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Con man's history earns higher bail in Menlo Park case

Police uncover prior convictions for fraud

Simon Gann got one thing he wanted out of a hearing Wednesday (Aug. 18) -- a court-appointed attorney. But so did the prosecutor. The con man's bail tripled to $100,000, after police discovered his prior criminal history.

He's charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, grand theft, and resisting arrest in connection with a Menlo Park case.

San Mateo County Court Superior Judge John Runde reversed an earlier ruling that Mr. Gann had enough assets to pay for legal representation, but agreed with Deputy District Attorney Holly Davidson that the defendant's criminal history made him a flight risk.

Last fall the 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and two for uttering threats in Canada, according to Det. Jordan Latter of the Toronto police department, who supervised the case.

Upon hearing of Mr. Gann's Aug. 16 arrest in Menlo Park, the detective sounded pleased. "Great," he said. "He comes across as a really nice guy, but deceptive."

It's a long trip from Toronto to Menlo Park. Det. Latter said Canada deported the con artist after he served less than a year in prison. "Once they're out of the country we don't get any information on where they are or what they're up to," he noted.

Mr. Gann pulled the same scam up north that he allegedly used on a 32-year-old Menlo Park woman, and he made the same mistake -- choosing a victim smarter than he is.

A suspicious girlfriend reported him to Toronto police after his extravagant tales about wealth and elite education sounded fishy once he started asking her for money.

The Menlo Park victim told police she met Mr. Gann at Starbucks a few weeks ago. He spoke of graduating from MIT and started a romantic relationship; she loaned him $1,900 to help replace his passport, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Mr. Gann pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday before the judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 27. After California resolves this case, an outstanding warrant awaits him in New Hampshire.

His identical twin brother, Jordan, is serving five years in Florida prison for talking a woman out of thousands of dollars by posing as an Ivy League oncologist and real estate mogul in 2008.

Traveling con man Simon Gann arrested in Menlo Park.

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