Theft suspect charged with posing as sheriff's deputy


Paul Tart, 29, was arrested last Saturday after sheriff's investigators found forged documents and canceled checks in his home that indicated he took money from the elderly man's checking account, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Raasch said.

Tart obtained power of attorney of the elderly man without his wife's knowledge and withdrew the money from his bank account over a few months, Raasch said.

The grandfather reported the missing money on Sept. 2.

Tart admitted he took the money to support a prescription drug habit, Raasch said.

During the search of Tart's home Saturday, sheriff's deputies also discovered Tart was representing himself as a Marine, Raasch said.

Tart had a Marine uniform with medals, including a Purple Heart, attached to it, Raasch said.

Tart also had photos of him in the Marine uniform posing with members of his family who actually thought he was in the Marine Corps, Raasch said.

Tart even got a U.S.M.C. tattoo on his lower left leg, Raasch said.

Tart also told friends he worked as a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy, dressed in public in a sheriff's office polo shirt and had a gun belt with a replica firearm, Raasch said.

Tart recently purchased a black 2006 Crown Victoria vehicle, attached a push bumper to the front of it and glued antennae on top to resemble a police car, Raasch said.

After being arrested Saturday for the forgery and fiduciary theft from an elder, Tart was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of false representation of military service and false representation of a police officer, Raasch said.

Tart is being held in Sonoma County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the latest charges this afternoon.

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