People Who Got Screwed For Looking Exactly Like Someone Else

Now that we have the internet, people are finding their doppelgangers everywhere. There are even sites where you can specifically ask if anyone out there looks just like you. We've found out celebrities like Keanu Reeves are actually vampires who seem to have been alive in past centuries, or at least have identical twins from back then. There's evidence of completely unrelated, unique-looking people running into their doppelgangers in the street or on a plane. It seems that everyone has a lookalike out there somewhere.

But while it's fun to think about, in reality, having someone who could easily be mistaken for you can be a big problem. What if your doppelganger is a criminal or a dictator or decides to steal your identity? There are people out there using their twin from a different mother to escape punishment or to scam money off charities. Finding their lookalike was a disaster for those on this list.

Richard Anthony Jones proves anyone can be wrongfully convicted

In 1999, a woman was just trying to go to a Walmart in Kansas when some jerk tried to rob her. According to CNN, he only made off with her cellphone, but since she fell and scraped her knee in the scuffle, this meant a seemingly minor crime was now aggravated robbery and whoever did it was in big trouble.

The question of who did it would be long, expensive, and very concerning to all innocent people out there. A guy named Richard Anthony Jones (above, right) was arrested, convicted, and served 17 years. But in 2018, he received a $1.1 million settlement for wrongful conviction because the person who probably did it was almost certainly his doppelganger. So what went wrong?

Eyewitnesses said the perpetrator was a "light-skinned Hispanic or African-American man" with "long hair pulled back" and named Rick. One witness got a license plate number and the car was traced to a house that had nothing to do with Richard Anthony Jones. Plus, he had an airtight alibi. But since Jones already had a conviction, his photo was in the book of "Ricks" shown to the witnesses. They all picked him out and the jury believed those identifications over his alibi.

We now know that a different Rick, Ricky Amos (left), who looks uncannily like Jones, lived at the address linked to the crime. The statute of limitations has passed, so we'll never know conclusively if he robbed that lady, but it was enough to get Jones' conviction thrown out.

Felix Dadaev had to impersonate a mass murderer

When you're as evil as Joseph Stalin (right), people might try to kill you. This means you need body doubles.

According to Vintage News, Felix Dadaev (left) was virtually kidnapped and made to become Stalin's doppelganger. Dadaev was only in his 20s when he was badly injured in World War II. At the hospital, he was given new orders: His family was going to be told he was dead and then he was going to learn to be (the much older) Stalin.

Dadaev was taken to the Kremlin and had to perfect the part. The age difference required significant amounts of makeup, but he looked quite a bit like the dictator already. History Collection says Dadaev watched countless movies and newsreels of Stalin so he could nail everything from his walk to his intonation. Finally, Dadaev stood in for Stalin in a meeting of people who knew him well. No one noticed the replacement, and Dadaev had his new job.

This random soldier stood in for Stalin often at military parades and on decoy plane flights. He even flew to the Yalta conference on the publicized flight while the real Stalin flew in secret. Although his impression wasn't perfect (the men had very different-sized ears, and their voices didn't sound the same), Dadaev's life depended on everyone buying it since the secret police were told to kill him if anyone ever noticed something was wrong.

Dadaev kept his secret until 2008, when the Russian government confirmed his unbelievable story.

Pamela Hutchinson befriended the wrong woman in a bar

In March 2018, Lois Riess (allegedly) murdered her husband. They say spouses start to look alike, but he wasn't the doppelganger in this situation, just the first innocent victim. Police say Riess (right) then went on a cross-country trip, driving from Minnesota down to Florida. According to ABC News, while she was there, she ran into a woman who looked a lot like her. So prosecutors say she killed her.

Pamela Hutchinson (left) was almost exactly the same age, similar build, and had the same long, bleached-blonde hair as Riess. They were caught on camera chatting at a bar. Little did Hutchinson know her new friend was (allegedly) going to shoot her and steal her identity, just because they looked alike. Police called this a "calculated decision," saying Riess totally meant to kill someone who was her doppelganger so it would be easier to get away with the identity theft. And they worried that once she ran out of Hutchinson's money (which would be pretty fast since she had a gambling problem), Riess would find another lookalike and do the same horrible thing again.

Fortunately, someone in Texas called in a tip and the nationwide manhunt ended uneventfully in a restaurant. But Riess had already befriended another woman there who cops think she was planning to kill as well. The Florida state attorney's office said they would seek the death penalty for the doppelganger murder. As of early 2019, Riess was in jail while the case was still ongoing.

Olga Tsvyk had a very sadistic lookalike

Viktoria Nasyrova (right) was a "one woman walking crime wave," according to CBS News. She was already suspected of murdering a woman in Russia when she came to New York and started scamming men. She would offer her services as a dominatrix, knock her johns out with drugs, and steal whatever valuable stuff they had on them. She even killed her boyfriend's dog because he gave it too much attention.

