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'Amish Mafia.' Real or fake or a smidgen of both?

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Is the show “Amish Mafia” real? The Lancaster Online went of the hunt. On March 4, 2014, they announced their findings. They discovered that the Discovery Channel’s “Amish Mafia” is . . . a fake. They allege that the only thing real about the program is that it is filmed in Lancaster County.

At the show's beginning, a disclaimer flashes across the screen. It says that many of the events are re-enacted, but based on actual happenings. "The Amish church denies the existence of the Amish mafia. To ensure the safety of innocent Amish, select re-enactments of events must be used."

So, it makes a person wonder. Do they really have a group of men go around with sledgehammers, baseball bats, guns and assault rifles to deal with unruly Amish and English people? Do they allow their members to have tattoos, drive cars, participate in heavy drinking and promiscuous activities? Lancaster Online explored many of the problems and came up with some facts.

Many of the cast members who act in the show have extensive rap sheets. Esther Schmucker and her brother John, Alan Beiler, and Lebanon Levi have all been in trouble with the law. Some of those instances are spilling into the show. Alan is in jail for attempting to elude police, drug possession and driving with a suspended license. He received three to 23 months in jail. John is in trouble for driving with a suspended license. This is his 10th suspended license violation,

The Amish people do not drive cars, but you see many of the characters on the series driving Cadillac’s, Mercedes, or shiny new trucks.

Local defense attorney and former prosecutor for seven years, Jeffrey Conrad, has litigated many cases where the Amish were involved. He said that he has never heard of an Amish mafia group. "That fighting mentality isn't even there. We can't even get them to file lawsuits when we suggest it."

The lawyer that you see on the show, Steven Breit won’t say whether the show is real or not. He did say that it portrays another side of the Amish that people don’t know about. He said, "The events are re-creations. I can't speak for the embellishments."

The Lancaster County Police Department is also fake. However, there is a Lancaster City Police Department that’s been around for over 200 years.

Strasburg’s police chief, Steven Echternach describes "Amish Mafia" as an “exploitation of the Amish culture.”

Sorry everyone, but it looks as though the TV reality show is not true, but it may have some elements of truth mixed in.

"Amish Mafia" comes on the Discovery Channel at 8 p.m. central.

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