America’s Got Talent: Tim Poe a Fraud?

Remember Tim Poe, the stuttering soldier from last night’s America’s Got Talent? He claimed he was hit in the ear with an RPG and sustained brain damage that caused him to stutter?

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting on the story. Read it Here.

“Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports,” Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.

Olson noted that Poe did not receive the Purple Heart, which is given to those who are injured in enemy combat. Poe didn’t claim he had received the award.

“We looked very closely at his record,” Olson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “We did not find something to substantiate what he said.”

An NBC spokeswoman said the network and Poe had no comment.

Reportedly some members of his unit are calling him a fraud. A military blogger, This Ain’t Hell, verified a “statement” from the Minnesota National Guard, that Tim served, but was not injured by a grenade nor was awarded a purple heart.  Check out the comments on this Facebook page. IDK.

STATEMENT FROM THE MINNESOTA NATIONAL GUARD

~~ Attributable to Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, Spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard ~~

Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe served in the Minnesota Army National Guard from Dec. 3, 2002 until May 26, 2011, and performed as a supply specialist.

His military records indicate that he served with the Minnesota National Guard in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 until July 15, 2008, and was deployed to Afghanistan from July 28, 2009 to Aug. 30, 2009.

Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports. The Minnesota National Guard can also confirm that he was not awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in combat.

If this story is true, there should be some sort of major statement from the military soon. If not, I’m calling this a rumor that got out of hand.

  • Anonymous

    Golly! I was  overwhelmed by  Sg. Poe’s  gut-wrenching story of survival; and he sang that tear-jerker ‘if tomorrow never comes’ fairly well. With the military being my heros, I made up my mind he should win, no matter how good anyone else is. Bias, I know, but his story was that touching! I hope it wasn’t all a lie…that would be the utmost in  being disgusting! 

  • tomr

    That stuttering wasn’t faked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552146216 Shair Shamsuddin

    The question is… If he did not got injured from that RPG, so what makes him to talk stutter like that? Did he fake it as well? Did AGT knew about this beforehand? :/ I was really convince on what they were saying about him on FB. Keep up with the updates MJ. There are so many questions that are left unjustified

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Interesting development. I hope that it’s not true that he lied, but sometimes people will resort to any kind of deception for money and fame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1403015987 Sharon Ulrich Davis

    I’ve done some searching and from all appearances, he’s a liar.  Several of the ones who served in his unit have said so.  He was only there 3-4 weeks and went home with an ear infection.  The MN National Guard has issued a statement saying the same thing the guys are saying.  This is sickening. 
     

  • steph6449

    Didn’t watch the show but interesting if any of that is accurate. 

    What catches my eye is that he was deployed to Afghanistan for barely a month? Not at all typical. If he was injured in the line of duty while serving overseas in a campaign theater, then of course big shame on whoever is saying he wasn’t.

    But — if he wasn’t injured, and those dates are correct — quite possibly a good chance there was some other kind of incident or situation where he got shipped home early without the rest of his unit. 

    And if he wasn’t injured but is claiming to have received a Purple Heart, ugh. Though you read about people who will say stuff like that with no reality to it, sometimes getting away with it for many years before something trips them up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1403015987 Sharon Ulrich Davis

    There’s a group on FaceBook that outs fakes making military claims that aren’t true.  He’s being discussed on there today.  It’s called Stolen Valor.

  • steph6449

    Reading some of the FB comments, hmm. They sound fairly authentic to me, and there are a lot of them refuting him with no one claiming to know him who is defending him.

    If the allegations are right, ugh ugh ugh to his phony story of being a wounded veteran.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    The Washington Post has picked up the AP story:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/minn-national-guard-no-records-support-americas-got-talent-singers-combat-injuries-claim/2012/06/05/gJQAx7G9GV_story.html

    Minn. National Guard: No records support ‘America’s Got Talent’ singer’s combat injuries claim

    By Associated Press,
    Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 9:41 PM
    ………
    According to military records, Poe served with the Minnesota Army
    National Guard from December 2002 through May 2011, working as a supply
    specialist. Records show he was deployed in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 to
    July 15, 2008, and then served in Afghanistan for about a month in
    2009.
    “Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that
    he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in
    2009, as he reports,” Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the
    Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.
    Olson noted that
    Poe did not receive the Purple Heart, which is given to those who are
    injured in enemy combat. Poe didn’t claim he had received the award.

    “We looked very closely at his record,” Olson said in a telephone
    interview with The Associated Press. “We did not find something to
    substantiate what he said.”
    Neither Poe nor NBC returned telephone messages from the AP on Tuesday.
    …….

