Two days following the Sandy Hook Shooting, Jonathan Lee Riches, a convicted felon out of West Chester, Pennsylvania, drove to Newtown, Connecticut and, like something straight out of a Flannery O'Connor story, appeared at a memorial site claiming to be "Jonathan Lanza," the fictitious uncle of shooter Adam Lanza. Riches then posed for photos and made false statements to journalists, many of which (like the one about Lanza being prescribed antipsychotic drug Fanapt to treat his supposed schizophrenia) were widely reported. Riches' true identity was revealed after his parole officer became aware of his travels thanks to the YouTube videos that Riches released to document his time in Newtown. Riches, under the terms of his probation (he originally served 10 years for conspiracy and wire fraud), is not allowed to leave Pennsylvania's Eastern District judicial boundaries and he will now be forced to return to federal court for a probation revocation hearing.
Things get stranger. Riches, as it turns out, has quite the history of posing as someone he's not and making it into the headlines. During his incarceration, he garnered a reputation as one of the most litigious prisoners in the system thanks to "hundreds of fatuous lawsuits that named a cavalcade of athletes, politicians, musicians, Hollywood stars, and other public figures as defendants."
While Riches was released last April, he has continued filing his made up lawsuits. Recently, he made headlines at TMZ after posing as Selena Gomez' father and suing Justin Bieber for stealing his credit card number to pay for "penis enlargement." (TMZ initially reported this as fact.) Just yesterday, Riches managed to pull a hoax on Radar Online when he claimed to be Christopher Federline, the made-up brother of Kevin Federline and the true father of Britney Spears' children.
From the Smoking Gun:
Citing "bombshell court papers," Radar noted that Christopher Federline accused Spears of stealing his Capital One credit card and making $4500 in unauthorized charges. "Federline" also claimed to have slept with Spears (whom he termed a "maniac") and fathered her youngest son.
Remarkably, the site even quoted an "insider" who claimed that "Chris says the fling was a mistake. He says he always felt bad about it and kept it to himself because he didn't want Alisha, his wife at the time, to find out." Radar Online also noted that a "source" told the National Enquirer (which shares a corporate parent with the web site) that "when Christopher contacted Britney about the credit card, she ‘just laughed at him,' and ‘threatened to tell Kevin she and Chris had sex while she was married to Kevin…and tell everyone that.'"
This story, too, was widely shared (even by us — sorry) though the case was dismissed on December 20th, a mere two days after it was filed.
(If you have time to read the whole Smoking Gun article, I recommend that you do. Riches has also filed false claims against Angelina Jolie, the Church of Scientology and the Kardashians.)