Con man Gann swaps closet for prison cell in Menlo Park case

Sentenced to 16 months in Menlo Park case

Simon Gann, who pretended to be a millionaire math savant to romance a Menlo Park woman into a relationship and out of approximately $1,900 was sentenced to 16 months in state prison on March 4.

Posing as "Saleem Dutante," he told the victim his credentials included a degree from MIT, and the ability to count cards "like Rainman," according to court testimony.

She became suspicious after finding identification bearing his real name in a pants pocket, and called police, who found Mr. Gann crouched inside his victim's closet, according to testimony.

Saying the district attorney's office was pleased even though the sentence was low, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Mr. Gann received credit for 401 days and so will probably serve only an additional 40 to 80 days in prison.

The judge also ordered Mr. Gann to pay back the full amount he stole from the victim.

Mr. Gann pleaded no contest to grand theft and witness tampering in January, which saved his 32-year-old victim from testifying about their relationship.

During a preliminary hearing held in August, Mr. Gann's appointed attorney, Edward Pomeroy, spun a scenario of two lovers who had quarreled. "He tells a woman he is something he's not," Mr. Pomeroy told the judge. "We have a tendency to do that. This case doesn't belong in criminal court."

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge James Ellis was not amused, telling the attorney, "I ask that when you say (we), you don't include me."

Several weeks later from behind bars, the con man wrote two letters threatening to broadcast the victim's sexual history unless she refused to take the stand. He also offered to pay her, the district attorney's office said.

Unimpressed, the victim reported the letters to police, which earned Mr. Gann additional charges of witness tampering on top of grand theft.

Authorities tripled his initial bail to $100,000 after discovering Mr. Gann's multiple convictions for fraud in Canada last year.

He would have faced up to five years in state prison if convicted by a jury, according to the district attorney's office.

A penchant for ripping people off appears to run in the family. His identical twin brother, Jordan, is serving 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.

Another former victim, Meredith Gavin of New York, maintains a website chronicling her experiences with the Gann brothers.

She said she met one of the identical twins seven years ago in an Orlando bar. The man vanished after a week, taking her money, but leaving behind an unexpectedly pregnant Ms. Gavin.

Ms. Gavin continues to update the website and Facebook page, she said, in "an attempt to minimize their damage."

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Like this comment
Posted by Eyes wide open
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

It is so sad to think that the message we are telling our children over and over again when they are young "beware of strangers" somehow missed this young woman.

Just because a person appears to be nice, does not mean that he or she is nice. Who in the this world brings a relative stranger home with them without doing further inspection?

Fortunately, we are all smarter because this woman had a sixth sense that was finally working when she questioned the intent of the person sleeping in her bed.

The jail time is too short for the crime. His mental health should be looked into.

Good looks and a smile can hide alot of defects.

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