Alleged Military Scammer Spotted Again on Metro

by Prince Of Petworth November 17, 2010 at 10:00 am 80 Comments

Alleged Scammer on left with black shirt and duffel

“Dear PoP,

I remembered seeing  this post from a couple of months ago, and I wanted to say that I got a picture of at least one of the scammers running this operation. There was a post from somebody named Jessica asking for pictures of the guy. He’s the guy dressed in black carrying the bag. He asked for $60 for a bus ticket back to Quantico, and one woman gave him the full amount, and then a man in the background gave him at least $40, if not more than that.

This was on the Red Line towards Shady Grove between Union Station and Judiciary Square. He started chatting up the woman just after I got on at Union Station and she had already given him the money by the time the metro pulled into Judiciary Square, so he was fast. His story moved the man next to her so much that he gave him the additional cash. I was sitting farther away, but the elements of the story were that he was away from base, he had been mugged or pickpocketed (could not hear which), and he needed $60 to get back. He got off the train at Judiciary Square saying something about needing to catch the train back the other direction, but I think he may have seen me take the picture. Immediately after the scammer got off the train, there was another man who was wearing his uniform who realized what just happened and told the woman that she shouldn’t have given him the money, because if he was actually in the military the scammer would have gone to the fellow military guy first thing.”

  • Anonomi

    Good job OP. Thanks for the picture.

  • Andrew

    Seen this asshole downtown. He’s approached friends of mine a couple of times. When confronted that he’s a scammer, he insists it’s “impossible” that they’ve seen him before. Then he scampers away.

  • Joe

    This guy made the same pitch to me last week. I felt bad ignoring him when he led with “I’m a Marine”, but you just sort of knew it was a hustle.

  • David Magee

    Is there anyone who can ID this guy? A POS like this could be brought up on federal charges of impersonating an armed forces officer.

  • Tree Spoonduck

    Wow, that is the kid who hangs outside my building on 7th & M – creepy as hell, and always asking for money. Definitely a scammer.

  • Rosasharn

    He doesn’t even look like a military man. A marine’s or soldier’s pants would be properly hemmed.

    • PG

      Maybe the muggers stole his regular pants and he’s wearing the only pair of pants he could afford. :)

    • Jessica

      at least a Marine’s pants would be ;)

    • Cindy

      lol! funny but so true.

  • He was hanging around Union Station last week. I told him to go and talk to Amtrak about getting him back to Quantico. Even if they couldn’t comp his ticket they could at least let him use the phone.

  • JenDC

    Agree that he could be charged for impersonating an officer. Anyone here in the Service or have connections? PoP, anyone at WaPo who might move it along?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it takes someone in the service to do this. He’s not actually in the military so the military can’t legally do anything to him under the UCMJ. Federal authorities would be the ones to go to. Not sure who though.

  • Stoney_D

    That’s just Griffy the grifter!

  • Eric

    @ David Magee. Its not illegal to impersonate someone in the military. Hes still a douche tho.

    • David Magee

      Yeah it is.

      TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 43 > § 912
      Prev | Next § 912. Officer or employee of the United States
      Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

      • Anonymous

        You got serrrrrrved!

      • Matt

        Codified bitches!

      • Dood

        i don’t think he is pretending to act under the authority of the us.

        learn to read.

        • jt$

          Doesn’t he claim that he has to get back to base because those are his orders? Isn’t that pretending to act under military authority?

          • Dood

            i wouldn’t say that he was asking for money on behalf of the government.

          • Yuppiehell

            Impersonating an officer is a crime.

  • Nemo

    People are idiots haha you guys are funny. This city has no common sense. If he could not get to base they would come pick him up in an MP car, standard practice.

    • Cindy

      thanks for the condescending advice Nemo. Now get lost.

    • Rukasu1

      Yeah, I’ve seen this little shit as far back as the Spring hanging around the Ntl. Archives. Knew right off the bat he was a scammer. He flashed me all these business cards to prove he was legit, so I asked why don’t you call your CO or walk up to the barracks on 8th? All I got was a “uhhh, uhhh” response

  • vernon

    Thank you!!! I live near the Convention Center, and this guy has been creeping around our neighborhood for months. I could never figure out what his deal was, but this certainly clears it up. Again, thanks.

