05 February 2014

Fort Worth's "impostor general" gets 5 years probation | RallyPoint.com

By Deanna Boyd
Copyright 2014 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth man who wove an elaborate web of lies, convincing friends, family and even some government officials that he was a brigadier general in the Army, fessed up to his ruse Tuesday, pleading guilty to impersonating a public servant.

Michael Douglas McDowell, 57, also pleaded guilty to bigamy, stemming from his December 2011 marriage to Christy McDowell while still married to his estranged wife, Karen, the mother of his two grown children.

He was sentenced to five years deferred adjudication probation in each case.

“For the better part of 15 years, this defendant perfected the art of stolen valor,” said Tarrant County assistant District Attorney Joshua Ross. “The lengths to which he was willing to go were prolific; including wearing an officer’s uniform and medals, as well as obtaining purple heart license plates, none of which was earned. He even wore a uniform to his marriage to a woman who believed him to be a military officer, and who was not aware of his other marriage.”

“Considering those in uniform rarely ask for anything more than an occasional ‘thank you,’ Michael McDowell’s actions are profoundly offensive,” Ross added.

Charles Burgess, McDowell’s defense attorney, did not return a message seeking comment.

The truth unravels

Fort Worth police began investigating McDowell after the “general” paid an an impromptu visit to Police Chief Jeff Halstead in late December 2012.

McDowell, who had been introduced to the chief in 2010 while then posing as a colonel, told Halstead that he had been promoted to general. He offered to set up a special tour of White House or Pentagon for the chief and said he was “happy to help” if the department ever needed him.

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