Keniel Aeon Thomas, 29, attempted to scam former Reagan and Bush administration veteran William H. Webster — it did not go well.
It was the same “advance-fee fraud scam” that has been used to steal millions from unsuspecting people. If you have heard jokes about wealthy “Nigerian princes,” you know the game. The pitch was simple: Thomas claimed that Webster and his wife had won $15.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz in the Mega Millions lottery. All he needed was for them to send him $50,000 to cover taxes.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he targeted a man who spent his entire life uncovering deception under three separate presidential administrations. Webster was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, then director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under Reagan and George H.W. Bush. At 94 years old, he still chairs the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Thomas, who identified himself as “David Morgan,” made a series of increasingly threatening calls to the Webster household. At one point he even described the appearance of their home and demanded $6,000 not to shoot them in the head and burn their house down.
Ironically, he told them that the FBI and CIA would never find him. If only he had realized to whom he was speaking. Webster and his wife immediately contacted their intelligence allies, who tapped a conversation with Mr. “Morgan,” and a criminal complaint was filed.
Thomas made things easy; they did not even have to extradite him — he was confident enough to visit a friend in New York, where he was easily apprehended. Thomas almost immediately pled guilty, even confessing to the death threats. He will now serve about six years in prison for extortion before being deported back to Jamaica.
Thomas is believed to have scammed 30 other elderly people on his way toward the fateful encounter with possibly the world’s worst target.