6 Liars Who Found Unfathomable Fame Impersonating Authority
If old-timey stories and new-timey movies are to be believed, impersonating a famous person is a surefire recipe for hijinks and adventure. However, in real life, people usually have motivations for such impersonation that are somewhat darker than "hijinks." Such as "blackmail," "racketeering," and "revenge."
A Man Poses As A Priest To Pocket Donations
Priests have been suffering from a steady decline in trustworthiness ever since that Martin Luther fellow nailed some complaints to a church door a few centuries back. But even so, a simple collar (available for about $12) could probably get you into Fort Knox if you act reverend-ly enough.
"When the collection plate comes around on Sunday, tell 'em you gave at the office."
This brings us to the story of Erwin Mena. Beginning in the mid-'90s, he posed as a Catholic priest, wandering from parish to parish performing baptisms, taking confession, and soliciting donations from the faithful, all while insisting that people call him "padre." He had evidently studied theology at the school of Robert Rodriguez movies.
Of course, Mena was just pocketing the donations. He would continue loitering around until the local diocese caught wind of him, at which point he would leave a parting message and disappear, sort of like a fake reverend Batman. Meanwhile, the local bishop would declare the problem solved, and Mena would turn up somewhere else and begin his scam anew.
"No, a camel couldn't go through the eye of a needle. What a silly thing to even mention."
When Mena was finally arrested, it turned out that filching donations from the collection plate was only his side gig. He had been working some larger cons that were meant to net some bigger profits. For example, he pirated a copy of a Spanish documentary on Pope Francis, then collected $16,000 to "produce" the film himself.
His "confessions" were nothing compared to the ones the feds forced out of him.
His real bread and butter, however, was setting up a fake trip to fly from LA to Philadelphia to see the Pope, collecting upwards of $1,000 apiece from several of his parishioners. They began to grow suspicious when Mena refused to provide any other important details about the trip, such as when it would be occurring. We're not sure how he managed to convince two dozen people that a grand would be enough for airfare, lodging, and transportation to the friggin' Pope, but maybe Mena discovered a niche for some kind of Catholic Groupon that nobody had thought of yet.
One Chicago Teenager Can't Stop Pretending To Be A Cop
After returning from a day on traffic patrol, a Chicago PD rookie by the name of Vincent Richardson caught the eye of one of the station's higher-ups. This super-sleuth noticed that although the newbie was wearing the correct department-issued uniform, Richardson was missing his badge, his bulletproof vest was a wadded-up newspaper, his holster was empty, and he was only 14 years old.
All these frantically-waving red flags evidently went unnoticed by Vincent's partner for the day, as he dutifully showed the new guy how to work the streets. The actual police officer says that his charge seemed a little young, but insisted that Officer Doogie Howser never wrote any tickets and did not drive the cruiser, which are pretty much half the reasons any kid wants to be a cop in the first place.
The other half is being able to have these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Richardson was charged with impersonating a cop, but was more or less let off the hook ... only to later be arrested for stealing a Lexus, which he accomplished by (you guessed it) showing up to a dealership impersonating a businessman. He was sent to juvenile hall for that one, because while you can impersonate a peace officer all you want, we apparently draw the line at stealing luxury cars.
In 2013, a now-19-year-old Richardson walked into a law enforcement uniform store and tried to buy a full uniform, instead of simply going down to the adult party store like a normal civilian. When the employees became suspicious, Richardson ran off, accidentally leaving his ID with the employees. They googled his name and promptly found his storied past as the "fake kid cop," resulting in Richardson being sentenced to 18 months in prison, in accordance with the Chicago statute of "It was funny the first time, but seriously, knock it off."
"Only our elected officials get freebies on repeated offenses."
Luckily, spending some time in jail taught young Vincent an important lesson, and-- Oh, never mind, he was arrested last year for impersonating a cop again.
A Man Impersonates A Teacher for 10 Years, Ruins The Real Teacher's Life
People get punished unfairly all the time, but life shouldn't be rotten for a guy who has been an English teacher for over 30 years, taught ESL overseas, and was even in the Peace Corps. That's just a small list of things that made Robert Eugene Sullivan such a great guy. But even saints have flaws, and Sullivan's was that he had really shitty credit. Despite frugality that would make Scrooge McDuck look as thrifty as M.C. Hammer, Sullivan's credit was so bad that his bank denied him a checking account.
Attempts to figure things out with creditors were fruitless, and Sullivan's life continued to be needlessly inconvenient. The problem was that there was another Robert Eugene Sullivan, and this one was an asshole. He skipped out on paying taxes, ran up credit card debt, and declared bankruptcy, totally fucking over Robert Eugene Sullivan the responsible teacher. This is because the other Robert Eugene Sullivan was in fact a convicted check forger named Willie Wright who had moved to LA and bought Sullivan's identity from a fellow forger.
Sullivan's typical morning routine: brush, shower, shave, fill out another one of these goddamn forms, eat breakfast.
Wright (as Sullivan) did his research, and even took on the same profession of English teacher to make things even more convincing. Ultimately, it was the fact that the real Sullivan was so unrelentingly honest and upstanding in spite of life shitting all over him that led authorities to finally catching Wright. When Sullivan retired and received his first pension check, it was for twice the amount it should be, what with there being two Sullivans and all.