  • Jonesie

    This guy tried to get my family and I when we were walking around Chinatown. It didn’t bother me too much, but my family stopped and felt bad when I pulled them away. End of the world? No. But it makes the city A) look bad because he says he was pickpocketed (by those evil DC residents attacking marines!) and B) is about the least honest hustle you could pull.

    Someone needs to get this guy. Forget calling the cops though. Thats a slap on the wrist. Call the Marine barracks and tell them someone is trying to impersonate them and hustling for money.

  • S.A.M

    I saw this same guy outside Metro Center Friday night asking for cash to catch Amtrak back to Baltimore. Claimed to be a Marine.

  • AVA

    This guy has approached me too times downtown using the same story (also he had the bag both times). Once in September (right by the W Hotel) and the other time several months earlier (around K and Vermont). He ran off when I told him I heard his line a few months earlier.

    Not certain if this is the relevant provision of the MIlitary code, but it suggests impersonating a petty officer with the intent to defraud has a maximum penalty of 3 years confinement. I don’t know the particulars so I could be totally wrong about this.


    • Dood

      he’s not under these laws jurisdiction unless he is a former service member.

  • I have seen this guy on the Orange Line and he puts on a good act. He pretends to be really frustrated and mumbles something about getting in trouble for not getting to the base on time when people turn him down. Glad you got his photo posted.

  • Nice


  • Anon

    After this guy tried to scam me at Metro Center and I was stern with him, I saw him in the same place a couple days later trying to scam some tourists. They were actually pulling out their wallets when I went up to him and told him that if I saw him around here again I’d kick the piss out of him. I’m a relatively big man, but I’m no tough guy. I didn’t know if it’d work, but it did. The guy was speechless and scurried away.

    I don’t advocate threatening violence, and there are surely some people here who’d take exception with what I did, but sometimes it’s highly effective. And if I see him again, near my work trying to scam tourists, I’ll do the same thing.

    He’s clearly not afraid of the authorities, and he has no reason to be.

    • Rukasu1

      Of all cities to try to pull this shit in…Sure there are a lot of gullible tourist, but the shear number of uniformed and more importantly non-uniformed service members who would immediately be able to sniff out his scam, I’m utterly amazed he hasn’t had the shit kicked out of him yet.

    • SUM0NE

      that is so hot of you <3

  • PG

    I hope he tries to pull this scam on some real Marines and gets his ass kicked.

  • edawg

    So, the author of this note watched the whole thing knowing it was a scam and didn’t think maybe he/she ought to discourage the other passengers from giving money?

    • Anonymous

      +1. That was my first thought. Put down the camera and warn the victim please.

    • WDC

      Things happen fast. I’ve witnessed several incidents that I would have intervened in, if only I could pull myself together mentally fast enough.
      The letter writer already did a good thing by getting the word out.

      • Anonymous

        The photographer pulled themselves together enough to take a photo. Why not speak out? “Hey, that guy is scamming you! He’s been running that scam for awhile now!”

        • Sarah Lindsey

          I agree – but if this guy is really as prolific as the comments on this thread indicate, it might have actually been in the public good to let the scam run its course one more time in the interest of getting the picture.

          Of course, thats assuming that the poster couldn’t simultaneously take the picture and give the warning at the same time. Also assuming that something comes of the post here.

          I wonder how much this guy is bringing in on an average daily basis – it sounds like he does this full time. Pretty amazing really.

  • Jessica

    I don’t get why the police can’t do anything about it. It’s a crime on a variety of levels (esp if he’s saying he’s an officer)

    Obviously people shouldn’t give him money, but some people are nice. If we ever see him…trust me…marine fiance will kick his ass. However, we don’t hang out much in any of the places people have seen him. Maybe we’re lucky?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen this guy w/in the past 3 weeks telling the same story outside of Corner Bakery at 14th/F Streets NW. I don’t know how he lives with himself.

