropped after Brady pleaded guilty to sending a forged judge’s signature to Verizon in a dispute over an unpaid mobile-phone bill.
As part of a plea deal, Brady has been sentenced to time served (7 months), three years of court supervision, and mental health treatment.
The government’s doctor diagnosed Brady with a delusional disorder while a doctor hired by Brady’s lawyers diagnosed him with PTSD, paranoid schizophrenia, and schizotypal personality disorder.
“Looking back on this, I’m not sure how I could even fathom working for the CIA,” Brady said in court on Wednesday. “It seems quite silly to me I had those delusions.”
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