Rather than pocket the extra cash like most people would, the real Sullivan returned the money. This led to an investigation that ended with Wright's discovery and arrest. Of course, the real lesson here is that you can steal from another human being all you want, but it will be a cold day in Hell before the bank lets you steal any of their money.
A Fake Lawyer Works At A Law Firm For A Decade, Becomes A Partner
Film and television are barely a century old, but already have a sketchy history of convincing people that they can do things that they really can't. A whole bunch of complicated professions get distilled into flashy bits of knowledge (or worse, total BS), and suddenly half the population thinks diagnosing lupus can't be all that difficult.
"Squirt some lemon juice in there, you'll be fine."
Presumably after a spirited marathon of Boston Legal, Kimberly Kitchen walked into a Pennsylvania law firm and applied for a job as "one of them lawyering fellas." A forged law degree, license, and exam results were enough to land her a paid position at the firm for over decade before anyone caught on. To reiterate, Kitchen broke probably half a dozen laws in order to get a job prosecuting people who break laws.
And it's not even like she kept up her ruse by being aggressively mediocre and flying under the radar. she was only discovered after the firm had promoted her to partner and she had served as president of the Huntingdon County Bar Association. When it was discovered that Kitchen was, in legal terms, a goddamned liar, her firm threw a suspension at her and vowed to double down and be sure there were no legal mishaps on any cases she'd worked on. But really, what could they have suspended? The license she didn't have?
Here's hoping the Law Offices of Blank Space and Redacted have better luck going forward.
A Teenager Repeatedly Poses As Doctor, Opens His Own Practice
If you were at the hospital and the gynecologist came in and introduced himself as "Dr. Love," you would assume he was lying about his last name and immediately find a new doctor. But if you were in a hospital in Florida a couple years ago, "Love" would be the only part about that guy that wasn't a lie.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Love, and these are my colleagues, Doctors Feelgood and My-Eyes."
Malachi Love was only 18 years old when he was arrested for posing a doctor at St. Mary's Hospital in Florida, after being caught wandering around the hospital in a lab coat and stethoscope. Love claims that wandering around was all he was doing, but for obvious reasons, the hospital has a strict policy about even kinda-sorta looking like a doctor when you're not one. Especially when you're found mucking around the OB-GYN department. Imagine if Love was into something like bariatric surgery instead.
So the hospital did its job and booted the kid, perhaps with an encouraging "Stay in school!" on his way out the door. Love decided to ride back with a vengeance. Rather than work for some lame hospital that adhered to universal medical standards, he opened his own practice, the delightfully-named "New Birth, New Life Holistic And Alternative Medical Center & Urgent Care." It is important to keep in mind that he was still not a doctor at this time.
"I'm barely out of high school!"
You might recognize "holistic medicine" as something any idiot can claim to practice, but the fact that Love was actually seeing patients set him apart. He would also make house calls, during which he occasionally stole his patients' checkbooks. He was finally busted by an undercover police officer and forced to close his totally-not-real practice.
It seems pretending to be a doctor is a Florida thing, because another teenager was arrested in Miami after posing as a physician's assistant for nearly a week before being caught. He was arrested again a year later for impersonating a police officer after he pulled up beside an off-duty cop and told him to buckle his seat belt, because karma is occasionally an ironic singularity that collapses the universe around it.
Fox News' Recurring Ex-CIA "Terrorist Analyst" Was A Big Liar
Fox News has somehow simultaneously become the media outlet Democrats hate most and the best network for presidential debates. Their focus tends to be on how much danger we're in most of the time, and if our angry uncles on Facebook are correct, we are in a lot of danger. That's why we need to hear from people like terrorism analyst Wayne Simmons.
Simmons claimed to have 27 years with the CIA, and was therefore well-suited to yammer on such topics as the Middle East and turrists. He was eventually invited by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to join a group of former military and intelligence officers who had found second careers as TV analysts to come and listen to briefings in an effort to boost support for the Iraq War, which then began an even more vicious cycle of misinformation.
"So what type of crazy shit did you do in the CIA?"
"I can't tell you, but rest assured, I only did it to brown people. Let's go on TV and hate them together."
Simmons become a more frequent Fox News guest, appearing on Bill O'Reilly's show to agree with Bill's suggestion that the US used "mind-altering drugs" to interrogate Saddam Hussein. Simmons justified this by saying he had seen drug cartels do much worse.
"Pablo Escobar, Tony Montana, I've seen them all."
He would go on to make other outrageous statements with the potential to endanger national security. Last year, Simmons claimed that he had a plan that would wipe ISIS out in one week -- which, he was very careful to explain, was not hyperbole. To be clear, his master plan amounted to dropping a whole bunch of bombs on them. In addition to being totally insane, this stood in direct contradiction to a claim he'd made a month earlier, when he humbly explained, "I'm not a military planner. I'm an intelligence guy." Indeed, it would seem that he is neither of those things, and that instinct would turn out to be exactly correct.
Absolutely no part of Wayne Simmons' background was true. After spending over a decade as an analyst for Fox News, writing an undoubtedly shitty spy thriller and conning his way into defense consulting positions and a freaking security clearance, Simmons was busted for making the whole damn thing up by a real CIA superior who met him and saw through his bullshit. Simmons blamed his actions on Benghazi, of all things, and got indicted on a truckload of fraud charges.
This alone is worth a weekend in federal prison.
For more stories of awe-inspiring fibbery, check out 5 Successful People Who Everyone Forgets Are Exposed Frauds and The 6 Most Impressive Resume Liars.
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