DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Sandy Hook Hoaxer Busted By Federal Agents

Felon who claimed to be Adam Lanza's uncle collared


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Serial Litigant Violated

DECEMBER 26--A convicted felon who traveled to Newtown, Connecticut and masqueraded as the uncle of Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman Adam Lanza has been arrested on a federal probation violation charge, The Smoking Gun has learned.

Jonathan Lee Riches was busted late last week and booked into the Chester County jail. Riches, 35, has been living in West Chester, Pennsylvania since his release earlier this year from federal prison, where he spent a decade in custody for conspiracy and wire fraud.

On December 16, two days after the school massacre, Riches drove to Connecticut and sought to visit the home of gunman Adam Lanza. Riches, who videotaped part of the trip and uploaded clips to his YouTube page, was turned away from the Lanza family’s street by a police blockade.

Riches, however, did turn up at a makeshift memorial site in Newtown, where he identified himself to reporters as “Jonathan Lanza,” uncle of the school shooter. As reported by the New York Daily News and other media outlets, he told journalists that the killer had been taking Fanapt, an antipsychotic drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia. As photographers snapped away, Riches (seen below) dropped to a knee and feigned praying for the young victims.

According to a U.S. District Court filing, Riches--who is serving a five-year federal probation term--is not allowed to leave Pennsylvania’s Eastern District judicial boundaries without permission from a judge or his probation officers.

When Riches’s federal probation officer learned of the ex-con’s car trip to Newtown (and the existence of his YouTube travelogues), he drafted a report noting that he had “reason to believe that the supervised releasee has violated the terms and conditions of his supervision.” As seen in the below video, Riches’s auto contained dolls to which he affixed photos of Adam Lanza and the gunman’s older brother Ryan.

Probation officials have also cited Riches for failing to make court-ordered restitution payments for the last seven months. Records do not indicate when Riches will appear in federal court for a probation revocation hearing.

As chronicled by TSG, Riches previously gained notoriety as the federal prison system’s most prodigious serial litigant. While incarcerated, he filed hundreds of fatuous lawsuits that named a cavalcade of athletes, politicians, musicians, Hollywood stars, and other public figures as defendants.

Since his release from prison in late-April, Riches has continued filing lawsuits, though he has used names other than his own, like “Gino Romano.” For example, posing as the father of actress Selena Gomez, Riches filed an October 2012 federal complaint accusing Justin Bieber of stealing his credit card and using it to pay for a “penis enlargement.”

News of the phony Bieber lawsuit came in an “Exclusive” story on the gossip site TMZ, which apparently was unaware that the complaint was concocted by Riches (whose Facebook page lists his occupation as a “Creative Writer” for TMZ).

Riches’s latest hoax victim is gossip site Radar Online, which today posted a front-page story reporting that Britney Spears was being sued in federal court by the brother of Kevin Federline, one of her ex-husbands and the father of her two boys.

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.’"

Riches, who himself was a credit card fraudster, referred to the “Federline” complaint in a December 19 Facebook post.

The “Federline” lawsuit, filed December 18 in Tampa, Florida, was dismissed two days later by Judge Steven Merryday, who cited three prior 2012 cases in his order. Two of those cases were filed by “Gino Romano” and named various members of the Kardashian family as defendants.

The third case was filed by a “Jonathan Jolie,” who sued Brad Pitt, John Travolta, and the Church of Scientology for, among other things, assaulting him. “Jolie,” who claimed to be Angelina Jolie’s cousin, wrote that he was “hiding at the Italian Embassy in New York for protection and I’m wearing a mask.”

Included as an exhibit to the “Jolie” lawsuit is a photo of a masked man standing in a kitchen. He is holding a February 2003 mug shot of Jonathan Lee Riches. (5 pages)