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  1. #1
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    Imposter - James Dee Frances Sheker - Who is he?

    Washington Post
    September 16, 1979

    THE GREAT IMPOSTER

    For 15 years his suburban Virginia neighbors believed he was James Dee Frances Sheker, a good family man and a successful engineer who waved to them each morning on his way to work in a jaguar convertible.

    To Oklahoma neighbors he was Michael Carr Speer 111, a congenial bachelor with a genius IQ and a Stanford Ph.D. As Speer he was about to close a million dollar deal.

    California neighbors knew him as Dallas Dean Rust, the wheeler dealer operator of a gold mine in French Gulch. He drove a pickup truck, wore a Stetson hat and carried a .38.

    In each case the man they knew did not exist.

    There is no record of the engineers birth in any of the fifty states and two of his bridges collapsed. The real Speer was found in a shallow Oklahoma grave, three bullets in his head. As for Rust, a drifter from South Bend, Indiana, he was last seen in Florida.......

    http://www.oscn.net/applications/osc...sp?CiteID=5732

  2. #2
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    More from 1979 Washington Post article:

    "It has been a trauma. Some people say I am a manipulator, a master of disguise. I am a real person. I wasn't hatched. I breathe air. I drink water," he said in a recent interview. He speaks with the trace of a Spanish accent. His face is oriental, with high cheek bones, quill straight black hair and dark engaging eyes. Around his neck he wears a Star of David and on his little finger a Mexican gold coin. He is muscular with a large circular scar on his back. The middle and ring fingers of his left hand are mere stubs.

    Again he is calling himself "Jim Sheker" but he says he does not recall the last time he said his real name aloud.
    ........
    It was in early 1960 that a military transport from Okinawa touched down in California with a dark-skinned 30-year-old passenger aboard. His name then was James Sheker. From California he took a Greyhound that let him off on U.S. 1 in Alexandria. When he stepped off the bus, he was wearing a Navy commanders uniform, carrying a duffel bag and holding his military orders in his hand, recalls his first wife, Arlene. She was startled. She knew he had not been in the military. He told her it was the quickest way he could be with her.

    A year earlier they had met in Okinawa and fallen in love. "Jim" she remembers, was an exciting man and a person of mystery. He told her he was an engineer in the U.S. government. She heard him speak French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, English and Phillipine dialects. He was a gourmet cook with a flair for curries and other oriental dishes. He was a world traveler, and he was an incurable romantic. In their year apart he had mailed blades of grass with "I love you" incised in painstaking detail.

    He told her he was born in Montreal. Unknown to Arlene, the only connection he had with Canada was his engineering certificate, which belonged not to him but to a Canadian engineer. Why he left Okinawa when he did is unclear, but Lynn Larsen, a close friend of his who also lived on Okinawa recalls his telling her that he had to leave the island in a hurry, that he was "under some kind of cloud"
    .......
    Arlene recalls that by mid-1965 Sheker refused to discuss his work with her, saying it involved construction for the government at a top-secret site. Sheker returned home wearing government identification tags and voice printouts he said were necessary to enter underground facilities.

    Each Saturday he put on a Navy commander's uniform and disappeared for the day, saying he would report to Patuxent Naval Air Station to flight exercises. Arlene was afraid to ask questions. Things didn't jibe, she said. Their marriage was disintegrating. In mid-1965 she called the FBI and told them of her husband's naval activities.

    On June 24, 1965, two FBI agents interviewed Sheker at his home at 6260 Frontier Dr. in Springfield, VA. According to the FBI report, Sheker told the agents he was not a U.S. citezen. In his wallet they found two Defense Department identification cards. Sheker told them he recieved the cards as a civilian employee on U.S. military bases in Okinawa in the 1950s.

    He told the agents he bought the Navy uniform in a pawn shop, that he wore it because he liked the way people looked at him when he was in the uniform. The FBI ran an extensive check of Sheker's background. They found no record of his birth or of military or civil service.

    But the FBI brought no charges against Sheker. Agents said federal prosecutors would be reluctant to bring the case to court unless they could show Sheker had benefited monetarily from his impersonation. Sheker continued to wear his Navy uniform undisturbed for the next 10 years.

    He told friends the CIA had intervened on his behalf and had cautioned the FBI "to leave him alone." His story of a CIA connection was nothing new. Since Okinawa days he had been telling friends that the agency provided him new identities whenever needed as well as the military identification necessary to carry out his assignments.

    Sheker never forgave Arlene for calling the FBI. In 1978, 13 years after the FBI incident and their divorce, he wrote to her from an Alexandria, VA jail where he was being held for kidnapping Speer. "You started this whole nightmare when you called the FBI about my Naval activities...From that time you started a chain reaction blowing my cover. I left the agency (CIA) without any choice. It finally led to this."

