ST. LOUIS – A man who posed as a federal agent for two months in the eastern Missouri town of Gerald was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
Bill Jakob did not speak during the hearing in U.S. District Court and declined an interview request afterward. Asked by a reporter if he had remorse, Jakob began to speak before his attorney told him to stop.
Jakob, 36, of Washington, Mo., pleaded guilty in September to a long list of federal charges, including 13 counts of impersonating federal officers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith said after the hearing on Friday that Jakob had dangerous authority in Gerald — he was armed with guns, threw people to the ground and handcuffed them, and conducted warrantless searches.
"We're all fortunate that these individuals who were victimized by this man were not injured," he said.
Jakob's attorney, Joel Schwartz, said Jakob perpetrated the elaborate scheme because he wanted deep down to be a police officer.
He said the ruse began innocently, saying Jakob legitimately had a badge to serve as a Federal Reserve Bank law officer. He approached the Gerald police chief with that badge. Schwartz said the chief misunderstood how much authority Jakob had.
"Bill took advantage of the misinterpretation," Schwartz said.
But authorities have said Jakob, upon his arrival in Gerald in April, 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. He also, on separate occasions, represented himself as someone from the Drug Enforcement Administration and a U.S. marshal.
He preferred to use a shotgun with a pistol grip on raids and told fellow officers they didn't need warrants to search homes, authorities said after his arrest.
FBI special agent John Gillies has criticized Gerald police for allowing Jakob to raid houses without a warrant, and the ruse led to the firing of the town's police chief.
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.
Authorities 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, U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said. The purpose of the scheme appeared to be getting a promotion at the company.
At the sentencing hearing, Jakob was ordered to repay Total Lock & Security $30,000.
Schwartz said Jakob is out on bond and is expected to go to prison in about a month. He has asked to go to a federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, which is near relatives and offers educational opportunities.
Goldsmith, discussing speculation that a movie could be made about the case, said any profit for Jakob would be used to make restitution to victims of his crimes.