Government press releases are so dull. Here’s one that arrived in the Lovefraud inbox recently:
You can read it, if you like. But let me rewrite it for you, and tell you what I think really happened.
Jonathan Wade Short’s short-lived military scam
Jonathan Wade Short, 23, of Hardin County, Kentucky, was trolling the Internet, looking for an easy mark, when he came across A.V. Striking up an online conversation, he learned that A.V. was the daughter of a retired military man. Short immediately told A.V. that they were meant to be together, because he, too, was a soldier. Short claimed that during his multiple deployments, he earned high military honors, including the Purple Heart for his wounds.
A.V. agreed to meet Short, and when he showed up, he looked dashing in his dress uniforms, complete with ribbons, badges and medals. (Women love men in uniform, you know.) Wherever they went, Short demanded military discounts. Eventually, Short began asking A.V. for money, saying he needed it to defray his son’s medical expenses. Over the course of two months, A.V. gave him nearly $1,000.
Eventually, A.V. told her father about Short and his poor, sick child. Dad quickly got suspicious.
Unfortunately for Short, Dad had retired from high up in the military chain of command. He made a few quick phone calls, and learned that Short was short on credibility. There was no Jonathan Wade Short, age 23, in any branch of the military.
Now Dad was mad as hell. So he demanded that the FBI investigate, and that the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky prosecute. Keep in mind that Stolen Valor cases are rarely prosecuted , but this one was. When it comes to fraud, the FBI usually won’t answer the phone for measly $1,000 loss — if a crook hasn’t taken $25,000, they’re not interested. And U.S. Attorneys routinely decline to prosecute romance scams — they can’t be bothered with he said-she said cases.
But Dad was the Big Kahuna, and he still carried a lot of clout. Dad was going to make sure Short’s butt was kicked. He demanded that the FBI and U.S. Attorney take action, and they did.
Knowing he was outmatched, Short pleaded guilty. He faces a possible 23 years in prison, $500,000 in fines and 10 years of probation. Will he actually go to jail? Stay tuned.
If Short is off the street, it will be harder for him to con another woman, but not impossible. The judge should also take away Short’s Internet access. Many prisoners run scams from behind bars, and after this experience, Short may be smart enough to stay away from women with high-ranking military fathers.