Tuesday, July 10, 2012

'Bamboozled and flustered' - impostor angers bikers

You've probably seen his picture in biker lifestyle magazines' coverage of rallies coast to coast.

Be it on the sands of Daytona, the Black Hills of Sturgis, or the sunny slopes of the southern California hills, the man the world knew as Eugene Paull posed on his hawg as a hero of the Vietnam war.

The bike was festooned with rockets, hand grenades and machine guns, and he kept a sign handy that said “$1 to photograph the bike, $5 to take a picture with it, and $10 to take one sitting on it...”

The money?

Authorities who came to bust he and his Jamaican girlfriend one day last March at his home in Tampa estimated that of the $100,000 he raised and promised to homeless veterans, only about $1,300 ever found its way into the troubled lives of the men and women who trudge America's streets with no home in sight.

But what a home it was where he and Subrena Spence ruled over a house equipped with a dozen video surveillance cameras, a secret bunker equipped with firearms and explosives, and the beginnings of an escape tunnel leading away from the property.

Federal authorities acted on a tip that Mr. Paull and Ms. Spence were using the names of dead people as assumed false identities in their quest for riches from illegal drugs smuggled from the island republic of Jamaica.

In a 33-year career as an impostor, the Army veteran allegedly trafficked in contraband and lived it up in two Tampa area homes, cruising on a 47-foot yacht, riding a pair of custom motorcycles, and driving three vehicles.

Inside the bunker, the SWAT team found about $20,000 in cash, a fraction of what they took in another arrest when they discovered $90,000 stashed in gas cans with false bottoms.

To avoid prison time, the couple forfeited all their assets of more than $1 million; immigration officials deported Ms. Spence to her island home of Jamaica, and Mr. Paull now lives on probation in the Miami area.

Said Bryan Harley, cruiser editor of Motorcycles-USA, who once wrote Mr. Paull up as a colorful hero, “I've been bilked. Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. Had the proverbial wool pulled over my eyes...”

Wonder when he's going to tell us what he really thinks... 

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