American Idol contestant's criminal past

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Updated: 2/05/2013 10:38 am Published: 2/04/2013 11:02 pm

An American Idol contestant is getting a lot of heat for faking a story about his injuries when he served in the military.

Tulsa native Matt Farmer auditioned for American Idol in Long Beach with his daughter by his side.

"I was excited to see him and see his daughter," said Farmer's childhood neighbor Patrick McPhee.

American Idol judges fell in love with the 26-year-old and his tale of battle wounds he got in Iraq.

Farmer grew up in south Tulsa who neighbors say was well liked in the neighborhood.

"He was a great singer and very kind to everyone in the neighborhood," said McPhee.

Despite Farmer admitting what happened in the military, his neighbor believes Farmer did suffer.

"Just because we can't see his legs gone or his arms gone or anything else doesn't mean he doesn't have a psychological problem coming back from there. I bet he believed it for a long time," said McPhee.

However, FOX23 received a tip and police confirmed Farmer wrote $20,000 in hot checks to a local store. The merchandise was returned and Farmer was never charged in that case.

Court records in Tulsa County show Farmer has a $3,000 warrant for not showing to court for writing bogus checks at Reasor's. He owes the state $1,697.44 for those fake checks.

Oklahoma County court records show Farmer received a deferred sentence for obtaining money under false pretense. In one charge, Farmer lists an Arizona address. Arizona court records show he faces three charges for writing fake checks.

Farmer cannot be found in Tulsa, but his neighbor is sticking by him.

"I am sure he has a problem that he needs help with not a bunch of people yelling at him," said McPhee.

Farmer is no longer a contestant on American Idol. American Idol refused to comment on Farmer and what type of screening it does on contestants.

Conflicting reports show there is an extensive background check and or no check on a contestant's criminal past when signing up for Idol.

Last season, finalist Jermaine Jones wasn't booted until the top 12. Jones had outstanding warrants, including giving police a fake name.  Idol later said contestants with warrants are not allowed on the show.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

TulsaTime77 - 2/12/2013 4:03 PM
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Lol I love how Fox23 deleted the comments from this story. I still stand by my opinion...this isn't newsworthy and is a blantant attempt to trash an American solider. I am in no way affiliated with Matt Farmer, I do not know him, I am a viewer. Fox23 please step up your news game and report news that really matters. This story in no way edifys the people of Tulsa. So they guy lies about his experience in Iraq to get his golden ticket to Hollywood. So they guy sucks with his money and writes hot checks. Please explain how this is a big deal? Its not like he murdered someone, or molested a child. In my humble opinion Fox23 sucks for airing storys like this. All it does is helps ruin some guys (who obviously has issues) life. I forgot everyone at Fox23 is perfect. I'm a very disappointed viewer.
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