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Cops: Fraudster posed as wounded military vet -- again

DULUTH -- Investigators believe a fraudster with a penchant for posing as a wounded military veteran has struck again, this time at a Duluth church.

The same man preyed on the patriotism of officials at a V.F.W. Post in Roswell last year, police said.

Duluth police have charged Michael Allen Bradshaw, 33, with theft by deception for allegedly holding himself out as a wounded veteran to Korean Church of Atlanta officials on Jan. 15. Bradshaw remained at large Thursday. He's listed as as resident of Rossville, a suburb of Chattanooga.

Bradshaw came to the Duluth church asking for help getting his life together. He met with a church official in the lobby and spun an elaborate story, according to a Duluth police report.

Bradshaw reportedly became emotional in recalling how he was a U.S. Army veteran who'd been injured along with his sergeant in Baghdad when their Humvee ran over a roadside bomb. Bradshaw claimed he'd just been released from a VA hospital in Texas, and lifted a pant leg to show "some bruising and cut marks." He claimed to have a wife and baby daughter and an out-of-state job waiting "260 miles away," the church official told police.

Bradshaw reportedly showed a birth certificate, Tennessee drivers license and Social Security form, which the official made a copy of before handing over $100 and a $100 Kroger gift card.

Bradshaw then wrote and signed a letter stating he'd be back two weeks later to reimburse the church. Later that day, church officials found news stories on the Internet about his Roswell arrest last year and called police.

According to Roswell police, Bradshaw deceived leaders of V.F.W. Post 7583 in June using the same modus operandi, walking away with $350. He also falsified documents applying for admittance to the V.F.W. Post and an affidavit requesting money for a Purple Heart, police said.

A manager there grew suspicious of Bradshaw and ordered his military records, finding that Bradshaw was discharged from the Army in May 2001 for misconduct, having never served in Iraq and never being wounded, Roswell police said.

Roswell police arrested Bradshaw on charges of theft by deception. By the end of June, he was released from the Fulton County Jail.