A con man pretending to be a rabbi pulled the lambskin over the eyes of a fake rabbi conned a churchfull of Christians in Oregon. Masquerading as a Jewish leader from Milkwaukee, "Ari Crockett," whose real name is Timothy Wilton Ehrmantrout, didn't fight in the invasions of Panama or Grenada. And he really didn't lose a leg to a terrorist bomb, but in a motorcycle accident.
Ehrmentrout tried to steal $7,000 from the church, which eventually led to the congregants discovering his true past, which included not only a stint in a Federal prison, but time on the lam after a prison break. He had boasted of having been a college professor, a computer scientist, an international lawyer, and of being friends with Steven Spielberg and Bill Gates.
Not all the congregants have abandoned the good rabbi. Over 80 members still attend his services at Beth El church in Milwaukee. Beth El is affiliated with the Church of God.
"Who you were yesterday is not what God cares about," said Ann Seregow, a Beth El spokeswoman. "It's what you do right now that matters."
Crockett responded to recent inquiries from the press with a statement.
"Even since the earliest days of our ministry we have never hidden the fact that I had been a convicted criminal, in fact we promote it," Crockett wrote.
"Beth El is a place of second chances for all who have been damaged by bad choices in life. God has given me a second chance, and I wish to dedicate my life to living that out that chance and not just talking about it."
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