  3. #3
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    Yes, I'm the Great Pretender...

    This is a fascinating case. I wonder if the TV show "The Pretender" might have been roughly based on this guy. Here is another Washington Post Article about him:

    ----------------------------

    Paper: Washington Post, The (DC)
    Title: FBI Finds Body Believed to Be Researcher's
    Date: April 21, 1978

    A body tentatively identified as that of Washington researcher Farlan Speer, who has been missing since he boarded a flight at Dulles International Airport in late 1975, was uncovered by the FBI late Wednesday in a shallow grave about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City.


    Speer's body, which had three gunshot wounds in the head, was identified through dental records, the FBI said. Further records have been requested for a certain identification.An FBI spokesman said that Speer had been buried in a two-foot-deep grave in a ravine and covered with rocks in the "rugged country" of Logan County, Okla. Agents found the site with the help of a confidential source and metal detectors, he said.


    James Dee Francis Sheker, 46, who was arrested in California last week as a fugitive from a fraud charge in Prince William County, has been charged with the kidnaping of Speer. The FBI spokesman said, however, that Sheker has made no comment about Sheer's disappearance. No murder charges have been filed in the case.


    Speer, who had a doctorate degree from Stanford and was a researcher at the National Academy of Sciences here, was last seen in November, 1975, as he boarded a plane at Dulles for a mysterious job interview in Oklahoma City.


    Soon afterward, however, a man answering Sheker's description and using Speer's name, references and social security number began approaching oil and utility companies with investment opportunities. California authorities said Sheker had some of Speer's personal identification, including his college class ring, in his possession when he was arrested.

  4. #4
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    More from article
    Washington Post
    September 16, 1979

    .....By 1970 Sheker's income had improved markedly, and he moved into a Centreville townhouse. He and his wife Dorothy, took frequent trips around the country, including weekend getaways in private planes piloted by Sheker.(D.C. police say there is no record that Sheker had a pilots liscence) He drove a new Jaguar convertible XKE, a 450 SLC Mercedes-Benz and a Chrysler.

    How did he get by at work? "He always knew the right buzzwords. He knew all the words you're supposed to use," said Ed Daniels, a former vice president at Montclair Developement Corp., where Sheker worked as a chief engineer for two years. "He was the ultimate great impostor."

    Like many of Sheker's former employers, Daniels credits him with a photographic memory. Sheker was a regular at area libraries where he took out texts on subjects his employers assumed he already knew. In addition Sheker was careful to stay in a supervisory capacity, maintaining a distance from front-line decision making. He approved other's work.

    Sheker had told Daniels he had a masters degree from the Colorado school of Mines and was working towards a Ph.D. in sanitary engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. When Sheker informed his colleagues that he had completed his Ph.D. requirements, they were so impressed they held a catered surprise party for him at Montclair Country Club and gave the entire staff the day off. Sheker showed up in cap and gown, recalls club manager Art Colasanti.

    Later Daniels learned VPI did not offer a Ph.D. in sanitary engineering and had no record of Sheker's enrollment. Nor was there a record of him at the Colorado school of Mines.

    Sheker's credibility as a professional engineer ran into trouble in late 1974. Daniels discovered there had been enormous cost overruns and defects in engineering. He checked Sheker's credentials.

    His engineering stamp was number 3713. That number, according to the Virginia Board of Registration, belongs not to Sheker but to a retired engineer now living in Homesdale, PA. The state board has no record of Sheker as a professional engineer.

    In April 1975 Daniels fired Sheker. Prince William County police issued an arrest warrant on Nov. 26, 1975, charging Sheker with fraud. Sheker had already vanished from the state.

    Since then a 40-foot bridge and a 20-foot bridge Sheker had built at the Montclair golf course have collapsed, according to Daniels. The wood bridges were apparentely based on plans in an old army manuel. They would have supported a tank on dry land, but they were not designed to stand in water. said Daniels.....

  5. #5
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    This case makes me want to review all missing men of this time period, who had any sort of military background, social standing or high education.

  6. #6
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    Time line...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollow
    This case makes me want to review all missing men of this time period, who had any sort of military background, social standing or high education.
    If an accurate time line could be drawn, showing where this guy was at specific times, and who he claimed to be at those times, there might be some blank areas where he seems to have disappeared. Those would be good times to concentrate on in such a search of missing persons or John Does.

  7. #7
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    more from 1979 Washington Post article....(It was really long)

    ...On May 1, 1975, Sheker joined Aimes Associates, an excecutive placement firm in Bethseda that recruits engineers for the mortgage banking and construction industry.

    "He was affable, intelligent and very knowledgable on all subjects," recalls Michael Ames. "He certainly sold everyone a bill of goods." Sheker was introduced to Farlan (also known as Michael Carr) Speer , a quiet 42-year-old Ph.D. living in Northwest Washington.

