A con man who posed as a wounded veteran, and act known as stolen valor, will have a lot of time to think about his scheme, as well as a laundry list of other crimes.
Fourteen years of time, to be exact. This isn’t his first offense, and has a long rap sheet.
That’s just how long Jeremy Wilson will be behind bars after sentencing in a New York City court on Monday for forgery. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil Ross handed down the sentence after Wilson used his stolen identity as a wounded vet to fraudulently obtain leases for a BMW in Boston and an apartment in New York’s upscale Financial District.
According to the New York Post, prosecutor Diego Diaz said that Wilson “spent his entire adult life devoted to fraud.”
“He claims to have been in a kibbutz in Israel, to have been shot in the head in Africa,” Diaz said. “He continues to perpetuate this fraud.”
The story gets even better, and he also claims to be the illegitimate son of Brian Keenan, the Irish Republican Army leader who died back in 2008. In fact, his lawyer even filed hair-brained motions in court asking for his client to be referred to as “Jeremy Keenan.”
“Jeremy Wilson posed as an airline executive, an MIT student, an Army veteran, and a member of an actors’ union,” a statement from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance read. “Now the only uniform he will be wearing is a prison jumpsuit.”
Wilson’s attorney tried to convince the court that his client was simply being postmodern.
“Who are we to say what is true and what’s not true?” defense attorney Robert Briere said. “Who are we to say what’s happened to him and what’s influenced his life?”
What we can say is true is that Wilson had “at least eight” prior convictions, according to prosecutor Diaz, and the Post reports he had been arrested in Montana, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania for “similar stunts.” Also true: WNBC-TV reports Wilson had boasted about being a scam artist like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in “Catch Me If You Can.”
That doesn’t exactly speak to a remorseful individual, and neither did Wilson’s attempts to make himself look like one.
“I’ve spent pretty much my entire adult life running and hiding from myself, and running and hiding from what I have done,” Wilson told the court.
“Of all the lies I’ve told other people, it’s the lies I’ve told myself that make living the hardest.”
Even during this facile speech, the Post noted that Wilson could barely contain a smirk.
Stealing valor is one of the sickest things that an individual can do, and this fake “wounded vet” is going to have a lot of time to think about what he’s done when he arrives behind bars.
I’d wager he’s going to be able to contain that smirk a lot better when he arrives in prison.