Following in the illustrious footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Catch Me If You Can character Frank Abagnale Jr., Jeremy Wilson posed as a wounded war hero to lease a BMW and rent a swanky Manhattan apartment — until police arrested him in New York this week. And how did the NYPD grab him? They conned the con man.
Wilson, who was released in November from a six-year stint in federal prison, reportedly had managed to create a plausible credit history and a usable Social Security number. “This guy was so savvy,” said Sergeant Mark MacDonnell of the NYPD’s organized-crime investigation division. “He was able to obtain a small fortune in a very small amount of time.”
He used that fortune to get his BMW in Boston and a two-bedroom rental in Lower Manhattan that cost slightly more than $5,000 a month (so, pretty average). The NYPD first caught wind of Wilson on December 30 when a Homeland Security agent contacted the department for help locating the car, which had been leased with forged military documents. A license-plate scanner turned it up; then they towed it, leaving a detective’s contact information behind and explaining that it had been impounded as evidence in a shooting. Wilson called the number, where a detective told him to pick up his car at the 10th Precinct station. When he showed up, he was arrested.
He’s wanted for similar scams in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California, and possibly additional states — police are still sorting through his aliases.