Afghan Shooter Robert Bales Previously Defrauded Ohio Couple

Ohio-born Bales.
  • Ohio-born Bales.

When news hit Ohio that one of the state's native sons was the U.S. soldier behind the alleged massacre of 16 Afghan civilians on March 11 — a piece of extremism that's pretty much dropped the 11-year war effort to an all-time, My Lai low — grief and shock were among the grab bag of emotions on the home front. (Not to mention a
lot of heavy breathing from certain TV stations, the ones who airlifted TV crews to Brunswick in order find out why someone from Northeast Ohio would pull the trigger on a group of civilians, when, in fact, not only was Brunswick never confirmed as the shooter's hometown, it was incorrect. But we digress.)

The accused solider — 38-year-old Sgt. Robert Bales — doesn't currently live in the Buckeye State. But he was born and raised in Norwood, outside Cincinnati; since the government released the shooter's name, the small town has been ground zero as the media shakes down Bales' bio for clues to the alleged atrocity. As the New York Times reported in lengthy story over the weekend, many remember Bales as charming jock, a “well-regarded” “solid-guy” who joined the military in his late 20s after September 11th.

But that Golden Boy back story some grit on it, according to new reports. Before joining the Army in 2001, Bales had a previous life as a financial adviser, a career that crash landed in 2000 when an elderly Ohio couple accused him of bilking them out of almost a million dollars. Although no criminal charges were filed in the case, a hefty judgment did land on Bales' back — possibly contributing to the vague “financial pressures” reports guesstimate may have contributed his bad mental state.

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