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Georgia man convicted in daughter’s death pretended to be CIA agent with ‘protective operations division’: Feds

CIA headquarters

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters are pictured in Langley, Virginia, on July 8, 2022.

A Georgia man with a history of pretending to be law enforcement — a practice that apparently started after he was charged in the 2015 death of his infant daughter — is in custody after allegedly trying to set up a meeting with the state’s top federal prosecutor.

Robert Earhart, Jr., 38, allegedly left a voicemail with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus on Jan. 11 identifying himself as a CIA agent with the “protective operations division,” the Justice Department said in a press release

Earhart allegedly said that he had top security clearance and requested a meeting with U.S. Attorney Peter Leary, the top-ranking federal prosecutor for the Middle District of Georgia.

Earhart “said he would like to do some ‘shadowing’ to make sure he is up to date on everything,” according to a probable cause affidavit. He also allegedly said that “he would like to bring as much business as possible to the USAO and would like an opportunity to sit with them,” the affidavit said, noting that Earhart also repeatedly said that his “badge number was 484.”

An undercover FBI agent posing as a member of the USAO spoke with Earhart in a recorded phone call on Feb. 3. During that call, Earhart confirmed that he did in fact call the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said that he has “a few investigations going,” the affidavit states.

According to a federal filing, Earhart also said:

  • He is currently a victim of identity theft
  • A girl he formerly dated has taken some of his paperwork and has began embezzling his paycheck from the Dept. of Homeland Security
  • He has some warrants he needs to bring down but does not believe he’ll be able to do it that day (Feb. 3, 2023)
  • He is currently working on a case where “these people” took $2.5 million from the federal government
  • He likes to introduce himself to “the people,” but his ex-girlfriend took his badges, so he is getting new ones recut and sent in from Atlanta

Earhart asked the undercover FBI agent if he could come to the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Feb. 6 to meet with the judge and get his warrants signed, the affidavit said.

“[Earhart] said that ‘he has the law enforcement side down’ but that he would still like to shadow the USAO so that he can make sure that [he] is doing the warrant paperwork correctly,” the affidavit said. He also allegedly “represented that he is an investigator, but his title is ‘Special Agent'” and that he has “worked with ‘these people’ for about 8 years now.” He allegedly gave the phone number and email address of his boss, identified in the document as “Inspector Smith.”

Earhart is also alleged to have represented himself as a Homeland Security Agent.

The undercover agent made an appointment for Earhart to come to the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Feb. 8. At that meeting, Earhart allegedly said that he has “CIA clearance and top security clearance,” according to the affidavit. He told the undercover agent that his first federal government job was through a lieutenant who is a doctor in the area.

“[Earhart] said he can bring things to court that can help the USAO’s cases that normal Agents can’t,” the affidavit says.

Local law enforcement arrested Earhart at the federal courthouse in Columbus that same day.

It is not the first time Earhart has been accused of pretending to be a federal officer.

That history, according to the Justice Department, includes a 2019 incident where Earhart walked into the Muscogee County Jail and claimed to be with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and demanding the release of three inmates, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Jail workers recognized him and called deputies on patrol. Earhart fled, leading police on a 40-minute car chase through multiple area neighborhoods and reaching speeds of more than 100 mph.

Court records indicate that Earhart faced some 30 charges in connection with that incident. Earhart was sentenced to 10 years of probation and was ordered to stay in jail until he entered a rehabilitation program, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

At the time, Earhart’s defense attorney said that Earhart had significant mental health issues resulting from having been jailed in connection with his daughter’s death. Earhart was convicted of negligent homicide in the 2015 death of his infant daughter in Alabama, the Ledger-Enquirer reported. He had originally been charged with murder in the death of the 3-month-old girl, who was determined to have died from blunt-force trauma to the head. He was sentenced to a year in prison but was reportedly released a short time with credit for time served.

An evaluation had determined that Earhart was competent to stand trial for the would-be jailbreak, but he had a “psychosis” that caused the delusion of being a federal agent, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Earhart is now charged with one count of false personation of an officer or employee of the United States. He faces a potential three years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. He appeared in court on Thursday and was ordered to remain in custody.

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