ONLY ON FOX 24: Presidential Candidate Accused of Conning Military Veteran and V.P. Running Mate

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His trail of deceit runs longer than his campaign, at least so far. 2020 presidential candidate, Joshua Gaters continues to leave his mark on Northwest Arkansas and it’s not in a good way.

It’s now been a little more than a week since FOX 24 exclusively revealed Gaters’ criminal past. Since our original story aired, we’ve been contacted by multiple people, multiple times. Every one has provided another angle to Gaters’ criminal campaign trail.

His former vice presidential candidate, Steve Issacson, spoke exclusively to FOX 24’s Haley Hughey about his relationship with Gaters, which includes how he conned a military veteran.

“I did not know anything about his past until everything started unfolding here,” says Issacson. “The bounced checks, everything he did here in Northwest Arkansas. He came to this state and cheated everyone he could in Northwest Arkansas. That we don’t stand for.”

Issacson says it all started on Memorial Day — a day when our country remembers our fallen military men and women.

“The next thing you know, he said are you ready for 2020? And I looked back like what are you talking about? Then, it clicked.”

Gaters had found his 2020 presidential running mate.

On June 5, when Gaters announced his intent to seek the nomination, one of his campaign promises was to support the military. It’s a bond he claimed to share with Issacson.

“In the beginning, I didn’t see any red flags, whatsoever. I didn’t really believe anything was going wrong until the first news story that came out.”

In that original story, we showed you how Gaters had written a hot check for $1,500. It wasn’t the first time. Gaters has felony convictions in Kentucky for writing hot checks that have, according to him, been expunged from his record. But we’ve also found out it wasn’t the only check he wrote in Northwest Arkansas that bounced.

“I don’t understand how someone could live with themselves doing this to somebody. I could never do that to somebody.”

Marie Veteto is the wife of Carl, a Northwest Arkansas veteran who served five years in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. He now suffers from PTSD and lives off disability checks. The Veteto’s have gone without a car since January. So when their good friend, Steve Issacson, told them his running mate, Joshua Gaters, was buying them a car, the Veteto’s say it was a surreal moment.

Gaters wrote a check for just under $20,000. The dealership let them drive off the lot since it had a good relationship with Issacson. 

“I just broke down in tears because it was such a relief to have a vehicle since we were without one for so long,” says Marie Veteto. “Kind of makes you feel good about people especially when you haven’t had a whole lot of faith to start with.” 

Carl Veteto told us, “It actually took me a couple of days for it to set in that someone actually did this for me.”

The Veteto’s say they were shocked by Gaters’ generosity. It was life-changing for their family. 

“We live out in Prairie Creek which is outside of Rogers, and it’s a long way to the store. So if we want to get somewhere we have to find a ride, which sometimes we can’t find or we got to walk.” 

After a week with the car, everything came crashing down. The dealership called to tell carl the $19,000 check Gaters wrote — bounced! 

“Honestly I was just taken back at the situation. I mean, it’s just so hard to believe. I mean it really was just so hard to believe.” 

Carl Veteto spoke with Gaters that same day and he claimed that he would fix the problem and send a cashier’s check the following day. The dealership never received that check and the car was repossessed.

“Just when you think everything is going to get better because you’ve been suffering for so long… to see yourselves right back there again.” 

Jessica Kelley, Gaters’ former campaign manager, shared texts with FOX 24 where he claims to have bought the Veteto’s yet another car. But after spending just a couple minutes on Google, we found the exact same photo he sent in the text message to Kelley. As for making good using cashier’s checks…

“Of course, he wrote me a check for $5,000, which bounced, which I have right here, and that just bounced the other day,” says Issacson. “He’s been promising that he’s sending a bank draft for me and it’ll be for $6,500 and one for Jessica for $5,000 to make up and he was going to send it overnight. And I said I want the tracking number and to this day, I have not received the tracking number.”

“He was slick,” says Carl Veteto. “I mean I never would have thought he was anything but what he said he was.” 

The Independent American Party told us they are revoking the conditional acceptance and support of Gaters’ presidential candidacy. In an email to FOX 24, Gaters told us he’s not dropping out of the race.

Just a quick update on another cashier check Gaters supposedly wrote. The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County has still not received a $1,300 donation that Gaters claims is “in the mail”.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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