A D.C. Superior Court grand jury has charged a 50-year-pld man in connection with a fraudulent scheme to buy real estate in which it found that the man claimed that he was a business partner of U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica.
As a result of the scheme, law enforcement authorities allege, the man, Samuel Fowler, defrauded two Washington women of more than $10,000 in cash, clothing and an automobile.
In a 31-count indictment, the grand jury charged Fowler falsely told both women that he also was a neighbor of Sirica's and a cousin of D.C. Corporation Counsel John R. Risher Jr., and that he was a millionaire business man, and an attorney with a degree from the Harvard Law School.
According to the indictment, Fowler allegedly told the women that he, Sirica and Risher had formed a real estate coporation in order to purchase properties in washington that were subject to sale - at low prices - because taxes were overdue on the properties.
Moreover, the grand jury said, Fowler claimed to one woman that he was convicted in connection with the Watergate trials - at which Sirica presided - and said he had served time at a U.S. pentitentiary at Allenwood, Pa., where several Watergate defendants have served prison time.
The alleged offenses, tne grand jury charged, occurred between September and december of last year. According to assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony T. Podesta, Fowler was a resident at a city-run halfway house during that time.
According to the indictment returned Wednesday Fowler also told one woman that he had $1.5 million in "Watergate funds" that would become available to him last December. The grand jury said both women relied on the various representations made by Fowler when they turned over money and other goods to him, in exchange for an interest in the real estate deals.
One of the women bought clothing for Fowler after he allegedly told her she would have to obtain and make "frequent use" of credit cards in order to join in the real estate corporation, the indictment said.
The grand jury charged that based on Fowler's false representations, one of the women negotiated to buy a new car, which Fowler allegedly said was for use by the corporation. The indictment also charged that Fowler stole financial records from one of the women.
Fowler was charged in the indictment with false pretenses, grand larceny, petit larceny and larceny after trust.
The grand jury also charged Fowler with perjury in connection with a hearing in superior Court in December in connection with a complaint brought by one of the two women.