August 31, 2013

Officials target lie-detector coaches

Authorities seek prison for a man, saying he crossed the line between free speech and criminal acts.

By MARISA TAYLOR McClatchy Washington Bureau

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Trainees practice using lie detectors. Prosecutors want a prison term for an Indiana Little League coach who they say tried to teach as many as 100 people across the country how to beat lie-detector tests.

The Associated Press

Williams, who has openly taught the techniques for 30 years, has said he has done nothing wrong.

Prosecutors, however, describe Dixon's actions as helping job applicants to conceal or lie about information sought by government polygraphers, which constitutes what is known as an "obstruction of an agency proceeding" charge, court filings show. They sought a wire fraud charge against Dixon for a "scheme" that helped applicants get jobs by making "false and fraudulent statements." Dixon could have faced up to five years in prison for the obstruction charge and up to 20 years for the wire fraud charge.

According to prosecutors, Dixon taught seven federal law enforcement applicants and two government contractors, including one who had a security clearance with an unnamed intelligence agency.

However, the most incriminating evidence appears to have come from Dixon's interactions with two undercover agents. Dixon advised one undercover agent posing as the brother of a violent Mexican drug trafficker to withhold details during a polygraph for a Customs and Border Protection job.

"I would probably reference him as a distant relative," Dixon told the undercover agent. "If they ask questions about him, if it does come up, just say, 'Look, I don't really know what he's into.' "

Prosecutors also listed nine unnamed sex offenders Dixon trained across the country as actions the judge "must consider."

"In approximately 18 months from Illinois to Texas, North Carolina to California Dixon's conduct has threatened the safety and security of 69 to 100 communities with total disregard for the consequences."

However, prosecutors didn't offer evidence that Dixon encouraged any of the sex offenders he trained to hide new or undisclosed crimes.

Ginsberg said only one sex offender told Dixon about an undisclosed crime during court-ordered polygraph monitoring. In that instance, Dixon alerted probation officials about the 39-year-old from Carrollton, Texas, who confessed to sexually molesting a minor while on probation.

Ginsberg acknowledged her client was "less cautious" with job applicants. As a result, she said, he had convinced himself that the undercover agent posing as a drug cartel member "had no chance" of getting through federal screening.

"Because of his utter disdain for the use of polygraph testing, he failed to appreciate the degree to which federal agencies might rely on polygraph test results," Ginsberg wrote.


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