Sportsmen are often treated as cult figures. However, at times some of them indulge in acts that are not in line with the true spirit of sportsmanship. Below are listed some of these frauds that took the world by surprise.
Derungs sent a mail to Maple Bat Company in 2000 stating that he wanted to place an order for 50-60 bats for the 2001 season as his contract with Louisville Slugger was about to end and he wanted to test new bats. The owner sent 60 bats with each priced $3,319. It had the name of Derungs engraved on it. However, Derungs tried to sell these on eBay and had to spend 21 months in jail.
Israel Lang who played four seasons for Eagles and retired in 1969 tried to impersonate Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall and Doug Williams who played for Washington Redskins. He was ultimately arrested and had to spend 22 months in prison for over 24 offences.
During a match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich on April 18, 2001, Karl Power was able to disguise himself as a member of television crew. Soon, he was on the field and changed into a uniform of Manchester United. He was able to get himself photographed in the pre match photo before being noticed.
A woman started dating Ronnie Craven in 2008 as she thought that the person was former NBA star Jeff Turner. It was only when Ronnie left for some other town for few days did she realize that Ronnie was an imposter.
Barry Bremen was a professional imposter and began his imposter career during NBA All-Star game in Detroit. He also spent time with professional players at U.S Open and continued his work for over two decades retiring only after stringent security was in place post 9/11.
Ryan Ward resembled a lot with Joba Chamberlain, a Major League pitcher and he took due advantage of the same. People started mobbing him and he used to sign autographs for them. He was popular at restaurants and later started demanding money for his appearances. Eventually, he had to spend a year in prison and was fined $2,518.
Jerry Joseph was a basketball player who played for Permian High School in Texas. He continued to play for many other school teams before three coaches from Florida recognized him as Guerdwich Montimere. He was actually 22 and was impersonating as a 16 year old. Eventually, he had to spend three years in prison for the fraud.
Graeme Souness, the manager of Southampton Football Club received a call from George Weah, a former FIFA player in 1996 about Ali Dia who was his cousin. Ali Dia eventually played as a substitute in a Southampton versus Leeds. His was the worst ever performance and later it was found that Ali Dia was an imposter.
In 1996 a man claiming to be Rocky Nelson moved into a community in Bradenton, Florida and became popular. He would move around and sign autographs and was a local hero. He was caught only in 2007 when it was found that Rocky had died the previous year.
After seeing his obituary in Associated Press in 2007, the real Bill Henry called up. It was then found that the person who had died was not the real Bill Henry and was imposing for over 20 years. However the real Bill Henry did not have any hard feelings as he said that he knew that he was the real one!