ST. LOUIS — Authorities say Bill Anthony Jakob carried a fake badge and a real gun when he impersonated a federal drug agent in rural Franklin County. On Thursday, Jakob stood shackled at the ankles in a federal courtroom as a judge read a 23-count indictment against him.
Jakob, 36, is charged with impersonating a federal agent in April and accompanying local police in the town of Gerald on raids and arrests. He preferred to use a shotgun with a pistol grip on raids, and told fellow officers they didn’t need warrants to search homes, said U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway.
“He flourished a badge, he broke into people’s homes, broke down doors, shoved the gun into people’s faces and made arrests,” Hanaway said at a news conference. “He was just a plague on the community as long as he was doing this.”
Jakob perpetrated the elaborate scheme — risking his own life to arrest potential drug dealers — because he wanted deep down to be a police officer, said his attorney Joel Schwartz.
“It was out of a sense of belonging. A sense of ego. He wanted to be a police officer. He was accepted,” Schwartz said. Jakob declined to comment.
If convicted on all counts, Jakob could face a maximum of 105 years in prison. He was charged Thursday and released on $50,000 bond. He will be arraigned on the charges Monday in federal court.
Jakob’s indictment alleges a pattern of fraud that stretched back more than a year.
In 2007, Jakob used fake credentials to get a job with Total Lock & Security Co. in Maryland Heights, according to the charges. While he worked there, Jakob impersonated an Army Corps of Engineers officer who sought to buy 140 high-end locks from the company for more than $38,000.
Jakob allegedly asked his bosses at Total Lock to communicate with the Corps using a fake e-mail address — email@example.com.
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 appears to be getting a promotion at the company, she said.
Jakob’s fraud took a more dangerous turn in April, when he arrived in Gerald, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis, according to the indictment. He allegedly told officers there he was part of a multi-jurisdictional drug task force working in the area. He had printed business cards that said as much.
Hanaway said it’s unclear if local police officers knew Jakob was not a federal agent. She said the investigation is continuing, and more charges could be filed.
Schwartz said there was blame to be shared, and that local police gave “minor amounts of cash” to Jakob when he was working with them.
“My opinion is that if others in the department didn’t know, then they should have known,” Schwartz said.
Regardless of who knew what, there was no excuse for local police to stand by as Jakob raided houses without a warrant, said John Gillies, FBI special agent in charge of the St. Louis office.
“I’m appalled,” Gillies said. “I don’t know how anyone in law enforcement could possibly think that what he was doing is acceptable behavior.”