That reminds me of a situation at a previous employer of mine. Note that this occurred before I started working there. I'm sketchy on some details as I was told this about 8 years ago now.
Company was an employment agency, and "Andy's" job was recruiting e.g. building up relationships
with companies and sourcing candidates to fill their vacancies - a VERY sales focused role for anybody who doesn't know (lots of people think it's about finding people jobs, which couldn't be further from the truth). Andy left the company after a few months (I can't recall the exact circumstances) and it wasn't until after some time he left that they discovered he'd been claiming roles as filled that were not in fact filled by him. Basically, he'd been paid commission on work he hadn't done, and there was no way to recoup that. It took awhile to placate the clients, reverse invoices, and generally clean up after him. The general view was that Andy was so over-confident he was claiming fills to get commission believing he could get the role filled, and then left when he realised his giant house of cards was about to collapse.
They chalked it up as an expensive mistake and moved on.
Through the grapevine, the managers learned that Andy left his next job not so long afterwards, and somehow it transpired that he had "faked" a reference from *my company* to get that job e.g. actually had somebody on the phone pretending to be the boss and give him a glowing reference. Our bosses assured the other company that there is no way they gave Andy a reference, it must have been faked. Andy had sold himself into that role and let them down so the other company was angry.
And the reason I was told this story? The managers at my company had just seen Andy listed in an industry magazine as being appointed to a fairly prominent role at yet another company. Presumably again with faked references! So they told us the story because they just couldn't believe this guy was getting away with this time and time again. I never met Andy, but he must have had the gift of the gab to sell himself into increasingly senior positions time and time again.
Not really Professional Darwinism, but more Professional Con-Artist I'm afraid!