But Nasyrova was prepared to murder another human as well. Olga Tsvyk (left) was a hairstylist who looked strikingly like her client. Both were beautiful, with strong brows, long dark hair, and most importantly, they were both Russian immigrants. One day Nasyrova showed up at Tsvyk's house with a cheesecake. The hairdresser ate some, then quickly passed out. When she woke up, Nasyrova was still there and offered her soup. This, too, was laced with strong drugs.

It was two days later when Tsvyk was discovered unconscious on her bedroom floor by a friend. Nasyrova had set the scene to make it look like a suicide, dressing her victim in lingerie and scattering pills around. Tsvyk spent time in the hospital but luckily survived the poisoning. It was only when she got home that she realized Nasyrova had stolen cash, jewelry, and many of her forms of ID, including her passport. The cheesecake tested positive for a Russian drug not available in the U.S., and Tsvyk is sure she was targeted because she looks so much like Nasyrova, who was finally arrested.

A classmate got the blame for what Brett Kavanaugh allegedly did

The Kavanaugh hearings were a perfect example of why survivors of sexual assault rarely come forward, as it was victim-blaming on a national level. Christine Blasey Ford told her truth to the Senate, and millions of people openly said they didn't believe her, including many of those questioning her. But she ended up not being the only innocent victim of the hearings.

On September 18, 2018, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece asking "Is there a Kavanaugh doppelganger?" The theory was that Ford had been attacked by a guy at that high school party, but she was mistaken about which guy it was. Brett Kavanaugh himself put this idea forward, and some conservatives latched onto it. Sen. Orrin Hatch said Ford was simply "mixed up," while the Wall Street Journal editorial board opined it could be a case of mistaken identity.

But there was one jerk who decided to name who he thought the "real" assailant was. Paste says that the next day, Ed Whelan, president of a conservative think tank, posted now-deleted tweets where he included the name and yearbook photo of a high school classmate of Kavanaugh's. Whelan claims everyone thought they "resembled each other in appearance." He also included a current photo of this guy, who had no connection to the hearings, had not been accused by Ford, and was just living his life. Libel, much? Not surprisingly, the tweets were quickly removed, but not until this poor guy had been accused of some pretty awful stuff.

Mohamed Bishr was almost forced to impersonate Saddam Hussein in a compromising position

An Egyptian man named Mohamed Bishr looks almost unbelievably like Saddam Hussein, and even though the dictator was executed in 2006, this likeness was still causing the poor guy problems as of 2011.

Ahram Online reported that year that Bishr showed up in the hospital with an incredible story. He said it began when a group of people he didn't know offered him more than $300,000 to impersonate the late dictator in an adult film. It's thought the dirty video would have been sold as "found footage" of Saddam getting it on. Bishr rejected the offer. But the men were insistent and called his house repeatedly, threatening to kidnap him if he didn't change his mind. Then while he was walking to a cafe one day, three men with guns forced Bishr into the back of a van and started yelling at him. The poor guy was injured when they threw him out on the pavement.

This wasn't the first time Bishr's look caused him serious issues. When Saddam was still alive, people would yell at him in the street that they were going to turn him in for the reward. Bishr had been assaulted repeatedly before by people who thought he was Saddam. And he had to move four times to escape harassment, although you'd think his neighbors would soon figure out the most wanted man in the world hadn't suddenly moved into the small house next door. Bishr has even asked for police protection to make the attacks stop.

Sher Akbar looked just like the most wanted man in the world

In 2010, the FBI used the image of a Spanish politician who looked a bit like Osama bin Laden when they updated the terrorist's wanted photo. This was a huge embarrassment for the Bureau and obviously quite dangerous for the innocent guy involved. But at least he lived in Europe, far away from where people were actually hunting for bin Laden. It was a lot worse for the poor guy who looked like him and lived in Afghanistan.

According to the Telegraph, many of the tribesmen, Pathans, who live in the mountains along the Afghan-Pakistan border rocked the same look as the terrorist mastermind. They had long beards and wore similar white headgear. But one guy in particular suffered from his uncanny resemblance to the most wanted man in the world.

Pakistani authorities must have been so happy when they arrested bin Laden ... twice. But each time it turned out to be Sher Akbar, just some random guy. He had bin Laden's facial hair, his long nose, and most strikingly was also well over 6 feet tall. This means many of the bin Laden "sightings" reported in this rough mountain terrain were probably just Akbar going about his day. (Remember, Osama bin Laden was actually living in a mansion in a suburb in Pakistan at this time.) At least twice, huge searches were mobilized that resulted in an arrest of the innocent doppelganger. Pakistani officials had to admit the guy they had in custody was "not who you might think it is."

