Steven Jay Russell
Guy Lochhead, 30/08/10
American con artist and impostor. Steven Jay Basham was adopted into a conservative family at birth. In the ‘70s, he used his position as a deputy police officer to try to find his real parents. He lost his job and conned his way into a job as a sales manager. He lost his job when it was revealed he was homosexual. He was arrested on lewd behaviour charges at a Houston cruising spot, and this began his decline into criminal behaviour. He has impersonated numerous people, and had at least 14 known aliases. He has been arrested and jailed multiple times, and managed to escape, but has recently been handed a 144-year jail sentence. Russell’s escapes are ingenious and incredible. Whether his conduct was/is right or wrong, his initial arrest was based on homophobia and thoughtless protocol, so I am more sympathetic to his later actions than I would perhaps be for other impersonators. He recognises and exploits cracks in the legal system for his own good. I will not include him, but I recognise the cause of his actions.

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