It's a tough race, but freak of the day decidedly goes to El Monte resident Yupeng Deng, who for the last three years has allegedly been convincing undocumented Chinese immigrants to join a fake U.S. Army unit (for a healthy fee) and report to his Temple City office for "military training and indoctrination," according to City News Service.
He even convinced them to dress up in faux military garb, march in a Monterey Park parade and take a fully uniformed field trip the USS Midway museum in San Diego.
What an alien won't do for a green card these days.
For an initiation fee of up to $450 -- and $120 in annual dues -- Deng reportedly promised the "recruits" they would eventually earn U.S. citizenship. They also had the option of making cash donations to the unit in exchange for a better rank among the troops.
How any fool would fall for the red-white-and-blue bologna of some 51-year-old who calls himself the "Supreme Commander" is still a mystery. But the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office says it was so:
Deng allegedly gave himself the title of "Supreme Commander" of an unauthorized military unit, the U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit ("MSFR"). Deng allegedly created the phony unit in October 2008 and recruited other Chinese nationals, telling them that belonging to the bogus unit was a path to U.S. citizenship. ...
Deng allegedly provided each recruit with phony U.S. Army uniforms, fake documents and fraudulent military ID cards.
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Congratulations, man, on three deadpan years of exceptionally freaky con-artistry.
But it's all over now, with 13 felony counts of "theft by false pretenses, manufacturing deceptive government documents and counterfeit of an official government seal."
Oh, and then there's the 14th charge: posession of child pornography. Because what kind of mentally unstable cult leader would be caught dead without some good old fashioned kid-on-kid?