LAKELAND (FOX 13) - An accused con man has caught the attention of agencies, ranging from the Polk County Sheriff's Office to NASA, after allegedly lying about his education, experience and credentials in his capacity as an expert witness in computer-related proceedings.
Detectives arrested 57-year-old Chester Kwitowski, of Tampa, who acted as an expert witness during five sexual battery on a minor and/or possession of child pornography jury trials in the 10th Judicial Circuit in Polk County.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference Thursday, Kwitowski provided his resume and swore under oath that he was telling the truth about his qualifications, which included a master's degree from USF in computer science and engineering, secret and top secret clearance from the federal government, being an officer in the U.S. Air Force, working for NASA, and multiple computer forensics certifications from Cisco and other software companies.
Judd said, in addition to the five cases for which Kwitowski testified in Polk County, he also gave his CV - in an attempt to be hired as an expert witness for private law firms and public defenders - to officials in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties.
Kwitwoski also claimed to have provided expert testimony in 50 or more state and federal proceedings, but Judd acknowledged investigators were still looking into all of Kwitwoski's claims.
During the news conference, Judd began to unravel Kwitowski's alleged web of lies, including that Kwitowski does not have a master's degree, and further, the master's of science in computer science and engineering he claimed to have received does not even exist at USF.
Judd said detectives spoke to officials at Cisco, who said they have records of Kwitwoski completing a training course and test, but not of his status as a certified engineer, as he claimed.
NASA denied any involvement with Kwitowski at all, adding even if he work through a contractor, there would be a record of that.
Judd said Kwitowski claimed to be an Officer in the Air Force, in computer data methodologies, but investigators have so far found Kwitowski has given investigators different accounts of his history in the military. So far, they say Kwitowski claims he was in the ROTC, then in the Air Force for a year and a half.
The preliminary records investigators have received show Kwitwoski was in the military for four months, and then terminated. Judd said investigators were trying to get copies of the official records of Kwitowski's service. His claims of secret and top secret clearances did not exist.
WATCH - Sheriff Grady Judd: "Our expert witness has been lying to the police since 2007."
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Kwitowski is charged with two counts of giving false statements during prosecution of a capital felony and three counts of perjury.
Kwitowski's verifiable records show arrests dating back to 2001, including battery, domestic violence, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in Hillsborough County, as well as an arrest for false reports of the commission of a crime in Pinellas Park.
Judd said Kwitowski was known in his role as an expert witness for defense attorneys as "Chester, the defender of the molesters."
"He specialized in defending those that are criminally charged with dealing in child pornography and he recently testified in a case for the criminal defendant who sexually battered children under the age of 12," Judd said. "His expert testimony was designed for and requested by the defense attorneys in an attempt to get their clients off of criminal charges. "
Judd said the investigation into Kwitowski's claims, compared to his actual history, would continue and may be lengthy because it involves many entities.
"This goes to the heart of our judicial system. When we swear people in as experts to testify under oath, we expert the truth. We have to have the truth," Judd said. "He has devastated that system with his fiction."