Man takes plea deal after lying about being a Navy SEAL

The fourth week of training is known as Hell Week. In this grueling five-and-a-half day stretch, each candidate sleeps only about four total hours but runs more than 200 miles and does physical training for more than 20 hours per day. Successful completion of Hell Week truly defines those candidates who have the commitment and dedication required of a SEAL. Hell Week is the ultimate test of a persons will and the class' teamwork. U.S. Navy SEAL candidates participate in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Forces and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the sea, air and land.(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt)

Taylor Six

Lexington Herald-Leader

A Lexington man who lied about being a Navy SEAL and put false information on loan documents in order to start a horse business has accepted a plea deal in federal court.

Christopher “Rusty” Custer accepted a plea deal on Oct. 31 in United States District Court Eastern District, and pleaded guilty to one charge of bank fraud, according to court documents. Custer originally faced four charges including two counts of bank fraud, and two counts of wire fraud.

The indictment said Custer “falsely purported” to be a Navy SEAL in 2018 when he applied for a loan from Traditional Bank to buy a home and land in Lexington for an equine business.

Custer allegedly misrepresented his “finances, character and personal history” in documents he gave the bank in May 2018 and August 2019, the indictment said. He also is charged with sending false information about his financial status by email to an investor in November 2019 to get a loan for an oil and gas pipeline inspection business.

State records show a person with the same name set up a business called Moon Dance Farm in Lexington in February 2018. It was dissolved in October 2019 for not filing an annual report.

Custer set up another business called Wildcat Field Services LLC in October 2019. It was dissolved a year later after not filing an annual report. The indictment includes a forfeiture count aimed at recovering $1,572,697 that Custer allegedly received as a result of fraud. However, the plea agreement agrees up on a money forfeiture of $309,103.36 which Custer agreed was an accurate representation of the proceeds he obtained as a result of his alleged crimes.

He faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of not more than $1 million, and a term of supervised release of up to five years.

Reporter Bill Estep contributed to this story.

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