    • Jessica

      with lots of money he’s scammed from people.

  • Kenny

    Same thing happened to me around 13th and F. He promised to send money when he got back to base.

  • Marrio

    Any Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine that is in need of help can get free assistance from ANY military installation. Since this area is full of them, you should just direct him to the Pentagon Station and walk away. Every service member knows that just need to get to any base and they will have the help they need.

    I ran into another guy who tried to pull this scam, unfortunately for him I was a personnel clerk in the Army and have helped many stranded service members. When I started going in about what he had done so far he quickly ended our conversation and got out of dodge. I then told everyone around me to beware of guys like that.

  • Jessica

    I’ve spoken with the Marine Corps (public affairs) about this and they have told me that they cannot do anything but suggest that whenever anyone sees him, call the cops. If the cops won’t do anything, I suggest you speak with your council rep that the cops won’t do anything.

    But seriously, if you see him over and over again in the same places, call the cops. All of you. Don’t assume someone else will do it. The more that call, the better. not 911, 311 or the number of the local station.

    • JenDC

      In addition to calling the cops, I will start yelling at the top of my lungs that this guy is a fake – public shame is sometimes a good thing.

    • JenDC

      Hey! Thanks for taking the action.

  • Kelley

    This guy was hanging around Metro Center earlier last week, also. Started “I’m a Marine…” and when people kept walking would start swearing and yelling about DC and our “disrespect” of veterans.

  • B

    this is the same guy who gave us the line about being in the marines and stranded in chinatown this summer. asking for money for amtrack to get back to his base.

  • Anon

    This reminds me of the “gas can” guy I used to see all the time years ago. He’d always carry a gas can and say he ran out of gas and needed a few bucks. I once asked him to show me where his car was parked, and he pointed to a car, but when I asked him to open the door, he ran away. After that, every time I saw him, I’d just say “remember me?” and he’d leave me alone.

    • David Magee

      So funny, I Love it. I would follow them for a while…make things a little less profitable.

  • Tati

    I have seen him too. I didn’t even remember the episode, but as soon as I read this, everything came back to me. Chinatown, with a friend, he asked for money. We smiled politely said “oh sorry! No cash”. Didn’t even know that this was a frequent happening! And I remember, one time in a very crowded Chinatown, someone screaming about mistreatment of the veterans. It was probably him again, but cannot recall the face of whoever was shouting.

  • Kevin

    I saw this guy in Rosyln for the first time this spring. I didn’t believe him but still gave him 2$. After I startd to quiz him about calling his base and deals Amtrac may have. I left feeling like I’ll never really know if he was really trouble.
    Three weeks later after a date I saw him in Chinatown. Same stranded story, and I almost flipped. A month later the girl I was on a date with brother saw him.
    I also died laughing when I saw the article. He’ll get what he deserves.

  • El Gringo


    Are you able to forward this post (and its comments about the perps habits) to MPD (2nd District?) public affairs people?

    With so many former service members in the force, I gotta assume detectives would relish busting a clown like this…

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Yes, I have alerted MPD who have alerted Transit police.

    • Jessica

      Thanks for this note – there’s a Marine in my guy’s reserve unit that is a cop in – I THINK – 2nd MPD. Not sure we can post his info, but I will now make a point of it to speak with him about this and how we can work to get this guy arrested.

  • Scott

    There is a guy in georgetown that always ask “can I have a moment of your time?” he says he is getting money for some kids charity basketball something. I don’t mind real pan handlers. As also posted above ANY military base will move heaven and earth to help someone get back to their base.

  • eddy fuentes

    Whoa! That guy told me the same story outside the China Town metro stop. Crazy. I thought it was a scam but I wasn’t sure. I did feel bad for him. What a jerk!

  • @mike_rossetti

    This is the guy! He hit me up for 60 bucks on the metro a few months ago.

    What a douche.

