Hometown Heroes: Jerri Williams

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If you aren’t listening to FBI Retired Case File Review, you are missing out on the rockstar that is Jerri Williams.  Jerri is a retired FBI agent, who in her spare time has written three true crime fiction novels, with two more coming out this year!  We felt very lucky to sit down with Jerri and learn more about her history in the FBI and some of her favorite cases! If you aren’t already listening to her podcast, get your finger warmed up to hit subscribe!

What you do for a living, how did you choose your career, and how you got to where you are today?

I served 26 years as a special agent in the FBI working major economic crime investigations. I became interested in joining the FBI after seeing an ad about how the FBI was looking for women and minorities. I’m retired now, but I’m on a mission to show the public who the FBI is and what the FBI does by writing my FBI Philadelphia corruption squad crime novel series and my nonfiction book, FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives, about the top 20 clichés and misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. 

I also host and produce FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime and history podcast where I interview other retired FBI agents about their high-profile cases and careers. The case agents of the Miami Shootout, Unabomber, Madoff, Polly Klaas, Robert Hanssen, Watergate, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Oklahoma City bombing investigations, as well as many fascinating but not as well-known FBI cases, have been guests on the show. With nearly 200 episodes, the podcast has been downloaded more than 3 million times and has listeners from around the world.

Is there a certain case that you have worked on that has always haunted you or that is particularly memorable that you can share with us? 

I was one of the case agents on the Foundation of New Era Philanthropy investigation, a $350 million charity Ponzi scheme perpetrated against unsuspecting nonprofit organizations, high profiled philanthropists, and beneficiary donors, which resulted in a 12-year prison sentence and multiple forfeitures. The case was featured on the CNBC show, American Greed, Confessions of a Con Man. I never understood why John Bennett committed this Ponzi scheme. So I wrote Greedy Givers, a fictionalized crime novel inspired by the case, to help me resolve unanswered questions.

When you hear about a big case in the media that you are not working on, do you ever do a deep dive to try to solve it yourself? If so, can you tell us about a case that has piqued your interest? 

I’m always amazed at the schemes con-artist and corrupt corporate and public officials devise to steal other people’s money. When a major fraud or corruption case is featured on the news, I read everything about it. In Philadelphia, a number of elected officials have been convicted of fraud and accepting bribes. The cases involving former Congressman Chaka Fattah and former District Attorney Seth Williams have inspired the third book in my crime novel series, Spoiled Spot. It will be published in the fall of 2020.

Where can our readers find you? 

You can learn more about me, my books, and my podcast at https://jerriwilliams.com/. My next book, FBI Word Search Puzzles: Fun for Armchair Detectives will be published on March 25. It’s full of entertaining and educational puzzles for those who want to learn what it’s like to work for the FBI and to be a special agent. You may also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @jerriwilliams1, on Facebook at Jerri Williams Author and on LinkedIn.

 


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