  • http://twitter.com/Miztig Miz

    http://www.agtnews.com/controversy-soldiers-say-war-hero-tim-poe-is-a-fraud

    has what appears to be an official statement from the National Guard.

    Not true, according to an official statement from the National Guard spokesperson Kevin Olson:

    Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe served in the Minnesota Army National Guard from
    Dec. 3, 2002 until May 26, 2011, and performed as a supply specialist.    His military records indicate that he served with the Minnesota National
    Guard in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 until July 15, 2008, and was deployed to
    Afghanistan from July 28, 2009 to Aug. 30, 2009.     Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by agrenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports.  TheMinnesota National Guard can also confirm that he was not awarded the PurpleHeart Medal for wounds sustained in combat.

  • Incipit

    This is more than ugh, and disgusting. IMO.

    If it is proven that he lied about the Purple Heart – he’s in some serious shit. Under General Military Law (§§ 101–2925), :

    (b)
    False Claims About Receipt of Military Decorations or Medals.—
    Whoever falsely represents himself or
    herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or
    medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States,
    any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such
    forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or
    medal, or any colorable imitation of such item shall be fined under
    this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

    HERE

    The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 also covers this situation. I would not be inclined to be lenient.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “And if he wasn’t injured but is claiming to have received a Purple Heart, ugh.”

    According to the AP report, Poe didn’t claim to have received the Purple Heart, but if he really had been injured as he said, then his records would have shown that he received this award, which is given to anyone injured or killed while serving.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Heart

    ETA: I just watched the AGT video again:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KDZrpT0KbQ&

    Poe recounts the details of how he became injured, but he doesn’t say that he received the Purple Heart.

  • http://twitter.com/Miztig Miz

    I was feeling bad last night because I wasn’t buying his story and I didn’t think he should have been put through based on his talent. I suppose I should feel vindicated, but I just feel bad about all the people he duped and the dishonor it brings to those who honorably serve.

  • Incipit

     

    “According to the AP report, Poe didn’t claim to have received the Purple Heart…”

    Ah. I see, fuzzywuzzy. It appears he stopped short of a prosecutable offense.

    As you say, if he was injured as he said, there would be one…didn’t that lack send up any signals to the Background Checkers at AGT? (rhetorical question)

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Poe said that he was from San Antonio, yet he was in the Minnesota National Guard? Has he been dishonest about that too?  It’s hard to believe that he would go on a television show watched by millions, lie about his backstory and not realize that he would be exposed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1403015987 Sharon Ulrich Davis

    At a charity event for wounded vets that he participated in recently, where he also told his lies, he said he was cut in Vegas.  He told the reporter it was because the people at AGT told him they didn’t want another male singer to win this year.  BULL, if that is what they want, they sure as hell wouldn’t tell a contestant their plans.

  • steph6449

    Is he still in the military under any kind of status? 

    If so, there are other charges and penalties they could certainly toss his way. And should, even if he was new in the military and very junior.

    Where he seems actually to have been in the Army for a good number of years, and to have reached the rank of some kind of sergeant (there are several grades of “sergeants”). Even at the lowest sergeant grade he would be considered a non-commissioned officer and held to a higher standard for conduct and integrity than an entry-level recruit.

    And how do we know if he claimed having won a Purple Heart or not. Just based on what was aired on the show? He probably filled out paperwork and had background interviews, and if he lied to the show, he may have been lying in other situations before the show as well.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least—I was skeptical about this overly-dramatic backstory and I’m also skeptical about the Marilyn Manson opera singer tonight who has never performed in front of one person and has had no formal training.

    I suspect that Poe was not alone in the deception if proven that his story was false. It seems TPTB would want to help shape the drama somehow for the ratings…and I’m not just talking about AGT.

  • steph6449

    I think it only brings dishonor on himself, not on anyone who did serve honorably.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “And how do we know if he claimed having won a Purple Heart or not. Just
    based on what was aired on the show? He probably filled out paperwork
    and had background interviews, and if he lied to the show, he may have
    been lying in other situations before the show as well.”

    All totally possible. I was just going by what the AP report stated (that Poe had not claimed to have received a Purple Heart), and that he wasn’t shown claiming that on the show.

  • steph6449

    Vs. whether he claimed he had a decoration he wasn’t entitled to, it’s really the most disgusting to me that he claimed to be wounded in a campaign theater, and (apparently) wasn’t. 

