ST. LOUIS – Bill Anthony Jakob was so convincing as a federal drug agent that police allowed him to go on raids. He participated in arrests, wore a fake badge and carried a real gun.
Now, most likely, he's going to prison.
On Monday, Jakob pleaded guilty to a long list of federal charges, including 13 counts of impersonating federal officers. He faces sentencing Dec. 19. Though eligible for more than 100 years of prison time, his attorney expects him to get about five years.
"He's cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office from the outset," attorney Joel Schwartz said. "He has a massive amount of regret and remorse and if he could take it back, he absolutely would. But he can't."
Jakob, 36, of Washington, Mo., actually impersonated three different federal law officers, U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said. On separate occasions in April, Jakob represented himself as someone from the Drug Enforcement Agency, an agent of a federal narcotics task force, or as a U.S. marshal.
Schwartz has said Jakob perpetrated the elaborate scheme because he wanted deep down to be a police officer. He declined on Monday to delve into Jakob's psyche.
Jakob also pleaded guilty to four counts for posing as a contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers in late 2007 through January. At the time, Jakob was a salesman for Total Lock & Security Co. of suburban St. Louis, which sells doors and lock sets to commercial customers and government agencies.
Hanaway said Jakob lied to the company by saying he had negotiated three contracts with the corps. He made up two names of purported corps contracting officers, who were actually him.
Total Lock spent thousands of dollars to fill the order, and shipped the locks to Tennessee at Jakob's request, Hanaway said. The purpose of the scheme appeared to be getting a promotion at the company, she said.
His fraud took a much more dangerous turn in April when Jakob arrived in Gerald, a small town in Franklin County, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis. He told local police he was part of a multi-jurisdictional drug task force working in the area. He had printed business cards that said as much.
"Citizens depend upon law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect them," Hanaway said. "During several arrests, Jakob was armed and actually placed people in handcuffs."
FBI special agent John Gillies has criticized Gerald police for allowing Jakob to raid houses without a warrant. Jakob reportedly told police he didn't need a warrant.