The Player.
June 8, 2013 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Wow. I had a friend many years ago who had made up a whole life story for herself when she ran away from home at about 16. I knew her when we were both working for an investment bank in the 80s. She was called to testify before a grand jury during all of the white collar banking investigations and the prosecuting AUSA didn't like her responses and eventually charged her with perjury. As was revealed over time, her suspect statements before the grand jury were true, but the prosecution got a guilty verdict by asking her on the stand about her past life, education, etc., and her responses comprised her made up persona, easily refuted. She went to prison for it and, together with her halfway house period, did more time than Ivan Boesky. I always thought that was sad.

There have been a number of people in my life with elaborate back stories that are entirely fictitious. I've always wondered whether that indicates a large percentage of Walter Mitty's in our midst or whether I'm simply a magnet for the type. I do seem to have an unusual aptness at entering into other people's realiy. :-)
posted by janey47 at 10:59 PM on June 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

Interesting story, but ouch, the tone! This guy is a journalist like Montaous is a baseball player. Even a conman like Wilson doesn't deserve a story written in such an infuriatingly condescending tone.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 PM on June 8, 2013 [6 favorites]

Not sure where you're getting that from. I found it gentle and wry, sort of admiring of his chutzpah. In fact, he seems sort of fascinated by the guy.
posted by dhartung at 12:13 AM on June 9, 2013 [11 favorites]

This was a great story. If you don't like the journalist's style, you've got to appreciate he did a huge amount of legwork.
It made me think of the Masal Bugduv affair: a soccer player, supposedly a 16 year old prodigy playing in the top division in Moldova, who ended up featured in The Times (amongst others) in a list of top prospects and was linked with a transfer to Arsenal. The only problem was he didn't exist, and was a completely manufactured hoax designed to catch out journalists who are constantly scouring the internet for scouting reports for their 'hot-new-thing' articles and have a perpetual need to create transfer tarradiddle to fill column inches.
posted by hydatius at 2:25 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Go Montaous Walton! Be as fake as the sports you try to defraud.
posted by telstar at 2:59 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I knew a couple of people in my life with "obvious tells" like Wilson's laugh. The one that springs to mine is someone very close to me who always used to bite their lip EVERY TIME they were lying. Interestingly, even after this was pointed out to them multiple times they continued with the same compulsive tell. Maybe a psychologist could put a name on it, but I find that disturbing level of "lack of self-awareness/control" pretty alarming in people.
posted by eparchos at 4:02 AM on June 9, 2013

Montaous needs to stop posting on this board as Anonymous.

By the way, his court case hearing is July 15.
posted by dhartung at 4:12 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Slightly reminiscent of this earlier FPP about Walter Mitty cricketer Adrian Shankar, who, in my favourite ever Mefi sentence, "blagged his way into an embarrassed Worcester side" in 2011.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:36 AM on June 9, 2013

Interesting story, but it's written and reads like the novelization of a kids' movie about a talking pig.
posted by item at 4:46 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agreed. It makes Wilson sound like a character in a Brer Rabbit story. Which doesn't exactly do anything to alleviate the tone of race and class condescension emanating off this piece.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:49 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

MoonOrb, his name is Walton, not Wilson.
posted by item at 5:08 AM on June 9, 2013

[Corrected; thanks!]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:52 AM on June 9, 2013

What a horribly written article.
posted by gyc at 6:31 AM on June 9, 2013

I found this article to be a better read: Who is Montaous Walton? More journalistic in tone, less of this poor attempt at creative nonfiction.
posted by graymouser at 6:55 AM on June 9, 2013

One of the kids I grew up with is currently playing in an MLB farm system. The realities of his life as a AAA ballplayer ar so far removed from the made-up life Walton crafted for himself, It's a wonder that anyone even remotely associated with the game believed any of it.

I currently own my own business, and there will be times when I'll be sitting out front talking to some random person and they'll ask what I do for a living. And I always feel weird saying, "I own this right here" because really, a person could go stand in front of any small business, and claim to be the owner of it. I think the reason people always seem to believe me has something to do with the response I usually get. 9 times out of 10 they want to know how I got started, and then they tell me of their ideas for having their own business.

People believe because they want a bit of it for themselves. Which obviously is what keeps Nigerian email scammers in business, but is fascinating in cases like this because it originates not out of a desire to defraud others, but to mask some sort of internal dissatisfaction.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:13 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Interesting story, but it's written and reads like the novelization of a kids' movie about a talking pig.

