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Con artist picks the wrong target for military scam

Government press releases are so dull. Here’s one that arrived in the Lovefraud inbox recently:

Hardin County, Kentucky man guilty of impersonating a soldier for financial gain

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.

 



6 Comments on "Con artist picks the wrong target for military scam"

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  1. Imara says:

    After my own experience and everything that I have read and studied it STILL blows me away that these people can lie as easily as they breathe!!!! If I had any doubt or any misgivings about labeling my ex sociopathic it was dispelled by my last contact with him. He lies shamelessly. About everything. AMAZING!!!!!



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  2. cannh says:

    Yes they do, shamelessly and masterfully. Mine had moved onto his next victim when we were still living together. I even had a chance to “warn” her about him….but she said she so loves him and he loves her. As far as I know, they’re still together….just blows my mind. If someone had warned me, I would have been long gone.



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  3. Babs94540 says:

    If there isn’t already, there ought to be a website that lists the names, faces, etc., of those convicted of perpetrating military fraud (in order to receive military benefits).

    I read that there is a proposed “Stolen Valor” act passed by Congress and awaiting president Obama’s signature making this a form of criminal fraud and (I’m supposing) a federal offense.

    And if there are not already websites where one can easily look up the names, aliases and images of those convicted of other kinds of fraud, and other kinds of crimes, similarly to the way we can now easily look up the names, faces, and addresses of convicted child molesters… then there should be such sites.

    There are “Most Wanted” websites already, organized by city/ state police departments or county sheriffs’ offices. In the state where I live, the “wanted” lists are also categorized by the type of crime: murder, delinquent parents, child abusers, missing persons. I notice that there is not specifically a category for “fraud”, though.

    There should be. I guess violent crimes take precedence over financial crimes.



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  4. av222 says:

    hthank yo this is A.V. I would like to tell you what really happened. I dont think people should make up their own versions.
    his uniform had nothing to do with me liking him…..he wasnt in dress uniform when I met him.

    you kinda make me sound dumb and easy.

    Here’s what happened: Jon was arrested for impersonating a peace officer. I was dumb. My dad emailed the station Jon said he worked at (Louisville metro) and they said he did not work there. I then asked jon to send me a picture of his military ID and he he made up a story about being discharged. Then I called around ft knox but no one would tell me anything about whether he was in or not. Then the Louisville police sent the info to Elizabethtown police (where jon lived) saying my dad emailed him. They then contacted us for evidence and questioning. Then with the whole MP issues on fort knox. The cops talked to a US attorney who s actually a captain in the army and he looked at the stolen valor stuff then the FBI was contacted for the $$ stuff. So peace officer impersonation started it all. then each person..cop, us attorney and fbi contacted me.

    thank you,
    AVj



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  5. AV222 – Thank you for the clarification. You are very lucky. I can tell you that it is very rare for a case like this to be prosecuted. Thousands of men (and women) impersonate military officers and law enforcement does nothing. Thousands of people are conned out of a lot more money than $1,000 and law enforcement does nothing. My ex-husband, who pretended to be military and was the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony, even though he never served, and took a quarter-million dollars from me, was not prosecuted. In order for this case to be prosecuted, it had to have political clout.



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