Thursday, April 28, 2011

Serial Fakers

An Associated Press article by Thomas Sheeran at the Columbus Dispatch has the tale of the serial faker, Randall /Thomas Keyser.  Keyser has engaged in outlandish and repeated acts of fraud and fakery.  He's a character right out of Twain's Huckleberry Finn.  Here's the story:

"A man charged with trying to land a six-figure job in Ohio by faking it as an Army general has misrepresented his background in the past, according to court records.  Randall Thomas Keyser, of Barboursville, W.Va., has used seven or more aliases and was hired under false pretenses in Alaska, Florida, Kentucky and Washington state, according to the documents obtained by the Associated Press. The FBI said he has used three Social Security numbers.

The FBI confirmed today that the individual mentioned in the court records is the same man charged in Akron with wire fraud for allegedly posing as a major general.
In a 1993 ruling involving a probation violation, the Court of Appeals of Alaska portrayed Keyser as a serial faker who misrepresented his background to land jobs in the private and public sectors.
'Mr. Keyser has a track record of being `found out' in communities where he has talked himself into employment that he is not qualified for, and then leaving town, sometimes traveling clear across the country,' the court said. 'Without measures being taken to correct that behavior, Mr. Keyser is likely to reoffend.'  That court case stemmed from a probation violation on Keyser's no-contest plea to a theft charge for a fraudulent application to be city manager of Kake, Alaska.  About the same time, he was arrested by Alaska state troopers on a theft by deception warrant stemming from his application to be city manager in Pikeville, Ky. [ . . .]  His probation was transferred to Washington state when he moved to the Seattle area, according to the appeals court, which said he then was involved in getting a number of apartment-management jobs by using forged military records and Social Security cards issued under aliases.

'Keyser's false claims appeared to become increasingly grandiose, almost gratuitously so,' the court said.

At various times, according to the appeals court, Keyser claimed to have graduated from West Point and to have retired with the rank of major or lieutenant colonel.  In reality, Keyser served one or two years in the Army and was discharged as a private, the court said.

Keyser may have obtained 13 jobs as a police officer or police chief in small communities across the nation in the 1980s, the court said, including a chief's job in Oak Hill., Fla., where he was convicted of perjury and got one year of probation.

Prosecutors in Ohio say Keyser applied for a job pretending to be a major general with references including the Army chief of staff, vice chief of staff and Army undersecretary. An FBI affidavit said Keyser sought the $175,000 job and payment for travel expenses for an interview."
I wrote about Skyler Smith (pic) last year.  Smith, a Huntsville, Alabama serial con artist was running a variety of scams including the whole fake disabled  military veteran scam as well as selling phony diamonds over the Internet. 

One morning at FCI,Morgantown I was sitting in the chow hall with the usual suspects when a new guy at a nearby table launched into this whole rap about his case.  He wanted to connect with an "inmate lawyer."  The more I listened to him, the more I recognized Skyler Smith from the news account that I posted in September, 2010.  The thing is--Skyler Smith,as with many guys that I met in prison, the whole incarceration-thing does not seem to have had the intended come-to-God effect.  The con artist is still a con artist, the briber is still a briber, the drug addict sits at his bunk and wistfully dreams of a handful of pills.


  1. Powerful post, Bad one, especially how you end up sitting in the mess hall with the con artist Smith.

  2. What a mess. I rmember him. I was running my bbq store. He ended up with another person he conned buying out our parking lot to sell cars. Oh the fun times.