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Man Poses as Dead War Hero to Meet Girls on Facebook

If you're a spectacularly average guy looking for love on Facebook, you could spend some time meticulously crafting your profile with Photoshopped self-shots, or quirky interests, in an attempt to make yourself seem more handsome and/or interesting than you really are. Or, if you have absolutely no soul whatsoever, you could just pretend that you're a dead soldier, and use someone else's heroism as your digital pick-up line.

That, believe it or not, is the exact tactic that a guy known as "Dylan Sorvino" employed to "meet" several women on Facebook. Instead of filling out his profile with information about himself, Sorvino assumed the identity of Sgt. Roberto Sanchez (pictured), a 24-year-old Army Ranger who, in 2009, was killed in Afghanistan after five tours of duty. (Sanchez was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.) The impostor collected photos of the soldier to use as profile pictures, and even advertised himself as a chiseled guy that grew up in New York, studied law, and joined the Army to fight for his country in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With his disguise intact, Sorvino would then play poker on Facebook, looking to friend female players. Upon making a connection, the fraud would use his false military credentials to start online affairs. After months of courtship, he would typically write about his impending deployment, which provided him with an easy excuse for never meeting any of the women in person. "Tomorrow night is my crew's last Iraqi patrol and we start packing up," Sorvino wrote in one e-mail to 37-year-old Carolyn Hinz, from Minnesota. "I've been warned by command not to discuss my departure due to national security so we have to keep this talk to a minimum."

Hinz, like many others, fell for the ploy. "He had all these plans of getting dinner, going to the movies, going dancing," she said. "I was really excited. The guy was good -- he blew my mind." It helped that Sanchez was easy on the eyes, too. "I was a sucker for a cute face," Hinz explained to the New York Post. "It was a very cute face. Too bad it was someone else's face."

Sanchez's family eventually became aware of the scam, thanks to a woman who recognized their son's photo on Sorvino's Facebook page. A group of Sanchez's friends soon confronted the clown, and, on Thursday, he finally decided to delete his account. Sorvino's troubles, however, may be far from over. Posing as a war hero on Facebook may constitute a direct violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which expressly prohibits claiming false military awards. Several of Sanchez's supporters have already contacted both Facebook and the FBI, in the hopes of pursuing further legal action.

Legal implications aside, Sorvino's actions have already re-opened fresh wounds within the Sanchez family, and have wreaked emotional damage that may be impossible to quantify. "This guy went on the Ranger battalion Web site looking for a fallen soldier to use," Wendy Holland, Sanchez's mother, told the Post. "My son died for this country. How can anyone do that? It's so heartless."

Tags: afghanistan, army, dating, facebook, fraud, heroes, iraq, pathetic, profile, RobertoSanchez, scam, SocialNetworking, top, war, web

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