Nice try, Romeo.
A sweet-talking “stud” is accused of sneaking into a woman’s heart at a Starbucks in Menlo Park by bragging about his bling, his smarts and his luck in gambling — all part of a surly scheme to rob her, prosecutors said.
And this wasn’t the only dame duped by the alleged creep, they said.
Simon Gann, 29, and his twin brother, Jordan, are internationally famous con artists whose dodgy dealings have earned the pair stints on the Montel Williams Show and a website dedicated to their misdeeds.
Simon Gann was arrested Monday for allegedly conning a Menlo Park woman, police said. Gann met the 32-year-old victim at the Starbucks on Aug. 1 and “charmed her” with stories about being a graduate at MIT, a math wizard and “savant card counter and gambler” whose big winnings helped purchase a multimillion dollar home in The City, prosecutors said.
All lies, they said. He lied about his name, as well, calling himself Saleem Dutante, Menlo Park cops said. He told the victim he lost his wallet, passport and ID in Los Angeles, they added.
The woman fell for it — she loaned him $1,900, prosecutors said.
And the victim is no dolt, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. She’s a bright professional on the Peninsula dealing with a skilled con, Wagstaffe said, but became suspicious in short time. While Gann was sleeping in the woman’s bed on Monday, she searched his clothing and found an ID bearing his true name, prosecutors said.
“She conducted a Google search and learned [the] suspect and his twin brother have conducted similar scams across the country,” they said.
Gann and his brother have conned women — and even some men — across the nation and in Canada, Wagstaffe said. Jordan is doing time in a Florida jail, he said.
When the Menlo Park woman learned of Gann’s past, she immediately called police. Cops said they found him hiding in an office closet of the home.
The suspect “had unbelievable stories for police after his arrest,” prosecutors said. For one, when he was booked into jail, he gave his address as being on West 59th Street in New York City. The address he provided was St. Luke’s Hospital, Wagstaffe said.
“He apparently has an insatiable desire to lie to people,” he said.
Gann was arrested and booked for resisting arrest, obtaining money under false pretenses and grand theft, police said.
Gann pleaded not guilty to a host of felony charges Tuesday. The case was set for preliminary hearing Aug. 27. He remains in custody on bail that was increased from $30,000 to $100,000, prosecutors said.
Part of Gann’s strategy is to con a relatively small amount of dough from victims, Wagstaffe said. Authorities don’t often want to fill jail space for thefts of a few thousand dollars, he said.
“Gann’s method of operation is to meet women at places like coffee shops or bars,” police said. “He often presents himself as an oncologist, wealthy mathematician or business investor who has graduated from schools such as MIT or Stanford.”
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