A man from West Chester allegedly drove to Newtown, Connecticut after the Sandy Hook massacre and posed as the shooter's uncle, sharing Adam Lanza's history of personal issues with reporters looking to gather information related to the tragedy. The culprit, 35-year-old Jonathan Lee Riches, has previously served 10 years in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud, but he was released in April.
He was caught after his probation officer noticed that Riches had posted an unusally high number of videos to YouTube from his trips. He now most likely faces a probation revocation hearing after allegedly violating his probation.
Among the West Chester native's history as a professional scammer are a series of offenses detailed as follows. Riches has filed a slew of bogus lawsuits against a number of high profile celebrities, including Brad Pitt, John Travolta, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears. In the lawsuit against Bieber, he claimed to be the father of Selena Gomez and sued Bieber for swiping his credit card to pay for a penis enlargement. Just last week, he duped the folks at RadarOnline into believing he was Kevin Federline's brother, Chris, and that he was the father of one of Spears' children.
Back in 2008, Gawker ran a piece on Riches' outlandish lawsuits and included an image of a note he had written about Katie Couric and her crew filming him in solitary confinement, in which he also complains about rat poop on the floor. The same media outlet has covered his lawsuit alleging that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are terrorists.
In a video recently posted to YouTube, Riches talks to the camera while driving through Adam Lanza's neighborhood in Connecticut. Seated in the passenger seat of his car is a doll with a paper cutout of Lanza's face attached to it like a mask.
"We are truth-seekers," he says. "We're going to find out why Adam Lanza was mind controlled and manipulated to go in and allegedly shoot little kids in Sandy Hook Elementary School."
In another video posted to YouTube, Riches again speaks to the camera, this time with a doll donning a paper cutout of the face of James Holmes, the man suspected in the mass shooting at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. In the video, he visits the Islamic Society of Chester County. He leaves a bag of pork rinds and a can of pork and beans with a "Happy Hanukkah" note. Then he says that James Holmes is innocent.
On Facebook, Riches' profile states that he studied at Harvard University and is now a creative writer for TMZ. The page also contains multiple images in which James Holmes' face has been added. [h/t The Smoking Gun]