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Imposter pleads guilty

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Imposter pleads guilty



Imposter William Douglas Street pleaded guilty this morning to criminal charges which could bring him up to 24 years in prison.

Street, who authorities say posed as a University of Michigan law student, displayed a bit of his legal knowledge as he stood this morning before Circuit Court Judge Henry T. Conlin.

‘‘Your honor,” he began, “I am not a lawyer, but I have had some opportunity to do legal research.”

Street, an expert imposter for the past 14 years, asked that he be sentenced immediately and requested Conlin to waive the requirement of a pre-sentencing report.

Conlin informed Street that it would be against the law to waive the pre-sentence report, but Street politely disagreed.

Street cited two cases when the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that defendants could choose, to waive the pre-sentence report. So Conlin instructed that Street share the legal research with his attorney.

A public defender had been appointed to represent Street. The lawyer was prepared to enter a not guilty plea for Street, but Street said he wanted to plead guilty.

First, he pleaded guilty to uttering a publishing (cashing) a forged check, a criminal violation which could bring him up to 14 years in prison. Street also pleaded guilty to obtaining more than $100 under false pretenses, an offense which carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years. That charge relates to a student loan Street allegedly obtained from the U-M Law School under another student’s name.

Charges of check forgery, carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, were dropped in return for a guilty plea on the uttering and publishing charge.

Street is a convicted felon and two-time escapee from Southern Michigan Prison at Jackson.

Street spent several months in Ann Arbor last year, posing as a U-M law student. In years past, he has successfully posed as a doctor, professional athlete, student and military officer.

His most celebrated stunt was in 1971, when he won a tryout with the Detroit Tigers by pretending to be Jerry LeVias, at the time a star wide receiver for the Houston Oilers.

Street told the judge that, while in Ann Arbor last year, he stole two or three checks from a law student with whom he shared an apartment. He then forged the checks while his roommate, law student Daniel Schnee was out of town.

Street also told the judge he posed as Schnee in order to fraudently obtain an $800 loan from U-M Law School.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 1.