    Even more so when he (apparently) didn’t even serve out more than a fraction of his deployment tour, getting himself shipped out after a few weeks under dubious circumstances.

    disclosure: former Army officer, not liking this story. At all. lol.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I agree, and he did portray himself as a hero in being injured.  Here are a few comments from facebook about Poe:

    Alyssa Graham: ”Tim Poe deployed with us to Afghanistan, everything that he is claiming
    that had happened to him NEVER happened to him. He was not in Afganistan very long and was sent home for an ear infection, he never got hurt overseas. He is lying to America. This is such a disgrace to the military and everyone who has fought, is still fighting and who has died for this country.”

    Joshua Hansen: i was his squad leader in afghanistan and its all a giant lie. He has fooled alot of people and i dont blame them for beleaving him after all who would make something like this up? Im sorry people but its true poe is not being honest. He served his country that is true but was medevac out bc of a non combat “injury”

    Nathan Skol Vikings Lee: I was in the 114th Trans Company as well in Afghanistan and I too will say the Timothy Poe is a LIAR! We had about 120 people in our unit, 118 can prove he is a liar! Only one’s who can’t are Poe and our one true hero who was killed there, George Cauley.

    http://www.agtnews.com/controversy-soldiers-say-war-hero-tim-poe-is-a-fraud

  • Incipit

    “disclosure: former Army officer, not liking this story. At all. lol.”

    Gotcha, steph6449 – My own disclosure, Double AF Dependent, my Dad and my late DH. I don’t like the story at all, either.  If it is true, he ought not ‘ever’ benefit from such opportunism. I sincerely hope someone follows up on it.

  • Anonymous

    He sang pleasantly enough, which is more than some others do.  But maybe his real talent is stuttering. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    It would be stupid enough if he thought nobody would discover next day, as it would be stupid enouh if his fiance didn’t know anything/agreed to participate in this fraud as it would be even more stupid if AGT didn’t do a research about his past. 3 amazingly stupid things just going on together. Impossible? Apparently this is what happened. Maybe AGT thought this scandal would bring attention, therefore ratings. Maybe they’re preparing a dramatic segment where he’s gonna be “Jermainized” on Vegas week. Who knows? Gonna be fun to watch and see what happens.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t believe opera guy either. NO ONE has ever heard him sing? Where did he learn to sing opera? Was he raised by/with the family in the audience? Too many unanswered questions.

  • Anonymous

    Why would someone try to fake this stuff???  I do not get that at all. eta: That’s so dumb.

  • Anonymous

    I do not get anyone trying to gain something on false pretenses.  That’s worth a big zero, imo. 

  • Anonymous

    He can’t be very bright if he didn’t think his story would be discredited.

    And lying about being injured in combat? Not cool. That’s disrespectful to all the people who actually have been killed or wounded serving their country.

  • Devin Harper

    You mean that I was moved by a phony? Tim Poe you had me rooting for you and I really really liked you. You have a lot of talent and thought you were great in your audition.

    But it appears that you lied about being injured in combat and IMO that is a no-no. To proclaim yourself as some sort of hero when you are not, and  when there are actual heroes out there actually dying and sustaining injuries beyond a stutter, is incredibily shameful and insulting. I really hope you were sincere, but if you are not, I want you off America’s Got Talent ASAP assuming you made it past the  Vegas rounds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552146216 Shair Shamsuddin

    So it concludes that he is a FRAUD!! 

    People have been skeptical about this show lately..For example, Jackie Evancho, The viewers think that she had lip-sync or mimic on her 1st live show. I think about Andrew never had a formal training is true. Singing is something when a person is naturally gifted, even he/she never really had a formal training. We heard it many, many, many singers said it on singing shows

  • Anonymous

     “You mean that I was moved by a phony? Tim Poe you had me rooting for you
    and I really really liked you. You have a lot of talent and thought you
    were great in your audition.”

    It often seems as if con men/women *sound* more convincing than honest people telling similar stories, doesn’t it? Guess they manage to tell us what we want to hear in the way we want to hear it.

    Despicable that the show didn’t vet this particular tale or, if they did, that they first aired it and planned to refute it only after the fact or something. Wonder what they’ll do now.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Now it appears that Tim lied about not having sung before. 

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.299264553496482.66696.194891727267099&type=1

    ETA: Comments about Tim from his ex-wife:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/talented_liar_dEG81EH8MkLd30jbOGfx8I

    Poe’s ex-wife, Kelly Ballard, said she has never heard her former spouse stutter like he did on the show.

    “There were no combat injuries,” said Ballard from her Texas home. “I think he developed a ‘feel sorry for me’ stutter.”
    …………
    He claimed that had he not been injured, he might never have discovered his singing voice. But Ballard said years earlier, he was the lead singer in a band called “Crawlspace.”

