Phony General Gets 15 Months in Psychiatric Hospital
Oct. 10, 1989
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A con man who wooed women with false tales of his exploits as the nation's youngest major general and his work for the CIA was sentenced to 15 months' psychiatric treatment in a prison hospital today.
U.S. District Judge Earl E. O'Connor ordered Robert S. Lyons, 35, to undergo treatment at a medical center in Springfield, Mo., or Rochester, Minn.
Lyons was also fined $500 and placed on probation for one year. He faced up to three years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Lyons pleaded guilty in July to falsely impersonating a federal officer.
''I'm sorry for this episode and the entire train of events,'' the water purification salesman told the judge. He said he had repeatedly sought counseling.
Authorities said Lyons showed acquaintances a publication called the Pentagon Gazette with a cover picture of him in an Army shirt with general's stars. The newsletter claimed to be a special-edition tribute to one of ''Washington's well-known, best-kept secrets.''
His guilty plea was in connection with a story he had told a girlfriend - that he was an Army general working for the CIA and the National Security Council and that he needed $1,000 to get out of the CIA. The woman gave him a check Jan. 31.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Patton said Lyons' tale came unraveled when Lyons told his girlfriend that he had been convicted in the Iran-Contra arms deal, had lost his military retirement and that because of the possibility of terrorist attack he was under the protection of the Secret Service.
The government found out about Lyons when the woman contacted the Secret Service to check the story, Patton said.
The prosecutor said Lyons did serve in the Army and was given an honorable discharge as a private.