Caught stealing more than $136,000 from evidence to pay for a sports car, a lavish vacation, and his wife’s plastic surgery, a former FBI agent was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison. Although he attempted to cover up his involvement in the thefts, the agent failed to coerce a local California police detective into lying for him.
While executing search warrants in June and August 2014, FBI Agent Scott Bowman stole drug proceeds seized during three separate raids. After searching an Azusa hotel room, Bowman stole nearly $11,000 instead of logging the money into evidence. Bowman also misappropriated $4,600 while searching an apartment suspected of trafficking methamphetamine.
During a drug raid at a San Bernardino house involved in the distribution of cocaine and heroin, Bowman collected the money in evidence bags and locked the sealed bags inside a safe overnight at an FBI office. The following day, Bowman broke the seals and stole a “substantial portion” of cash.
Besides tampering with evidence and writing false seizure reports, Bowman lied to his coworkers by telling them that his father had recently given him a $97,000 advance on his inheritance. After purchasing a 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe, Bowman used the stolen money to buy $15,000 of plastic surgery for his wife, and a luxury vacation to Las Vegas with his girlfriend.
In order to cover up the third theft, Bowman falsely claimed that a local police detective had accompanied him to the FBI office with the sealed evidence bags. Bowman also forged the detective’s signature on a receipt without his knowledge.
After Bowman attempted to coerce the detective into lying for him, the unidentified detective refused to maintain the blue code of silence. On October 22, 2014, Bowman wrote an email to the detective that said, “I brought it in, you stayed outside. I had to bring the receipt out for you to sign later.”
Fired from the Bureau in March 2015, Bowman was indicted on June 3, 2015. Pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, falsification of records, conversion of property by a federal employee, and witness tampering, Bowman faced a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison. His plea deal forced prosecutors to drop criminal charges against more than a dozen defendants arrested by Bowman.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal sentenced the former FBI agent to three years in federal prison. He also ordered Bowman to pay $136,462 in restitution.
“As alleged, former Agent Bowman put his own greed above the trust placed in him by the FBI and the American public,” stated Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. “Corrupt law enforcement agents not only compromise those investigations in which they are involved, but also damage the reputations of fellow law enforcement officers who are dedicated to public service and the protection of all Americans.”