A former cop and owner of the website Polygraph.com has pleaded guilty to five charges of obstruction of justice and mail fraud for teaching people how to cheat lie detector tests.
Douglas Williams, 69, of Norman, Oklahoma, faces up to 20 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for selling polygraph-evasion training to two clients who were actually part of an undercover sting operation.
The first undercover operative posed as an agent with the Department of Homeland Security and told Williams that he wanted to conceal the fact that he been involved with smuggling drugs through the airport where he worked.
A second undercover agent told Williams he was applying for a job with the Border Patrol and wanted to hide his criminal history.
Williams told both clients – who paid him $1,000 if they traveled to his home and $5,000 if he traveled to meet them (plus travel expenses) – that they should deny they had received his training.
According the indictment [PDF] brought against Williams, when the operative posing as a DHS agent admitted he was lying about his innocence, Williams exploded: "I told you I’m assisting you under the assumption that you are telling the truth. What the fuck do you think you’re doing dumbass? Do you think you have, do you think you have like a lawyer confidentiality with me?"
But in truth, Williams was undeterred and continued to train the self-styled DHS agent. He grew paranoid and told his client to change his cell phone number and to respond to a new email he sent him from "the paranoid chicken." Then just hours later he changed his mind about changing the telephone number and focused instead on getting paid through an untraceable money order.
Ten days later, Williams flew to meet the so-called DHS agent, who again admitted he had helped smuggle drugs on four occasions. Nonetheless, Williams continued to train him in how to lie – which is a big no-no when you work for the US Department of Justice.
"Lying, deception and fraud cannot be allowed to influence the hiring of national security and law enforcement officials, particularly when it might affect the security of our borders," said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a statement announcing Williams' guilty plea. "Today’s conviction sends a message that we pursue those who attempt to corrupt law enforcement wherever and however they may try to do so."
Williams was more careful when talking about his services in a promotional video. "Even if you tell the complete truth, you will fail 50 per cent of the time," he said in the video, explaining that lie detectors assume that being nervous when you are asked a question indicates you are guilty of whatever was asked. "Why fail?" Williams asks. "Just because you're nervous doesn't mean you're lying. I can teach you how to pass, nervous or not, no matter what."
But the Justice Department holds that he crossed the line when he readily trained people who he believed had criminal records and were hoping to conceal their crimes from government authorities. According to the indictment, which was handed down in November, Williams told one of the undercover agents, "I don’t give a damn if you’re the biggest heroin dealer in the fucking United States."
Later he added: "I haven't lived this long and fucked the government this long, and done such a controversial thing that I do for this long, and got away with it without any trouble whatsoever, by being a dumb ass."
The DoJ would beg to differ. ®