RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A former federal drug agent accused of conspiring with a La Quinta man who posed as a lawyer and ex-prosecutor to swindle victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars faces federal fraud charges Friday.
David Garcia Herrera, 70, of Torrance was arrested Thursday night at Los Angeles International Airport and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges included in a nine-count federal indictment, alleging wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements on a passport application, aiding and abetting and criminal forfeiture.
His accomplice, Jerome Arthur Whittington, 65, of La Quinta, has been in custody since his indictment in a separate case in June 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He now faces additional charges stemming from the latest indictment.
In one of the schemes, Whittington posed as a lawyer, and Herrera, who was a real former special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, posed as an FBI agent, prosecutors said. Whittington and Herrera promised the victim they could help him recover losses in fraudulent schemes related to two companies, Pacific Property Assets and Medical Capital Corporation. They claimed they could seize assets from the fraudulent firms if the victim first posted bonds that were purportedly required prior to seizing the assets, prosecutors said.
Whittington told the victim he had obtained a $4 million judgment, and was paid $290,000, some of which he split with Herrera and some of which he used to fund other fraud schemes, according to prosecutors.
In a separate scheme, Whittington allegedly posed as a former federal prosecutor and Herrera as an FBI investigator and offered to help with a victim’s wife’s immigration case. The men were allegedly paid $8,500 for help they never provided.
Whittington was indicted last year for allegedly posing as an attorney and fleecing two victims out of about $165,000 for investments in a phony real estate deal and tech company.
If convicted on the latest indictment, both men face up to 170 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)