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Man who posed as Army Lt. Gen. was trying to impress woman with helicopter joyride, Feds say

Christian Gerald Desgroux (CCBI)
February 12, 2018

A North Carolina man who posed as a U.S. Army lieutenant general took a helicopter to a tech company headquarters in order to impress a woman, Federal authorities testified, according to the Associated Press.

Christian Desgroux, 57, appeared Monday before a federal magistrate, facing charges of pretending to be a military officer.

Desgroux told security officers at the tech company Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS), located in Cary, North Carolina, that he was picking up a female employee on orders from President Donald Trump in November. Desgroux wore an Army uniform and identified himself as a general in the United States Army after ordering the landing of the helicopter.

Desgroux told security officers that he was taking the woman to a classified meeting at Fort Bragg, but instead took her for a 30-minute joyride before returning her to SAS in an effort to impress her, Homeland Security Special Agent Tony Bell testified Monday.

“She said they did nothing,” Bell said. “They flew around for 30 minutes. She had no idea he was flying a helicopter to pick her up.”

The helicopter landing took place Nov. 6, 2017.

Desgroux could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release if imprisoned.

Desgroux has pending charges, including an alleged assault on a female from April 2017; misuse of the 911 system and violating a domestic violence protection order from May 2017; felony conversion in November 2017; and interfering with emergency communications, felony fleeing to elude arrest, misuse of the 911 system and misdemeanor stalking from December 2017, according to state criminal records obtained by the News and Observer.

Desgroux’s girlfriend and roommate told agents that if Desgroux received a long prison sentence, he would flee the country.

The woman he picked up said she knew Desgroux for 20 years and that she thought he would come to SAS by car, to meet an attorney and discuss a patent for a prototype Desgroux was working on.

The woman told Bell that Desgroux was having issues in his marriage, and he believed she was having issues, as well, because she and her husband live separately.

The pilot of the helicopter said he and Desgroux flew to Durham after dropping the woman back off at SAS. He said Desgroux told him he wanted to visit the White House in the future.

Desgroux was born in Chile and became a U.S. citizen in 2016. He works as a car mechanic in Raleigh.

On another occasion in 2017, Desgroux wore the Army uniform and chartered a helicopter to a KOA Kampground to meet with a woman. Bell said Desgroux wanted to land the helicopter at an aircraft carrier in Norfolk, and described himself as an Army pilot who flew Apache helicopters during the Gulf War, the News and Observer reported.