Don’t Mess with George Clooney! Actor’s Impersonator Who Stole Millions Now Behind Bars
Being so popular that people all around the globe recognize you sounds like the absolute dream. Hollywood fame is quite the phenomenon, with celebrities attracting attention everywhere they go; excited fans frantically shout their names on the streets or approach them for a photograph; they are treated like royalties at hotels and restaurants; people recognize them and consider them part of their family. Who could ask for more?
But there are lots of disadvantages of being a well-known personality, including bad guys stealing your identity. This is exactly what happened to actor George Clooney, who had to file a lawsuit against those who used his name to dupe others.
George Clooney’s Testimony
In 2010, the Ocean’s Eleven star took the witness stand in Milan, Italy to testify against three defendants, Vincenzo Cannalire, Vanja Goffi, and Francesco Galdelli, who were accused of using his name to fool and steal from people, acquiring stolen goods, and forging his signature.
Although at the time, only Vincenzo was present at the courtroom that was filled by star-struck fans of the actor, it was actually Clooney who sued them for fraudulently posing as him to advertise their clothing line at a 2008 fashion show in Milan.
The said brand was called “GC” and mostly tendered on private sales with individuals, with Vanja and Francesco claiming they have the Tomorrowland star’s endorsement and even showed his signature, which, of course, they doctored.
They were then accused of altering the photos showing them and the actor together and presenting these at several events just to endorse their business.
The other two accused are actually a couple who were referred to as Italy’s Bonnie and Clyde, an allusion to the notorious American pair famous for their bank robberies.
Apart from using George’s name to promote their fashion line, Vanja and Francesco were both known in their home country for causing troubles.
The fled Italy to escape arrest, so they were nowhere to be found in 2014, when Vanja was sentenced by Italy’s Supreme Court with six years and five months while Francesco, eight years and four months. They were wanted on Interpol’s red notice, but the two managed to run to Thailand, where they were arrested recently.
According to Andrea Vitalone of the Italian police, Vanja and Francesco manage to go in and out of the Asian country until 2013 because they were seen as respectable people in their home country.
In fact, the man even donated huge sums to a charity that aids disabled children before they left Italy. In Thailand, the George fraudsters survived by selling fake Rolex watches online and to further add salt to the wound, they would sometimes send salt packets to the recipients instead of a counterfeit watch.
Vanja and Francesco were finally arrested in a luxury villa they were seeking refuge at Pattaya City, which is said to be a favorite hideout of crooks.
This was after they were spotted in a surveillance operation. Police surrounded the place before they finally went inside and detained the couple.
According to reports, Francesco admitted he opened a fashion line and claimed to be George to deceive people into sending money to him.
He is also arrested for illegally staying and entering the country because he had no record of this while Vanja faces an overstaying charge.
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