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Probation for man posing as general

Feb. 8, 2014 - 11:29AM   |  
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FORT WORTH, TEXAS — The medals and uniform didn’t convince a North Texas police chief he was truly dealing with an Army brigadier general.

Michael Douglas McDowell claimed to be one when he visited Fort Worth police Chief Jeff Halstead two years ago offering a tour of the White House or Pentagon. But the chief became suspicious and later discovered through investigators that McDowell had never served in the military.

The 57-year-old McDowell on Tuesday pleaded guilty to impersonating a public servant and was sentenced to five years of probation. He also pleaded guilty to bigamy for marrying a woman while still married to his estranged wife.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports McDowell spun a web of lies that lasted for years as he claimed a long military career that included secret intelligence work. He was sometimes seen with a briefcase handcuffed to his arm. He had a Washington, D.C., phone number with a voicemail informing callers that someone from his “command staff” would call back.

McDowell often wore medals and ribbons, and had a Purple Heart license plate.

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