According to a bombshell new report from the New York Times, many of the high-profile volunteers who have flocked to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, and taken pains to document their adventures on social media, in the process accumulating massive followings and raking in millions in donations, have now been outed as liars, frauds and worse.
Included in the Times story are high profile social media star James Vasquez and MSNBC contributor Malcom Nance.
In addition an investigation that is being conducted by the federal government of the United States into the possible unlawful transfer of military technology is focusing on a former Marine lieutenant colonel from the state of Virginia.
The New York Times examined more than one hundred pages of papers obtained from within volunteer groups and conducted interviews with more than thirty individuals, including combatants, fundraisers, funders, as well as officials from the United States and Ukraine during the investigation, which ultimately revealed a massive web of fraud and deception.
James Vasquez is widely recognized as one of the most notable Americans serving on the front lines. Vasquez, a home-improvement contractor from Connecticut, made the announcement that he was traveling for Ukraine just a few days after the invasion.
The man’s hometown newspaper recounted the story Vasquez told about himself: one of a former staff sergeant in the United States Army who deserted his job and family to take up a gun and a knapsack on the front lines of the conflict.
In point of fact, according to a representative for the U.S. Military, Vasquez was never sent to Kuwait, Iraq, or any other location.
He was an expert in repairing both fuel and electrical systems and never saw combat. Yet despite his assertions to the contrary, he departed the Army Reserve not as a sergeant but as a private first class, which is one of the Army’s lowest positions.
When confronted about the deception, Vasquez admitted that he had been lying about his service background for a for years.
In addition Vasquez is accused of raising up to three million dollars which he alleged would be used to fund the Ukrainian military, but which he now appears to have absconded with.
Vasquez had become a star on social media, being promoted by the likes of former Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
Malcolm Nance, a former Navy cryptologist who now works as a pundit on MSNBC, traveled to Ukraine last year and devised a strategy to try and bring order to the volunteer Legion.
Instead, he got himself entangled in the mayhem.
As of right now, Nance is embroiled in an ugly and distracting power struggle with other factions of volunteers for control and influence over the volunteer Legion.
He made the accusation of fraud against a fundraising organization that supports Ukraine but provided no evidence.
In addition, Nance filed a “counterintelligence” report in an attempt to get two Legion officials fired after getting into an argument with them.
At the heart of that study is the allegation that a Legion employee named Emese Abigail Fayk attempted to purchase a property on an Australian reality TV show using fake money that she did not actually possess.
He accused her of being “a possible Russian agent,” but he provided no real proof to support his claim.
Fayk has continued to serve with the Legion while denying the claims.
Nance has moved on from Ukraine, but she is still raising money with a new coalition of accomplices.
Ben Lackey, who is one of them, used to be a member of the Legion, and appears to also be a fraud.
Lackey claims to have formerly been marine but when a reporter for the Times contacted the Pentagon they found no records of him ever having served.
However it appears Lackey’s lies didn’t stop there. On LinkedIn, he stated that he had most recently worked as an assistant manager at LongHorn Steakhouse. In point of fact, he merely worked as a server, the steakhouse said.