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Former Riverside-based FBI agent who stole drug money to be sentenced

The defendant in the fall of 2014 became the focus of an investigation that culminated in a grand jury indictment

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A Riverside-based FBI agent who stole tens of
thousands of dollars in funds seized during drug busts so that he could buy
cars and make other hefty purchases is slated to be sentenced today in federal
court.
   In May, Scott M. Bowman, 45, of Moreno Valley admitted one count each of
illicit conversion of property by a federal employee, obstruction of justice,
falsification of records and witness tampering, as part of a plea agreement
with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
   In exchange for his admissions, prosecutors dropped 14 remaining charges
against Bowman. The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking a minimum 5 years,
eight months behind bars for the defendant, who is currently free on an $80,000
bond. U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal has discretion to follow the
government's recommendation or ignore it.
   ``The defendant's conduct in this case constituted a stunning betrayal
of the trust place in him by his fellow law enforcement officers, the FBI and
the American people,'' according to a sentencing memorandum submitted by the
U.S. Attorney's Office. ``Over a period of several months ... the defendant
repeatedly misappropriated for his personal use cash evidence seized during the
execution of search warrants relating to long-term and resource-intensive
investigations of significant drug trafficking organizations.''
   According to the government, the defendant in the fall of 2014 became
the focus of an investigation that culminated in a grand jury indictment
alleging he misappropriated more than $100,000 in impounded funds. The
indictment stated that Bowman stole money seized during investigations of
cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine dealers in Azusa, Ontario and San
Bernardino in June and August 2014.
   Court papers allege the 10-year federal agent took part in the asset
seizures while assigned to the federal-state Gang Impact Team, which conducts
drug raids throughout Southern California, and was one of the lead agents
responsible for tracking and securing nearly $500,000 taken from traffickers.
   Bowman had access to a safe at the FBI's Riverside field office, where
the funds were stowed, and procured a large sum of the money for his personal
use in late August 2014, prosecutors said.
   In an attempt to cover his tracks, the defendant set aside $366,800 and
obtained a receipt from an FBI-certified cash counter showing that amount as
the total seized, and he signed evidence records attesting as much, according
to the indictment.
   ``Agent Bowman knew that the true amount of cash seized was
substantially greater,'' the document stated.
   Investigators said Bowman falsified the signature of a local police
detective also responsible for certifying the amount of currency seized in
order to make the figure appear legitimate.
   When suspicions were aroused, Bowman contacted the lawman, whose
identity was not disclosed, and attempted to persuade him to join in a
``detailed cover story'' concerning how the drug proceeds were handled,
according to the government, which further alleged Bowman offered the man a
$2,000 bribe.
   Prosecutors said the defendant expended the ill-gotten funds for:
   -- a $43,850 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe;
   -- a $27,000 2013 Toyota Scion FR-S coupe;
   -- $15,000 in cosmetic surgery for his spouse;
   -- $26,612 in expenditures for upgrades on all the newly purchased
vehicles; and
   -- $10,665 for Las Vegas vacations.
   When colleagues made inquiries about his newfound wealth, Bowman told
them he had received a $97,000 ``advance'' from his dying father's estate,
according to court papers.
   The nine-year G-Man was fired in March 2015.


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