A notorious con man will be sentenced to prison for up to 16 months Friday for scamming a Menlo Park woman out of $1,900 last summer.
But as Simon Gann faces time behind bars, Meredith Gavin, a New York mom who is all too familiar with Gann’s scams, said prison will only allow the 30-year-old faux Romeo time to plot his next move.
Simon Gann, 30, and his identical twin brother, Jordan, are accused of being professional liars who have allegedly duped dozens of women across the U.S. and in Canada into “loaning” them money.
The accusations include the brothers spinning elaborate tales about being well-educated high rollers, police agencies across the nation say. Once women fall for them, the brothers say they need a loan, vanishing once they are given the money.
In 2003, Gavin fell prey to one of Jordan Gann’s cons. She said he fled with her money, but also left her pregnant. Since then, the single mom has used the Internet to track the Gann brothers and warn potential victims.
Gavin’s Internet activity helped make the Gann brothers internationally known, but it is also credited with helping a Menlo Park woman who was conned discover the truth.
On Aug. 1, Simon Gann met the 32-year-old victim at a Starbucks in Menlo Park and “charmed her” with stories about being a graduate at MIT, a math wizard and “savant card counter and gambler,” prosecutors said. He also lied about his name, calling himself Saleem Dutante, and told the victim he lost his wallet, passport and ID in Los Angeles.
The woman fell for it, loaning him $1,900, but she soon became suspicious. While Gann was asleep in her bed, she searched his clothing and found an ID bearing his true name. Then she did a Google search and learned of his notorious past.
After his arrest, Gann was charged with writing threatening letters to the victim from jail, telling her that details of their sexual relationship would be exposed if she testified against him.
On Dec. 27, Gann struck a plea deal on two felony fraud charges with the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office. The deal includes a maximum 16-month state prison sentence.
Gavin said the prison time will do nothing to stop Gann, who has been caught for scams before.
In prison, Gann “will only sit there and think of amazing ways to scam people,” Gavin said.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said part of Gann’s strategy is to con a relatively small amount of money from victims.
Authorities typically do not want to fill jail space for thefts of a few thousand dollars, he said.