  • Holy cow. I saw this guy many months ago at Gallery Place. Same story. After he made his pitch I just said “You’re no Marine” and walked away. He doesn’t play the part well.

  • Mike

    I’ve never encountered this guy, but from the sound of it he must be raking in the dough, to be so daring.

  • Anonymous

    There is a law against this thing that you can cite when you call the cops, because not all cops know about it…it’s on the newhilleast or MPD-1D yahoo group listserv. I’ll look it up at home later.

  • Becky

    This guy approached me in Rosslyn and then I saw him again in Dupont circle a few weeks later. Sounds like he gets around.

  • joe joblanksy

    so you know the guy is scammer, yet you sit there snapping pics on your phone and not coming the innocent kind-hearted woman’s defence and telling her to save her money? good work, sherlock.

  • Sarah

    Saw this guy for the first time at 7th and D, NW, in early summer. He doesn’t make eye contact and shuffles around — very odd. Didn’t buy the act and moved on. Saw him about a week later in front of FroYo a few blocks over hitting up some tourists. Thanks, PoP, for passing the photo and info along to MPD. Clearly folks are giving him money if he’s still wandering about.

  • Anonymous

    Whenever someone approaches me with an elaborate story I immediately assume it’s a scam unless I see some convincing evidence.

    • Anonymous

      same here.

  • BrennaLM

    Yep, saw this guy several months ago on the blue or orange line heading east (we got off at stadium-armory).

    • Rukasu

      Oh dag, he must have missed his stop getting off at Eastern Market to check in to the barracks

      • Rukasu

        Oh…going east, nevermind

  • J

    This guy tried it on my fiancée and I a couple of months ago in Chinatown. Knew he was a fake when he said that he needed to get back to Camp Lejeune and that he needed the train to Tampa. Camp Lejeune is in North Carolina

  • bl

    Ha! I had this guy approach me a few weeks ago in Chinatown asking me for money to get back to Quantico. After I posed to him a few questions it was quite obvious that he was full of it. Very unfortunate that he is impersonating military personnel and getting away with it!


    Probably one of the more despicable scammers in the area…. really what a jerk. There are real soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen sacrificing their lives everyday around the globe often living in poor conditions and not being compensated enough for their efforts so this bum can tramp around the city conning people (probably mostly decent tourists). Just an absolute disgrace.

  • Joe

    Saw him outside the 14th St entrance to McPherson Sq station this evening (about 8:30pm) talking to a guy, had a stack of business cards and was handing one to the guy he was trying to hustle (didn’t realize he was hustling at the time, but after I went into the station the thought crossed my mind). He was probably giving some real serviceman’s business cards away saying ‘I’ll pay you back when I get to base, just give me a call and I can wire you the money.’ I’m saving the link to this post in the bookmarks on my cell phone, if I ever see him again I’m going to pull it up and show whoever he’s trying to hustle, and then call the cops.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen him outside the Mt. Vernon Metro stop as well. I was skeptical and when I told my boyfriend about the incident he knew exactly who I was talking about.

  • CE

    Saw him at Union Station last Monday around 8:30, on my way home from a work dinner. I’d heard of him before, but my boss gave him money. This guy’s a scumbag.

  • Mike

    I got approached by this guy twice in 2 months. The second time, I was next to my car and told him I would be happy to drive him to Quantico. He said he didn’t want to inconvenience me. I told him that my father and brother were both former Marines and would be disappointed if I didn’t help. I started insisting he get in the car until he ran off.

    Oh, and it is illegal to act as an officer of military. And since military personnel are always acting in the authority of the United States, he could be brought up on federal charges.

    This guy is a jerk-off

  • b

    He was working his way down F Street, NW Saturday night. A couple (probably tourists) at the corner of 11th and F gave him money. When he asked me, he showed a business card that supposedly belonged to his C.O. at Quantico.

  • Adam K

    Got scammed for $25 by a similar dude in Baltimore last summer. I’ve also seen this ass-wad around Chinatotwn–they must have a whole society or something.

    Kudos for posting the article, let’s Facebook and tweet it up.


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