Stephen Pittman is now known as the man who impersonated Vince Young to scam women all over the country for money, gifts and perks. If you ever wanted to know how someone could get fooled by this, here is a real life story from model Heather Lynn who was one of Pittman’s victims.
Tell us a little about yourself and background?
My name is Heather, I am 25 years old and I live in Maryland about 3 years ago, I started to model on my free time, just for fun. It really helped me build my self-esteem after going through a lot of negative things while I was away at school. After a few months, I got more serious about my modeling career. As of now, I have been published in magazines, represented clothing companies, and featured on websites.
Two years ago, I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to start a non-profit…So, I did! I learned the entire start-up process on my own, I also learned that it is not as easy as it looks. (This also helped me while I was dealing with the VY Impersonator) My non-profit is info based as of now, letsrocktheribbons.com.
I am also a writer; fashion and sports, crazy combo! I write for 3 different sports networks, as well as have my own website with sportsrantz.com (sportsrantz.com/sportsmemo/)
I love writing about the NFL and NHL (If only there was a season!!!).
What were the circumstances behind you meeting “Vince Young”? What prompted the meeting and how much did you know about Vince Young at the time?
This part is kind of interesting, and shows how much time and thought his impersonator put into this.
On August 9th, 2011, a female model under the name “Phoenix Roots”, asked to be my friend on Facebook, we had over 20 mutual friends-she had over a hundred photos of herself, and people interacting with her on her page. I accepted her friend request, and we actually had a couple of conversations about the modeling industry.
A few days later she sent me a private message, saying “Hey Doll, I have a friend who wants to meet you; his name is Vince Young, the QB from the Eagles”. I figured why not at least talk to the guy, what’s the worst that could happen?
He texted me within minutes of me giving “P.Roots” my number to give to him. And we ended up texting each other throughout the day. Since he (she) followed me on Facebook, he knew that I was really involved in charity work, and working with non profits. That’s what he ended up using, to “reel me in”.
Which is ultimately the reason why I was excited about actually meeting him, he offered me an opportunity to work with his non profit in the DC/MD area. At the time, I knew Vince Young had a foundation, after googling it. I didn’t know much about Vince Young at all, I am a Patriots fan living in Maryland. I had heard his name prior to all of this, but that’s it.
You say that you normally wouldn’t have just met someone you didn’t know, but was it that Vince Young was celebrity so to speak that changed your mind?
I never really considered him a “celebrity”, but I did think of him as a “public figure” in the sense that he has a lot to lose if he screws up. At that time, I thought it was a good opportunity to meet him, talk about his foundation and the details. He was offering me a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do.
I did not go alone; I brought my friend with me.
You said that you Google images of Vince Young before meeting him, so how were you fooled when you met someone pretending to be Vince Young?
When I googled him, there were many photos of him on the field playing ball. There were some of him off the field, but I didn’t really pay attention to the photos as much as I should have. They were on my phone, my Blackberry was broken and couldn’t really see the images that well.
When my friend and I met up with him in DC the following night at Lima lounge, he mentioned to me that he was going out with his friends to “celebrate”. He walked out of the club to get us, he was wearing a brown hat and he was pretty tall! I am only 5’4; he is 6’5. I wasn’t going to be awkward, look up and question him about who he was. Once we were in the club, it was dark, strobe lights, and all that. If he was on a team that I followed, I would have been able to tell if it was really him or not.
When you meet someone for the first time, especially at a club like that, you never ask yourself “I wonder if he has an impersonator”.
You stated that he asked you for $10k, can you give the background behind that and did it raise any red flags a NFL player would be asking you for money?
He told me he told me that all I needed to do was Invest $10,000 into his company. This would make me a part owner in his Foundation. At first, I figured that it was an honest mistake that he said the word company instead of foundation, but that was certainly a red flag. The biggest red flag was when I’d mention the word “contract” to him. He would get very mad and disrespectful. A contract is in place to protect both yourself and the other person involved, in a real life situation. So I realized if he was really a business man, he would already have a contract written up and ready to go. I may have my “Heather Moments”, but I would never trust someone enough to hand over a nice amount of money, in hopes that a contract would be in the mail in a couple of days.
How did you eventually find out he wasn’t Vince Young?
After a couple of days of dealing with him texting me non stop about this, I realized that something wasn’t right. I had weird feelings from the beginning and I knew I needed to trust my gut.
But, being the person I am, I couldn’t just walk away from the situation.
I played along with this guys act for seven weeks. Half that time, I had no idea who I was talking to, then I ended up paying for a number search (which took me a couple of weeks to do-the stress and anxiety I was under, made it difficult to think clearly)
After doing the # search, I got his name, address, and employment information.
From there, I googled his name (Stephan Pittman) – the first thing that popped up, was an article on blacksportsonline.com about Stephan Pittman impersonating a basketball player down in Texas. In the comments, people kept adding information. This ultimately told me that he was also a registered sex offender, tier 3.
At that point, after trying numerous times to get help from the cops, they wouldn’t ignore me anymore.
You state the police weren’t very helpful once you try to report Stephan Pittman, what exactly happened with that?
Throughout the 7 weeks, I tried contacting 23 different times and talking to all different law enforcement agencies; including the FBI. PG county police stated that nobody tried contacting them before or after Pittman was shown on the news. That was a lie and really made the whole thing more upsetting for me. Your supposed to be able to trust these people, yet I tell them that a registered sex offender is harassing me, they wouldn’t do anything.
After you called him out as a fraud did he threaten you?
Yes, this was before his picture was plastered in the media. In fact, the cops were not even looking for him at that point, although I did tell many police stations about the situation.
His last words to me were,” This is a game that you do not want to play. I will stop texting, you do the same. Good luck with your Recovery”. I 100% took that as a serious threat; I knew he was a dangerous person. And at that point I also realized that I was able to get his address very easily, he could easily do the same.
You stated that Vince Young’s Management was instrumental in getting Pittman arrested, can you explain how so?
Yes, after going to the cops numerous times and having no luck, I decided to go another route. I contacted Vince Young’s Management. I knew they would want to do something about it ASAP to clear Vince Young’s name.
I found out from them, that they were receiving numerous reports that someone in the DC/MD area was claiming to be VY and giving him checks for thousands of dollars, because they thought they were donating to his foundation. Apparently it was going on for months. I gave her a lot of the information I had, including photos and some forwarded messages from Pittman.
Within 24 hours, his photos were all over the news, a long with information about the situation. Vince Young himself didn’t do much, except make it clear that it wasn’t him doing this to the women.
Pittman was found on September 23, 2011, and arrested.
Other women saw the news, recognized him and realized they were talking to a criminal, and called in to report him.
What did you learn from this and what do you want others to know?
I learned a lot from this situation, much I can’t even explain. Obviously there is more to the story, but I tried to shorten it. I am telling my story for two reasons.
1) To spread awareness about the issue and put his name out there in case there are other victims out there.
2) Because I want people to hear from the point of view from someone who had to deal with this guy. Not the media/bloggers/etc. point of view and their assumptions of the story.
I’ve seen hundreds of comments from people, judging the girls involved. Many are also turning it into a race thing, calling us stupid for trusting this guy, etc. Until you have been in the situation, and know the whole situation, do not judge. Even in this, I am not providing the whole story, simply due to how long of a story it is.
If it sounds to good to be true, it most likely is. Always trust your gut, and know that there are some very cruel people out there. Trust is earned, not automatically given.