BEST CRIMINAL - 2006
You might remember him better as "Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland." That's the hilariously pretentious moniker utilized by Gardner while posing as a British aristocrat considering enrollment at Stillwater Area High School. Gardner visited the school three times last fall, speaking in a British accent and distributing business cards adorned with a family crest. He claimed to have partied with Prince Harry and Hilary Duff, and to be 27th(!) in line for the British throne. Not surprisingly, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland cause quite a stir at the high school. So much so that the school newspaper, the Stillwater Pony Express, decided to write a profile of the prospective student. Unfortunately for Gardner, it didn't take long for the budding investigative reporters to sniff out some inconsistencies in his story. A few hours of internet snooping revealed that the would-be British aristocrat was actually a 22-year-old Austin, Minnesota, native who had previously been convicted of statutory rape and was currently violating the terms of his probation. But what really earned this award for Gardner was his response upon being exposed as a charlatan. "Maybe when I'm done with this," he told the Pioneer Press from prison, "I can go to Hollywood and convince them that I'm someone important on the big screen. I'm obviously good at it." Why can't more young people display such creativity and ambition?