Famous Impostor Charged With Being an Impostor

Man who inspired movie accused of identity theft again
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2015 12:00 PM CDT
Famous Impostor Charged With Being an Impostor
This photo provided by the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office shows William Douglas Street Jr.   (Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office/Detroit News via AP)

Police investigating bad checks say they found much more: A Detroit-area impostor who inspired a 1989 award-winning film was posing like someone else—again. William Street Jr., 64, was charged in federal court with fraud and identity theft after he was found with documents and a white doctor's coat with the name of a Maryland man, William Benn Stratton. Street has two dozen convictions going back decades and even fooled the Detroit Tigers into giving him a tryout in the 1970s, reports the Detroit News. Street was the inspiration for Chameleon Street, which won a major prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival. Defense attorney Joseph Arnone acknowledged the "long history here" and said he was investigating the allegations.

"Oh my God, you can't make this stuff up. I am completely dumbfounded and speechless," said Stratton, the apparent identity theft victim, who isn't a doctor but a vice president at a tech company called ClearShark. Street told the FBI that he decided to assume Stratton's identity after reading about the former Green Beret running a marathon, according to a court filing. He obtained diplomas, transcripts, and a US Military Academy class ring in Stratton's name, the FBI said. The white coat had Stratton's name and the name of a University of Michigan medical clinic. "He was at U of M, saw the lab coat laying around and he picked it up. He's just an opportunist. If he sees something, he takes it and takes on that role," says a detective. (More imposter stories.)

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