Con man Simon Gann swaps plea for prison time

Former victim vows to keep public informed

Simon Gann, who 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," pleaded no contest to multiple felony charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on Dec. 27.

The plea may come as a late Christmas gift to his 32-year-old victim, who will now be spared from having to testify about her relationship with him.

From behind bars, the con man wrote two letters threatening to broadcast her sexual history unless she refused to take the stand. He also offered money, the district attorney's office said.

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

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

If convicted by a jury, Gann would have faced up to five years in state prison, according to the district attorney's office. Now he's looking at 16 months, with sentencing scheduled for Feb. 16.

A penchant for ripping people off appears to run in the family. His identical twin brother, Jordan, is serving five years in a Florida prison for conning a woman out of thousands of dollars by posing as an Ivy League oncologist and real estate mogul in 2008.

One former victim, Meredith Gavin of New York, maintains a website chronicling her experiences with the Gann brothers. She said she met one of the twins seven years ago in an Orlando bar.

The man vanished with her money after a week, leaving her behind, pregnant.

"Oh my god," she said, and laughed, when asked for comment on Simon Gann's plea deal. "Sixteen months. Him and his brother will be released around the same time. What a nightmare for the public ... both of them on the loose at the same time. One on the East, one on the West."

Gavin said she will maintain the website, along with a Facebook page, to "hopefully keep their damage to a minimum."

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Like this comment
Posted by alice smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 30, 2010 at 2:06 pm

When you read this punishment juxtaposed to the two young black women who were sentenced to life in prison for $14 robbery where they helped two others to rob when they were teenagers, and only got out of prison because one was sick with kidney disease and the other offered a kidney to her sister. That is Mississippi justice. Not sure about CA's justice here. I would have preferred restorative justice: this guy working in a homeless shelter for 5 years cooking and cleaning might have been more useful, returning to prison at night.

Like this comment
Posted by Astounded
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Are you kidding? A mere 16 months for Simon Gann, a criminal with a long and continuing history of serial fraud, and, in this case, for multiple felonies, including threatening a witness!

The public deserves to be better protected from psychopaths. Psychopaths feel no empathy for their victims -- they live for the thrill of screwing others. They are invariably very smooth manipulators; master liars. They cause tremendous pain and maximal loss to their victims. The damage they do to society needs to be generally understood, particularly by prosecutors and judges. Nothing
deters them from their quest for victims. A 16 month sentence is ridiculous -- it just means that Simon Gann will wait exactly 16 months before he attacks the next victim.

Like this comment
Posted by Arturo
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

i dont know, he seemed like a nice funny guy. Fluent in very many languages, which i found impresive. so i'm glad he's getting off easy. really sucks for all those he scammed, but he taught me great skills in the few months we spent together in jail.

Like this comment
Posted by Chellie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

It's pretty amazing that he does seem to skate free however many, as evidenced by his cell mate Arturo, seem to like him.

He's been in Las Vegas in 2012 performing his tried and true scams

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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