Houghtalen reportedly told more than just a small white lie, instead going the extra mile by making a fake CIA identification card and claiming that he was actually being hunted down by militants from the Daesh terror group.
"He was telling her his job as a CIA agent is very dangerous," Trooper Jack Keller, a New York State Police spokesman, told Syracuse.com. "He was hoping to use that information to start a relationship with her."
"He stated ISIS [Daesh] was after him, and because she knew him, that her life might be in danger too… she became nervous and upset because he convinced her her life may be in danger," Keller added.
Wanting to get some help on the matter, the woman eventually reached out to local law enforcement officials last weekend. They later confirmed that Houghtalen wasn't actually a CIA agent and that he instead worked for the US military.
According to Stars & Stripes, Houghtalen is employed by the New York Air National Guard as a camera operator for MQ-9 Reaper drones. It's unclear what Houghtalen's specific responsibilities entail.
Houghtalen, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested at 1 a.m. local time on Monday. He was hit with a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal impersonation of a public servant.
As for the matter of Houghtalen's love interest, a protection order was filed against him, ordering the wannabe CIA agent to stay far away from her.
Impersonating a federal officer isn't exactly a new occurrence, though. The Miami Herald reported that in 2018, a 26-year-old man who was pretending to be an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent to impress a woman wound up behind bars after he was found with "an unregistered destructive device" during an October 23 search of his home.
Officers found 32 firearms, about 10,000 rounds of ammunition, cannon fuses, homemade rocket launchers, homemade rockets and other devices, the Sacramento Bee reported.