    Also, now a statement from AGT:

    Show producers said they first learned only yesterday that Poe had been lying.

    Poe could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    More comments from Poe’s ex-wife here:

    http://www.agtnews.com/exclusive-tim-poes-wife-says-he-is-a-deadbeat-cheater-and-abusive?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=exclusive-tim-poes-wife-says-he-is-a-deadbeat-cheater-and-abusive

    Kelly Ballard — an Air Force veteran — says Tim, 35, even got another woman pregnant while she was deployed for ten months to Iraq in 2003!

    “He ended up marrying her,” she tells AGTNews.com. “They got divorced in March of this year.”
    …………….
    “My son (Isaac) is 11,” she says. “He knows everything out of (Tim’s) mouth is a lie.”

    Ballard says she caught her husband cheating in 1991 and after that the relationship headed straight down hill. “I had him arrested in June 2002 for domestic violence. After that, he vanished to Minnesota. He didn’t help out with our son at all.”

    She also claims Poe has lied about his education.

    “The whole time I have known him, I have never known him to be enrolled in any college,” she tells us. “There is a possibility he may have an associates degree from before I met him. On his Facebook page he says he has a Masters degree in project management.”

    Oh, and that bit about how he never sang before a speech patholigist suggested it to help with the brain injury?

    B.S., she says: he was the lead singer of a band in Rochester, Minnesota for four years.

    So far, Poe has still declined to make any comments to the press.

  • steph6449

    From comments at that Stolen Valor site:

    You Served Radio got an exclusive interview with Poe tonight. He has admitted to lying about receiving a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He also admitted to embellishing about the RPG incident, but still insists it happened. The entire show is well worth listening to, but Poe’s interview begins at about 105:51. 

    Timothy Poe gives an Interview….. around the 106 minute mark they interview him….

    around 115 min mark he admits he “embellished” his story and that there was innacurate information given because he wanted to be “cool”

    Link provided for the radio show.

    The interviewer says if Poe produces the documentation he claims he has, they will put it on the You Served Radio blog.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Next we’ll find out that he’s actually a woman. Or a dog.

    Guess they don’t vet *anything* on AGT.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Thanks for posting that interview. Tim says that “it may not have happened exactly as I said”. Thanks, Tim. “Embellished” = “lying” = cool? Oh, sure. Tim is really trying to cover his ass in this interview and is still trying to manipulate his way out of admitting that he outright lied.

    “The interviewer says if Poe produces the documentation he claims he has, they will put it on the You Served Radio blog.”

    I’m not going to hold my breath that Tim comes up with that documentation.  ;)

    ETA: When asked about who Tim was with when he sustained his “percussion” injury who could vouch for him, Tim only talks about people that he told about his injury and is vague and evasive about who he was actually with who could corroborate his story.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Now that AGT has publicly admitted that they were unaware that Tim had lied, the show has formally disavowed Tim, so he’s on his own.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/AdorablyHooked Gwen

    Disgusting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KZJY2DIO5QJOF5A4JLBDIZMLRM Jeremy G

    It’s a talent competition, not a morality competition.

  • Anonymous

    It is so sad how people jump to conclusion’s and believe what they see or read on the news. I watch American’s got talented and this young man had a noticeable gate in his walk and had noticeable speech impairment. He also only served about a month of his tour in Afghanistan. To come back to the states early he had to be injured. There is no way that his was faked. But not all injury’s that happen in a war zone are put in a personal record. It is more likely in his Medical Records. Also not everyone gets a purple heart if they are injured in a war zone. I know allot of men that have been injured in Vietnam and Irac and Afghanistan that have not received purple hearts. 

  • steph6449

    If you listen to the radio interview I posted, and that mj has linked in the newer thread, Poe admits that he misrepresented himself, at a military event, as having a Purple Heart and Bronze Star that he doesn’t hold.

    While I don’t disagree that there may be cases where some veteran is trying to get their military records updated or whatever, in this case the guy clearly seems to have fibbed / embroidered / exaggerated / lied his ass off, about the awards. Which doesn’t impress me much in accepting any of the rest of his story.

    He seems to have definitely given the impression of limping and stuttering on the tv show. The case seems to be why.

    As a former military officer, and still working in a military environment, also I can say pretty definitively that there are absolutely other reasons someone might be shipped home from an overseas deployment besides injuries taken under hostile fire. With not a few of those reasons being unfavorable to the individual involved.

    It feels to me as if that was what was going on here. But may be his ear infection was in all reality so debilitating and untreatable that he couldn’t make himself useful as a supply specialist to his unit. Doubtful. But possible, I suppose.