"I'll tell you the consensus of the council," he adds. "We don't want to settle for one dime."

In his confession to the FBI, Jakob said he had a brother in law enforcement, and that all he ever wanted to be was a police officer.

The officer in question, Jakob's estranged step-brother and -uncle Otto Jakob, is unsure how to respond to that. "If he was smart enough to do all this other stuff, he probably could have put himself in a good job — or a real job — and really would have gotten ahead," he says.

Bill Jakob at his December 2008 sentencing in federal court.
Dave Marner/Gasconade County Republican
Bill Jakob at his December 2008 sentencing in federal court.


Video: Take a windshield tour of Gerald, Missouri.

In His Own Words:

In the course of reporting this story, RFT obtained a transcription of a sworn deposition that Jakob gave earlier this year as part of a $7.25 million civil rights lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court. Read deposition.

Instead everything fell apart for Bill Jakob in 2008.

Early in the year, a St. Clair County judge found Jakob in contempt for failing to pay at least $24,000 in child support to two of his five children. Hope Lodge No. 251 expelled him from the Masonic Temple via certified letter, upon realizing that he'd falsified his membership application.

In July Jakob was scheduled to go to court for a retrial of the wrongful-death suit involving the kindergartener, which his attorney had successfully appealed on a technicality. But attorneys learned just prior to trial that Jakob and his wife had declared bankruptcy five years earlier. Because Jakob had no assets, three years of proceedings had carried on for naught.

On July 10, 2008, Jakob turned himself in to the FBI and was booked on 23 felony counts, including impersonating a police officer. Two weeks later the Gasconade County Republican reported that deposed police chief Ryan McCrary had been transported to a hospital via ambulance after failing to show up for work at his paramedic job. McCrary did not return several phone calls for comment for this story.

Charlie Coy recalls how disgusted some of his fellow Masons were when they ran into Jakob after his downfall. "He showed no remorse. He didn't apologize," Coy says. "On the contrary, he talked about how he was looking forward to doing a movie or a TV show."

Linda Trest sold the rights to her life story to Plan B, Brad Pitt's production company; the company is shopping a screenplay about the caper to Paramount. If the movie gets made, Trest says, she stands to collect a tidy sum. "I got a Christmas card last year from Plan B, with Jeremy [the agent] and Brad Pitt on the front. It's like: What do you say?" notes a tickled Trest. "You just put it up on the TV with the rest of them!"

Jakob pled guilty to all charges on September 29 last year. On December 19 U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel sentenced him to five years in federal prison and ordered him to pay $30,000 in restitution to Total Lock.

Jakob reported to a low-security facility near the Texas-Arkansas border in February. Through his attorney, Joel Schwartz, he declined to be interviewed for this story.

Jakob's wife, Amanda, also declined to be interviewed, saying she doesn't want to say anything that could "harm" her husband. When pressed to comment on Jakob's fabrications about his military service, Amanda Jakob says, "I've read all the Internet, and all the bullshit. I have nothing good to say about this community."

"I have a lot of questions I'd like to ask him," says Bill Jakob's old friend John Erfurdt, who lost his job at the Franklin County Sheriff's Department over the scandal. "But do I really want to know the answers?"

Gidget Fogerty, owner of Total Lock, is perplexed by the fact that the U.S. military merely discharged Jakob and did not prosecute him for forgery. "They basically put him back out on the street, where he could hurt other people," she marvels. "Why?"

In Gerald, some wonder if Bill Jakob might have been an undercover cop after all.

Even Mayor Schulte sounds conspiratorial when he confesses, "I'd like to know if Jakob is actually in prison. It'd be worth a drive down to [Texas] to see if he really is."

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