Some pig!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:01 AM on June 9, 2013

He's not done lying; his laughter is a tell.
posted by Renoroc at 11:55 AM on June 9, 2013

Wow, this is just sad on many levels. That a guy who's apparently not very bright and cannot write for shit managed to at least somewhat pull this kind of scam repeatedly for so long and anyone at all bought it. That a guy who is apparently the worst baseball player on the planet doesn't get that and won't let it go. Just...oy.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:50 PM on June 9, 2013

Here's an awkward, unintentionally-Between-Two-Ferns-style interview with Walton from last October, months after this article was written and he'd been arrested, charged, and convicted. He's selling the same lies about training camp in Florida and stealing 22 bases and the rest of the bullshit, and it's glaringly apparent that the interviewer is either in on the lie or else has absolutely no idea how to use Google. Walton laughs quite a bit, and he also fidgets when it's obvious (if you've read the articles about him and possibly even if you haven't) that he's lying out his sorry lying ass.

It's definitely interesting to see him in action and that he's still up to his old tricks, though he's more pathetic than ever now that he's not only been outed but that he's far too old to begin any kind of career as a ballplayer.
posted by item at 4:35 PM on June 9, 2013

Oh, and thanks for this post, MoonOrb. I don't follow oddball sports stories nearly as much as I'd like to because I don't really follow any sports stories, so I likely would've missed this - doubly so as the bulk of the action took place a year ago, though the fact that it appears he's still at it adds an extra dramatic sheen to it all.
posted by item at 4:41 PM on June 9, 2013

item, he has not been convicted; he entered a guilty plea in January, but is in a deferred prosecution program, so his case remains open. Also, "this article" (the one on sbnation) is brand new.

More journalistic in tone, less of this poor attempt at creative nonfiction.

It's magazine writing. Feature writing. It isn't a wire service article in AP Style, for pity's sake.
posted by dhartung at 6:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh huh. Why did I think that this (from the SN Nation article):
Walton was charged with two counts of theft by fraud, one a Class I felony and faced up to three years in jail and $10,000 in fines. After several court hearings that stretched over several months, he accepted a deal. As long as he meets several conditions laid out by the court, including community service and paying restitution, the charges will be classified as “Not Processed.”

meant his court date had come and gone? I must be missing something here. And yeah, the SBN article was recent, but aside from the update as to Walton's legal status (which I stuck in blockquotes a few lines up) and the question-dodging sort-of new interview, it really doesn't cover much that the year-old OnMilwaukee article doesn't.
posted by item at 10:39 PM on June 9, 2013

...and I do realize I mispoke when I said he'd been convicted. He apparently had not been convicted, he's accepted a deal that could lead to some sort of deferred adjudication.
posted by item at 10:41 PM on June 9, 2013

it really doesn't cover much that the year-old OnMilwaukee article doesn't.

IT'S A MAGAZINE ART .... oh, fuck it. Just, the news is not a goddamned database, for pity's sake.


State of Wisconsin vs. Montaous D Walton
Milwaukee County Case Number 2012CF002836


Deferred prosecution agreement hearing

Defendant Montaous D Walton in court with attorney Neil C McGinn. Warren D Zier appeared for the State of Wisconsin. As to Count 1: Defendant was advised of constitution rights and maximum penalties, waived all rights and pled GUILTY to the Amended Information. Defendant examined as to the plea. Plea Questionnaire/Waiver of Rights and Addendum received and filed. Stipulation by parties to complaint as a factual basis to sustain the guilty plea. Court found the defendant guilty. Court WITHHELD entry of judgment of conviction. Deferred Prosecution Agreement received, signed and filed. Count 2: Dismissed and read-in. Court ordered case adjourned for review hearing on APRIL 16, 2013, 8:30am; verify community service. kmw


Defendant Montaous D Walton in court with attorney Neil C McGinn. David Malone appeared for the State of Wisconsin. Based upon the defendant's compliance with DPA, matter adjourned for final review hearing in Branch 34 on JULY 15, 2013, 8:30AM. kmw

Deferred prosecution means the case is on hold until whatever conditions in the agreement are met, or unmet. I'd hope that Lindsay Lohan has fully educated the public on how this works.
posted by dhartung at 4:00 AM on June 11, 2013

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