Matthew Trippe looked so much like Nikki Sixx he might have convinced himself of something crazy

In 1988, well before normal people used the internet, a bizarre story went viral. According to Louder, a guy named Matthew Trippe claimed that earlier in the decade he'd been hired to replace the bass player Nikki Sixx in the band Mötley Crüe for a year. The reason no one had noticed? Trippe and Nikki were doppelgangers.

Back in 1983, Mötley Crüe had only just been signed to a major label. Trippe's story was that year he met the band's manager at a club. The manager explained that their bassist had been injured in a car accident and they needed a replacement. Trippe got the gig because they looked identical. (And it's true they look very alike.) But when he signed the papers, he was told to sign not under his real name, but as "Nikki Sixx," the stage name of the guy he was replacing.

Trippe claimed he moved in with Tommy Lee and memorized the real Nikki Sixx's backstory. He said he did interviews as Nikki, wrote songs with the band, and starred in a music video. But then he ended up in jail. It was at this point he alleges the original Nikki Sixx returned to the band and he was completely ignored, never getting royalties for the songs he says he wrote. So he sold his story and filed a lawsuit.

The band denied everything, and the lawsuit was thrown out. Whether it was true or the ramblings of a fantasist, the story ended up ruining Trippe's life.

Robin Williams suffered by looking too much like a jerk that looked like Robin Williams

When you're really famous, you might spawn a cottage industry of people who make money by looking like you. They wander the streets of Las Vegas or get hired to come to very lame parties. But the key is that those paying for time and photos always know that the person isn't really the celebrity they look like. Going the whole hog and profiting by claiming to be someone else would be unethical. Enter Michael Clayton.

Clayton was a dead ringer for Robin Williams, who was still alive at the time. According to the BBC, Clayton won tons of lookalike contests and got mistaken for the actor everywhere he went. Not only that, he could do his voice and his fast-improv shtick. This meant it was easy to dupe people, including journalists and charities, into thinking they were getting the real Williams. The actor finally had to sue to make it stop.

E! News says Clayton posed as Williams and did a newspaper interview that was published and then had to be retracted when they found out. But worst was when he tricked a charity into thinking he was Williams, and they paid thousands to cover his expenses. When the ruse was discovered, the charity lost $45,000. This was all making the real Williams look terrible. When sued, Clayton blamed his agent for not informing people he wasn't the real deal. In the end he had to sign a contract promising he wouldn't ever impersonate Williams again.

Ralph Alsman's resemblance to John Dillinger almost broke him

Ralph Alsman was a completely normal guy living a normal life who had to worry that at any moment police would shoot him on sight. This was because, according to a Pittsburgh Press article from 1934, he happened to look uncannily like one of the most wanted men in America at the time, John Dillinger. They were the same height and weight, and both had a mole next to one eye, a scar on their left wrist, and a cleft chin.

Dillinger was of course a notorious mobster, responsible for dozens of bank robberies. This was a problem for Alsman. Seemingly everyone thought he was Dillinger, especially cops. Alsman claimed he had to move from Indiana, Dillinger's home turf, because of the likeness. He'd even been arrested in his hometown, where you would assume people would know he wasn't a hardened criminal. But that was just one of many arrests. Allegedly he'd been detained 17 times at that point, seized as he stepped off trains, as he stood on street corners, and even had his hotel rooms stormed. He'd had machine guns pointed in his face. Alsman would then be dragged to the police station in shackles and interrogated until he was "ready to drop." Eventually, his fingerprints always cleared him, and he'd be let go, at least until the next inevitable arrest.

Alsman said the experiences had left him a "wreck," although he refused to say anything bad about the gangster, for obvious reasons.

Poor Chinese doppelgangers are serving jail time

If you're Chinese, you might have a doppelganger and not know it, but it could end up being important. That's because, according to Slate, in China if you're a poor, innocent person, then a rich, guilty person who looks like you might pay you to serve their punishment.

The tradition goes back a long time. In the 1800s, it could even include being executed in the rich person's place so your family could get the money. And this tactic isn't even uncommon today. Suddenly finding out you have a doppelganger if you need money might put you in a difficult position.

There was a big scandal surrounding one case in 2009. A 20-year-old from a powerful family was racing his car through the streets when he hit and killed a pedestrian. The driver was photographed laughing and smoking while waiting for the cops. Then there were allegations of a police cover-up. While convicted, the driver only got three years, a ridiculously light sentence. But the biggest problem was the guy who showed up in court didn't seem to be the driver in the photos from the scene. In a survey, 99 percent of respondents said it was a different person. Whoever the guy in court was, he served his time and probably got paid for it.