Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kenneth Wayne McLeod

Humble beginnings

Kenneth Wayne McLeod, younger
Kenneth Wayne McLeod, younger

McLeod grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., attending Nathan B. Forrest High School. He was athletic: he played football, baseball, soccer and ran cross country.

According to The Florida Times-Union, he was a popular guy, voted with the other members of the Pheta service club as "the Wild and Crazy Guys of Forrest."

The Florida Times-Union detailed his trajectory post high-school :a stint as a Prudential Insurance Agent, then insurance underwriter. Marriage, then divorce. And bankruptcy.

Despite his later claims, McLeod never went to the University of Georgia, nor did he get a degree at The American College, The Florida Times-Union reported. He married his first wife, Sheila, but then had to file for bankruptcy a month after their wedding. By 1995, he was a divorced father of four, paying $200 a week in child support.

He had few assets, save for a car and an expensive television. He was a natural salesman though; his primary asset was himself.

Almost none of the grandiose claims McLeod routinely made were true. He fibbed about his schooling; he told people he'd been an undercover agent. The Florida Times-Union reported that McLeod would brag about unusually small things. McLeod claimed to be a black belt martial artist. He claimed he'd been drafted by the Mets in college. He claimed his bulldog was a descendent of a University of Georgia mascot.

But those tales don't seem so tall in comparison to his tallest tale of all, a yarn which made him $35 million dollars, over the course of 22 years.

 

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