The Plain Dealer  Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, November 30, 1999

E-mail: Phone: (216) 999-4111


   F. Aurelius McKanze thought notes from his doctors would keep him

out of prison yesterday. But prosecutors say the notes were forged

and they want new charges against the convicted perjurer.


  Prosecutors also want the judge to cancel a sentence of two years'

probation, which he got for the perjury charge yesterday.


   McKanze, also known as Fulton A. McCants, pleaded guilty to a

single count of perjury last month because he claimed to be a

handwriting expert with a doctorate and other false credentials.


  He had testified for Claire E. Freeman-McCown, the fired chief

executive of Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, who sued the

agency over her firing and lost.


  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge William J. Coyne placed

McKanze, of South Euclid, on probation because letters from two

doctors indicated he was dying of prostate cancer that had spread

throughout his body. Assistant County Prosecutors Darcy Moulin and

Frankie Goldberg said they did not have a chance to check out the

letters because they were submitted late last week by McKanze's



  David Skall and Thomas Robenalt, McKanze's lawyers, declined

comment yesterday because the matter is pending before Coyne.


  The judge will have another hearing Thursday on prosecutors'

latest bid to send McKanze to prison. Prosecutor William D. Mason

also said he would present evidence about the doctors' letters to a

grand jury.


  Goldberg and Moulin said they discovered the apparent deception

hours after McKanze was placed on probation yesterday morning. One of

the doctors sent a fax to prosecutors, saying that the letter

attributed to him did not bear his signature or proper letterhead and

that he did not write it.


  "This does not surprise me," Goldberg said. "This has been this

man's modus operandi for the last 40 years."


  Moulin said McKanze has nine felony convictions in state and

federal courts dating back to 1956. She said most were for fraud, theft, record

tampering or forgery.


  Goldberg said that as late as last June, he was still using the

names McKanze and McCants on various bank and charge accounts.


  Prosecutors began investigating after The Plain Dealer revealed

that McKanze's claims in the Freeman-McCown trial appeared false. He

had testified that he was a retired Air Force colonel, had attended

Ohio State University and earned a doctorate in criminal psychology

from the University of Arizona. All three institutions denied those



  Lawyers for Freeman-McCown said they plucked his name from the

Yellow Pages when they were seeking a handwriting expert to rebut

claims that she used forged documents to receive extra benefits from

CMHA. Her lawyers said it was up to lawyers for CMHA to challenge

McKanze's credentials and they raised none during the trial.


  McKanze appeared in court yesterday completely bald. When he

testified in September and pleaded guilty last month, he had a full mane of

distinguished looking gray hair and a full mustache.


  Prosecutors said he had claimed to lose the hair to chemotherapy,

but they had their suspicions, based on his criminal history and the

swiftness of the hair loss. They said they couldn't reach the doctors

last week because of the holiday, and finally got to them yesterday.