A suspected FBI raid on the home of an infamous Republican con artist appears to have been a ruse that began to unravel even as its authors successfully duped a major national newspaper.
A man from Virginia who responded to a Craigslist ad seeking actors to play FBI agents for a TV pilot came forward to say he was involved in the latest hoax orchestrated by libel dealers from right Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl.
Tommy Abraham told The Daily Beast in an interview on Monday that the Craigslist ad offered cash payments of $ 400 to white actors who agreed to don FBI badges and windbreakers and film a series of scenes at the Burkmens in Arlington, Virginia. In the hours leading up to dawn on Monday morning, Abraham said he and a handful of others who responded to the announcement converged on the Burkmen home and were filmed performing an FBI raid there. Abraham provided documentary evidence to substantiate his claims, including emails from an address with the name of a company Wohl once ran.
Monday afternoon, the news of the fake raid had already been reported as genuine by The Washington Post, and Burkman insinuated that senior government officials were coming to him for his efforts to stamp out corruption in Washington. Someone by the name of Bev Donahue sent a series of photos and video clips of the raid to reporters and shared them on an eponymous Twitter account set up in August. But there is evidence that Donahue is just a pseudonym of Wohl. This Twitter account is associated with an email address starting with ja and a mobile phone number which, like Wohls, ends with the digits 91.
Shortly after Publish piece was published, the reporter on the story tweeted that there is a good chance [Burkman] organized this raid himself. Asked about it, he hung up.
Wohl and Burkman have partnered with a host of dubious and often easily debunked hoaxes, frequently involving press conferences at Burkmans’ homes in Northern Virginia and sinister sex allegations against prominent Trump opponents. But the apparent attempt to pose as federal law enforcement officials is brazen, even by their standards.
The FBI did not respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment, but a spokesperson told the Publish that the Burkmens’ homes had in fact not been searched on Monday.
Abraham provided the Daily Beast with emails between himself and the person who created the Craigslist ad earlier this month looking for actors for the bogus FBI raid on Monday. The person identified himself as Jacob Klein, but Abraham said that he found out after meeting the man on Monday that he was in fact Wohl. Some of the emails to Abraham were sent from an address corresponding to the name of a former financial firm, Nex Capital Management, which Wohl once run. Wohl faces two felony charges in California for alleged violations of securities law.
The emails show Jacob Klein sharing details of what he said was a Burkmen televised shoot at around 5 a.m. Monday morning. We ask you to present yourself with: Kakhi pants (sic). Black leather shoes. White shirt and tie of your choice, he wrote. You should be clean shaven.
In emails, Wohl told Abraham the role was for a police drama and that he was acting as a special agent for the FBI. He was instructed to ask for Jacob Klein upon his arrival at the scene. He said Wohl and Burkman told him when he arrived that the scenes they were filming would be used for several shows, some pilots not broadcast.
They said Jacob was a director and an actor, Abraham added.
The actors who participated were promised $ 400 in cash. But Abraham said they were told after filming that they couldn’t be paid in cash, and they were asked to send their full names and personal addresses to Burkman so he could send them checks.
That is, Abraham said, what raised red flags in his mind. He Google searched for the Burkmen name, found a photo of him with Jacob Klein, realized that the latter was in fact Jacob Wohl, and began to read about their well-documented trail of deception and self -sabotage.
This latest stunt appears to be an effort to exaggerate the Burkmens supposed to dig dirt on former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. In an article on encrypted messaging app Telegram, Wohl claimed that the unconstitutional pre-dawn raid would not prevent him and Burkman from investigating Mattis. In an email to the Daily Beast, Burkman claimed the alleged FBI raid was meant to punish him for investigating Mattis’ position on the board of directors of scandal-ridden blood testing company Theranos. .
We continue, Burkman wrote in the email. Not discouraged.
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