Jonathan Lee Riches
Jonathan Lee Riches
Jonathan Lee Riches (born December 27, 1976) is a former federal prisoner (inmate #40948-018) known for the many lawsuits he has filed in various United States district courts. Riches was incarcerated at Federal Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, for wire fraud under the terms of a plea bargain. His release date was April 30, 2012. He was arrested for violating his federal probation in December 2012, when he left the Eastern District of the state of Pennsylvania without permission. He allegedly drove to Connecticut and impersonated the uncle of Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident.
Since January 8, 2006, he has filed over 2600 lawsuits in federal district courts across the country, some of which have received considerable press attention. Among the more famous defendants of his lawsuits are New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former President of the United States George W. Bush, former Attorney General of the United States Janet Reno, Martha Stewart, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, entrepreneur Steve Jobs, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, Somali pirates, and pop star Britney Spears. He also sued the late Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service on November 7, 2007, to prevent him from being deported to Pakistan and tortured upon his release from prison in March 2012. There is no evidence beyond this lawsuit of any attempt to deport Riches.
On April 9, 2008, Riches filed a request for a temporary restraining order in a US District Court against Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two, developer Rockstar Games, FCI Williamsburg, and Grand Theft Auto itself, claiming that the defendants "put me in prison." The inmate stated, "Defendants contributed to Plaintiff committing identity theft. Defendant's games show sex, drugs and violence which offends me." Riches continued, "Defendants put me in prison. I face imminent danger from violent inmates who played Grand Theft Auto who will knock me out and take my gold Jesus cross."
In May 2009, Riches filed for an injunction against the Guinness Book of World Records, seeking to stop them from listing him as "the most litigious individual in history". Guinness spokesperson Sara Wilcox told The Huffington Post that there was no such listing, and no plan to create one. "'Most litigious man' is not something Guinness World Records has ever monitored as a record category," she said. The action—like the vast majority of Riches' filings—was dismissed.
Some of Riches' defendants are not even persons subject to suit. These include "Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party" and the "13 tribes of Israel." One lawsuit, which includes George Bush, also includes another 783 defendants that cover 57 pages. They include Plato, Nostradamus, Che Guevara, James Hoffa, "Various Buddhist Monks," all survivors of the Holocaust, the Lincoln Memorial, the Eiffel Tower, the USS Cole, the book Mein Kampf, the Garden of Eden, the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Appalachian Trail, Plymouth Rock, the Holy Grail, Nordic gods, the dwarf planet Pluto, and the entire Three Mile Island.
A number of Riches' lawsuits have been dismissed as being "frivolous, malicious" or for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Willis Hunt, the U.S. District Court Judge who dismissed Riches' suit against Vick as "farcical," opined that his lawsuits were clearly self-promotional. As per 28 U.S. Code § 1915(g), he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis.
In July 2018, Riches was indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona. He is charged with making false statements and other frauds after an attempt to file a lawsuit against Gabrielle Giffords while posing as Jared Lee Loughner.
A collection of Riches' lawsuits was published on April Fools' Day of 2016.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed October 3, 2007.
- South Carolina inmate hits Michael Vick with '$63,000,000,000 Billion Dollar' lawsuit alleging Al Qaeda ties Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Fox News. (August 15, 2007) Accessed October 2, 2007.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed February 18, 2012.
- "Jonathan Lee Riches Impersonates Adam Lanza's Uncle, 'Jonathan Lanza,' Gets Arrested". Huffington Post. 2012-12-27. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
- Harold, Zack (June 26, 2012). "Former inmate alleges Kardashians, rapper Kanye West conspired with terrorists". Charleston Daily Mail. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
A search on PACER, the U.S. government website for court documents, found more than 2,600 lawsuits filed by Riches and 49 filed by his alias, "Gino Romano."
- US Pacer US Party/Case Index Website maintained by the federal courts; search for Jonathan Riches prisoner cases on March 3, 2008 returned 1017 cases.[original research?]
- "Man of Many Suits", Emil Steiner, The Washington Post[dead link]
- Belichick Scandal Widens Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. TSG
- Howard, Brian. (April 13–19, 2006). Trial of the century Archived 2007-10-30 at the Wayback Machine.. Philadelphia City Paper. Accessed October 3, 2007.
- "06-1055 - RICHES v. BUSH et al". www.gpo.gov. Archived from the original on 2017-10-17. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
- Prisoner known for suing celebrities takes on Martha Stewart Archived 2008-11-08 at the Wayback Machine. Boston.com, in connection with The Boston Globe. (September 19, 2007). Accessed October 3, 2007.
- Saxon, Eric. (2007). Inmate files federal complaint against NASCAR star Jeff Gordon Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. wsoctv.com. Accessed October 3, 2007.
- Rankin, Bill (August 17, 2007). "Inmate's bizarre lawsuit against Vick thrown out of court". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 19, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- Transcript: 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for August 15 Archived 2007-11-11 at the Wayback Machine. MSNBC. Accessed October 3, 2007.
- Jade, Kasper. (September 25, 2007).Inmate's suit claims O.J. Simpson is "hitman" for Steve Jobs Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine.. Apple Insider. Accessed October 3, 2007.
- "An Embarrassment Of Riches". The Smoking Gun. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
- 2008 West Law 612788
- "Prison Inmate Seeks Spears Restraining Order". Contactmusic.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
- "Riches v. Bhutto et al :: Justia Dockets & Filings". News.justia.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
- Inmate Files Restraining Order Against 'Grand Theft Auto' Makers Archived 2008-04-24 at the Wayback Machine. FoxNews.com. Accessed April 20, 2008.
- Motion to Authorize to intervene under Rule 7042 & Rule 24(A)2, 24(B) filed by Jonathan Lee Riches.[permanent dead link] Madoff Trustee Site. Accessed March 26, 2008.
- Clouse, Thomas (May 23, 2009). "Man sues book over most-litigious crown". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
- Emil Steiner, Man of Many Suits, Jonathan Lee Riches Sues Everyone and Everything[permanent dead link], Washington Post, August 23, 2007
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-09-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Riches v. Wooden et al - Document 3". Justia. 2010-06-29. Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Prendergast, Curt (July 25, 2018). "Man accused of filing phony lawsuit against Giffords indicted in Tucson federal court". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- Riches, Jonathan (April 2016). Comes Now the Plaintiff: Selected Lawsuits and Poems. ISBN 978-1530603831.