Sources: WCVB |All Things Michael
A Natick man who posed as Michael Jackson’s nephew to scam a woman out of more than $2,000 in Natick last year is in trouble with the law again – this time in Kissimmee, Florida.
Natick police arrested Andre Vann, 31, at the probation department in Framingham District Court on a fugitive from justice warrant from Osceloa County, Florida.
The charges originate from 2012. According to a Kissimmee police report, the victim, an Oklahoma woman, met Vann, who identified himself as Gepetto Jackson, on modeling websites. Vann falsely identified himself as Jermaine Jackson’s son and Michael Jackson’s nephew.
Vann told the woman he was recruiting models for a television show for the Walt Disney Company called “The Garcia Twins.”
The woman flew to Florida and met Vann several times, police said. Vann asked the woman for money.
“He told her that he would need an immediate investment,” according to the police report. “(The victim) stated that she thought this was a legitimate opportunity and would be good to advance her career in modeling/acting. (The victim) stated that on the same day, Aug. 17, 2012, she sent Jackson $1,500 via Money Gram.”
Throughout the next few weeks, Vann repeatedly said he needed more money for production costs such as clothing, makeup and camera equipment. He repeatedly told the victim that all of the money she invested would be refunded by Disney, and she would receive an additional sum, according the police report.
In all, between August and October 2012, the victim and her husband gave Vann $67,500, including the final $5,000 payment on Oct. 25, 2012, according to the police report.
“After a few days, Jackson began not answering phone calls from (the victim) and seemed to be avoiding any contact with her,” according to the report.
The victim researched Vann online and discovered the ruse for which he has been accused in several states.
Kissimmee police investigated and discovered deposits into Vann’s account. They said he used a large amount of money for multiple floor seats for Orlando Magic games. While buying tickets, Vann identified himself as Gepetto Jackson to the Magic staff, who put him on the Jumbotron, identifying him as a celebrity.
Police said Vann also used the money to rent numerous cars and limos.
Disney denied any knowledge of the television show Vann told the woman they were working on. Police also contacted Jermaine Jackson, who confirmed that Vann is not a relative.
Although the investigation occurred in 2012, the warrant was not issued until recently due to authorities trying to figure out in which jurisdiction to charge Vann.
Kissimmee police charged Vann with one count each of a scheme to defraud a person of more than $50,000 and grand theft of more than $20,000.
The Natick case was similar, authorities said. In that case, he is also alleged to have met a woman online and claimed to be Gepetto Jackson. He said he wanted to hire her as a model and hire her as a regional manager for his clothing company. In that case, he scammed the woman out of $2,100. He pleaded guilty last year.
In Natick District Court on Friday, prosecutor Susan Harris asked Judge Matine Carroll to hold Vann without bail. She said Florida authorities plan on bringing Vann back to Florida to face the charges.
Vann’s lawyer, Christopher Shannon, argued for his release. Vann just settled another case in Florida and had his probation transferred to Massachusetts. He said authorities never mentioned the charges while in Florida.
“He’s very perplexed and dismayed,” Shannon said.
Carroll ordered Vann held without bail. Vann then waived his right to fight rendition. Vann is due back in court on Nov. 20 for a status hearing.
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