2007_01_chess.jpgThe Post followed up its story about Esther Elizabeth Reed, the mysterious con artist who had used a number of identities, including one from a missing woman, while attending Columbia and other institutions of higher learning. Reed had dated some army cadets, and the father of one spoke to the Post about his suspicions. And it seriously sounds like something out of a TV show or movie.

Fred Fleischman, whose son is a captain in Iraq, said he first sensed something was fishy about Esther Elizabeth Reed, 28, when she claimed that she was a competitive chess player, but always avoided conversations about the game.

"She claims she was playing in chess tournaments, and I was prepared to play her, but she wouldn't play me [and] wouldn't respond when I mentioned some opening gambits. When she didn't know anything about the opening gambit, that raised a red flag with me," he told The Post.

"My radar went up, and I started questioning her. I was persistent about it, and after a while, I realized: 'This conversation is being manipulated.' She's always aware of what occurs around her," he said.

That's not all - apparently she had asked Fleischman family members to "kind of launder money": "[S]he wanted someone to pay for everything going on, and then she always reimbursed them with cash." Way to not use credit cards and create a paper trail!

She's like a co-ed Nicole Wallace - sans accusations of murder, of course. And the Post says Reed was attending Columbia's General Studies program as Brooke Henson (the missing woman).