    Speer, a man who could work a New York Times crossword puzzle in 10 minutes and had attended the University of California on a scholarship at age 15, had been unemployed for two months. He was just waiting for the right job to come along.

    It was Sheker who worked with Speer and handled his employment file, recalls Ames, and the three spoke together for several minutes before Speer and Sheker took up details of employment between themselves.

    Sheker denies ever meeting Speers.

    In October Sheker left Ames associates. With him he took Speer's file, according to the FBI. A centreville neighbor of Sheker's says she remembers Sheker sitting in his living room examining the Speer file in front of her and his wife Dorothy. He told them Speer was to be his new identity and that the CIA had provided him the material, the neighbor recalls.

    On the evening of November 17, 1975, the real Speer called his parents in Chicago and told them he had a job offer from a man called "Jim" who promised him a $50,000 -a-year-position in Haiti. First Speer would have to go to Oklahoma for orientation....

  8. #8
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    Washington Post
    September 16, 1979

    ....In the intervening two years that Speer had been missing, the imposter Sheker had approached utilities companies throughout the SouthEast and West with what he described as a revolutionary process he had developed for extracting gas from coal. At the same time he was vice president of Drum Construction Company, a large multi-state firm that featured Speer and his Ph.D. on the letterhead.
    ...

    "Obviously they would have thrown me out of the office if I had not known what I was talking about" bragged Sheker in a recent interview.

  9. #9
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    During this time, unknown to him, FBI agents were closing in on Sheker.

    Washington Post
    Sept. 16, 1979

    Sheker was arrested April 12, 1978 in Yreka California, by agents and local police who surrounded the motel where he was staying. When arrested he was carrying a .38 in his down jacket. On his finger was a Stanford ring, class of 1970, with the initials MCS inside it.

    Sheker told investigators that he was Speer and gave as his birth date and Social Security number that of Speer. They recorded the interview.... The next day detectives returned to the house for another interview. Sheker was gone, leaving only a bathmat behind.....

    In his wallet was a complete set of identification for three people: Speer, George William Johnstone and Dallas Dean Rust. He had stayed with Johnstone in Barrie, Ontario, several months earlier. Johnstone says he does not know how Sheker got his identification cards.

    But it was under the name of Dallas Dean Rust that Sheker had been living from mid- 1977 to mid- 1978. As Rust, he operated the Washington Gold Mine in French Gulch near Redding California. He lived with 23-year-old Deanna Brobst, who knew him only as Rust.....

    The real Dallas Dean Rust, according to relatives, is a drifter from South Bend Indiana, who was last seen in Florida....

    ..Sheker was living in Redding California, driving around town in a cadillac and boasting to his friends that he was on the verge of closing a million dollar deal...

  10. #10
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    a very interesting post..look's maybe this guy maybe done some very bad crime's in his life time...


  11. #11
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    So where is Sheker today?

    Here is what the Federal Inmate Locator has on Sheker:

    Name JAMES DEE FRANCIS SHEKER
    Register Number 43230-054
    Age 78
    Race White
    Sex M
    Release Date (Actual) 02-05-1997
    Location RELEASED
    He was obviously released after 19 years in prison. What is he doing today? What about any missing persons since 1997?

  12. #12
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    So, it's really hard to say , where he is today. Or what alias he's using, Geez he's old if he is alive at all. I wonder where he got the name James Dee Frances Sheker, that seems too elaborate to have just made it up.

  13. #13
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    Tracking Sheker...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hollow
    So, it's really hard to say , where he is today. Or what alias he's using, Geez he's old if he is alive at all. I wonder where he got the name James Dee Frances Sheker, that seems too elaborate to have just made it up.
    Here is what a search found about Sheker's locations (dates unknown):

    Sheker, James D. F.
    Age 73
    Associated names: Sheker, James
    Possible relative: Sheker, Dorothy
    Addresses:
    Peoria, AZ
    Las Vegas, NV
    Phoenix, AZ
    Boynton Beach, FL

    Note the descrepancy in the age stated here (73), the age in the Federal Inmate Locator (78), and the age in earlier posts which would be 75 if you do the math.

  14. #14
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    Could this be an obit for the gentleman?

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_ho.../20110712.html
    Thursday, November 21, 2002
    Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

    James Sheker





    James D.F. Sheker, 74, died Oct. 30.

    He was born Jan. 1, 1928, in Tennessee. An Army and Navy veteran, he was a CEO for youth world centers, a six-year resident of Las Vegas and a member of the Masonic Lodge and Consolidated Mining and Metals.

    Memorial services will be scheduled for Dec. 4 at the Nellis Air Force Base Chapel. The family requests memorial donations be made to a charity of choice. Desert Memorial Cremation & Burial Society handled arrangements.



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