Almanac

News - June 19, 2013

Con man busted in Las Vegas

by Sandy Brundage

Bad news: Convicted con man Simon Gann will be returning to the Bay Area. Good news: He should be doing so courtesy of law enforcement. Mr. Gann, wanted for jumping parole in San Mateo County, got busted by Las Vegas police responding to a battery call in early June, according to police.

Mr. Gann violated parole in 2012 by departing for areas unknown, staying under the radar until people who had the bad luck to encounter the man under one of his well-worn aliases used Google to uncover newspaper stories about his past activities.

Menlo Park police said that after the Las Vegas case is completed, Mr. Gann will face extradition to San Mateo County for the parole violation.

Since fleeing the Bay Area he'd been sighted in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, allegedly up to "the exact same thing," police said.

"The exact same thing" usually involves Mr. Gann posing as a math savant and business tycoon who just needs a little help to recover from losing his passport and wallet.

In December 2010 he admitted sweet-talking a Menlo Park woman into a relationship and out of approximately $1,900 by pretending to be a millionaire MIT graduate named "Saleem Dutante" who could count cards "like Rainman." He pleaded no contest to multiple felony charges in San Mateo County Superior Court and was sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Prison didn't slow him down. From behind bars Mr. Gann wrote two letters to his Menlo Park victim threatening to broadcast her sexual history unless she refused to testify and also offering to pay her off, the district attorney's office said.

That racked up charges of witness tampering on top of grand theft. Authorities had tripled his initial bail to $100,000 after discovering Mr. Gann's multiple convictions for fraud in Canada in 2009.

His twin brother, Jordan, not only shares identical looks but also identical M.O. — Jordan Gann recently served five years in Florida prison for conning a woman out of thousands of dollars by posing as an Ivy League oncologist and real estate mogul in 2008.

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