A Scottsdale man is in big trouble for playing dress-up.
Authorities say John William Rodriquez, 31, (pictured) presented himself at several local functions as a highly decorated U.S. Marine. A list of possible charges (see below) indicates Rodriquez may have been trying to earn money with the ruse, though the Arizona Department of Public Safety has not yet released full details.
The DPS says a former marine saw Rodriquez introduced as a decorated veteran at a "special function" and became suspicious that someone so young was wearing the Navy Cross. The real marine played amateur detective and discovered the sham, turning over his findings to authorities. Investigators learned Rodriquez had been dressing up routinely for functions, and his driver's license also falsely claimed he was in the military.
Rodriquez was arrested yesterday and booked into the Maricopa County Jail.
What Rodriquez hoped to gain isn't known. Maybe he was hoping ultimately to fool John McCain, like the former publisher of the Arizona Republic, Darrow "Duke" Telly, did.
Text of DPS release follows:
On June 10, 2009, at about 1:45 p.m., John William Rodriquez, 31, of Scottsdale was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on 13 felony fraud schemes stemming from his impersonation of a highly decorated Marine. The arrest culminates a lengthy investigation which uncovered evidence that Rodriquez had been portraying himself as a U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant or Warrant Officer for at least a year.
Rodriquez first came to the attention of criminal investigators at DPS after a former marine witnessed Rodriquez being introduced as a decorated veteran during a special function. The former marine observed the uniform worn by Rodriquez was not complete and that it was highly unusual for a 31-year-old to be wearing the Navy Cross. The man did some research and discovered Rodriquez had never been in the military. The case was then referred to DPS. The investigation revealed Rodriquez has in fact been introduced as a decorated war veteran at several functions, along with listing himself as currently serving in the military on his driver's license.
On June 4, 2009, DPS investigators served a search warrant at Rodriquez's home and removed several Marine uniforms and metals. Rodriquez was out of state at the time. He later spoke with DPS investigators from Sacramento where his parents reside. On June 10, 2009, Rodriquez flew back to Phoenix with his father. He was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport and taken to DPS headquarters in Phoenix to be interviewed. He was then booked into the 4th Avenue jail.
Rodriquez faces possible federal charges in addition to his arrest for ARS Title 13 Felony Fraud Schemes.
List of Rodriquez' charges from Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Web site:
In Custody For: 001 FELONY COUNT OF FRAUDULENT SCHEMES/ARTIFICES 001 FELONY COUNT OF FRAUD SCHEME/PRACTICE-CONCEAL 001 FELONY COUNT OF THEFT-CONTROL PROPERTY 001 FELONY COUNT OF THEFT-CONTROL LOST PROPERTY 001 FELONY COUNT OF THEFT-CONTROL STOLEN PROPERTY 001 FELONY COUNT OF CRIM IMPERSONATION-FALSE ID 001 FELONY COUNT OF CRIM IMPERSON-PRETEND/DEFRAUD 001 FELONY COUNT OF 001 FELONY COUNT OF UNSWORN FALSIFICTN-PROCEEDING 001 FELONY COUNT OF PRESCRIPTION-ONLY DRUG VIOL 001 FELONY COUNT OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA-POSSESS/USE