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Con man who fooled Jane Fonda nabbed in California

Jane Fonda with a man who was billing himself as a wealthy philanthropist at an October 2007 G-CAPP fundraiser in Atlanta.

Jane Fonda with a man who was billing himself as a wealthy philanthropist at an October 2007 G-CAPP fundraiser in Atlanta.

More than two years ago one Christian Michael de Medici announced a generous gift to the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

Billed as an “entrepreneur and philanthropist,” he was introduced at a fundraiser by organization founder Jane Fonda as he handed over the keys to a house. It was to be used for G-CAPP’s Doula Project, pairing birth attendants with pregnant girls.  About a year later the house went into foreclosure and the man calling himself de Medici had left town.

“We all regret the experience,” G-CAPP CEO Michele Ozumba told Buzz Monday.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the man, whose real name is Michael Manos, was arrested last week “on a parole violation warrant out of New York.” He has “an extensive rap sheet stretching back to 1979 for convictions ranging from kidnapping to robbery,” and was released from prison in 2004, the DMN reported.

He kept his past at bay for years. He strolled red carpets in New York saying he was “a rich promoter seeking to do a reality TV show” and spent a good deal of time in Dallas before heading to San Francisco. In after city, the article said, he raised money for charity then allegedly left “ a wake of unpaid bills behind him.”

He may face fraud and theft charges in several states now.

“He convinced a lot of people,” said Ozumba. “He took the same story across the country.”

The project housed in de Medici’s short-lived donated dwelling was moved elsewhere, so clients could continue to be served.

“I feel very sad, but thankful that the harm wasn’t worse to our community,” Ozumba said. “The clients we serve did not suffer.”

The Dallas article suggests a good bit of future investigation and possible legal action.

“He’s been very busy with his scamming from Georgia all the way up to Dallas, up north to California and God knows where in between,” said Al Dwyer, a fugitive investigator with a U.S. Marshal’s Service task force in New York.

During Manos’ time in Atlanta Christopher Jones of Ansley Park saw him at several events, including the G-CAPP fundraiser where the house donation was announced. Jones found him to be a bit off.

“First, his accent was inconsistent and his clothes were too dramatic and at times ill fitting,” Jones said. “Once, I was engaged in a conversation with him and noticed his eyes did not focus on you and he seemed preoccupied with moving quickly. These were the simple red flags.”

A larger red flag began to wave when the two ran into each other a second time.

“I mentioned that I had “Googled” him on the internet and found him fascinating,” Jones said. “He turned pale and nervous. I knew something wasn’t right.”

At the time Manos, then going by Christian Michael de Medici, told the AJC:

“When 9/11 happened, it served as a wakeup call for me. Suddenly, I realized that life is not gifted to anyone. I was tired of writing checks. I wanted to get more involved. Because of things I’ve gone through in my own life, Jane Fonda’s work and G-CAPP’s work is very important to me.”

- Jennifer Brett, jbrett@ajc.com

21 comments Add your comment

Kris in Loganville

February 8th, 2010
1:23 pm

AJC, please try to work on eliminating the typos! They are frequent and maddening.

Steph

February 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

Kris-I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes the spelling in the articles and bylines are so bad I have to read it more than once just to try and figure out what it is SUPPOSED to say. You would think with all the educated people in metro Atlanta that are out of work they could find some qualified proofreaders. I guess $6 an hour doesn’t get you much!

Hetch Hetchy

February 8th, 2010
1:52 pm

“He’s been very busy with his scamming from Georgia all the way up to Dallas, up north to California and God knows where in between,” said Al Dwyer, a fugitive investigator with a U.S. Marshal’s Service task force in New York.

Dwyer needs a geography lesson. No wonder they have problems finding crooks.

OTP

February 8th, 2010
2:04 pm

I’m with Steph and Kris on this. Not only are there typos – there are entire words missing in the article! The caption under the photo isn’t even complete. A major newspaper in a major city and 3 out of 4 comments are embarrassed readers commenting on grammer instead of article content. Good grief!

Roger J Smith

February 8th, 2010
2:04 pm

It was funny to watch ALL of “Atlanta Society” fall all over this guy!When you can’t find anything on the internet about someone RED FLAG!!! I think people get what’s comming to them in the end. Thanks for your artical.

DaveDawg

February 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

Friday evening, the ajc.com home page caption said a record 30 feet of snow was forecast for Washington, DC. That would be quite a record, and probably then end of all life in the area. It was later corrected to 30 inches.

Jennifer Brett

February 8th, 2010
2:19 pm

I just received this e-mail from someone who met this guy:

I wanted to Thank you for your article on the man who is known to many as “Christian De Medici” . I met CDM at numerous events here in Atlanta and was one of the Guests when it was announced that he was donating a home to G-Capp.

I, like many others, questioned this man’s background when simple research turned up nothing.

I hope that the good social causes such as G-Capp do not suffer because of the dishonesty of this individual. I am always amazed at what I see and hear at events in our great City.

The demise of Christian De Medici is a lesson to all of us who are philanthropic minded – if it seems too good to be true ….it probably is.

JDJ

February 8th, 2010
2:31 pm

C M Thornton, III will be speaking for me today.

I Report/You Decide

February 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

OTP…it’s “grammar” not “grammer.”

Badger

February 8th, 2010
3:12 pm

Hanoi Jane hanging out with a con artist. Likes do attract each other. Beware of anything charity or otherwise with Hanoi Janes name attached.

Jane's Elephant

February 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

Who would give money to hanoi jane? She’s a con artist herself. How much salary does she get from this foundation she runs?

getoverit

February 8th, 2010
3:33 pm

Looks like two idiots who must spend their days scanning the AJC just in case there’s a mention of Jane Fonda just so they can show their cans once again. Bet you don’t do ANY tiny part of the good work Miss Fonda has and continues to do for young woment in Georgia.

Badger

February 8th, 2010
3:38 pm

Actually getoverit…The evil Hanoi Jane did to our brave soldiers back during the Vietnam war is something nobody should ever get over. Alas you are just a closet communist who probably thinks shooting American pilots out of the sky is a worthwhile vocation. A little something you should know about Hanoi Jane. She never ever does anything that does not enhance both her image and her bank account.

DAVID: AJC Truth detector

February 8th, 2010
3:38 pm

HANOI JANE has always had trouble with the Men in her life..

DAVID: AJC Truth detector

February 8th, 2010
3:42 pm

HANOI JANE……..herself…..ia a CON ARTIST.

DAVID: AJC Truth detector

February 8th, 2010
3:44 pm

ONCE A TRAITOR—-always a traitor……just like Benedict Arnold.

getoverit

February 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

I only imagined idiots like you people crawled the earth. And I’m so glad you know me even better than I know myself – just found out I’m a communist – goldarndit wish I’d known that back during the cold war – maybe I could have been a spy. But I needed big manly, intelligent, kind-hearted, humanitarian, god-fearing lumps of crap like you to tell me that I was a communist!

Badger

February 8th, 2010
4:03 pm

I agree getoverit, you should have been a spy, then you could have gone the route of Mata Hari. Dangle Dangle

OMG, really!

February 8th, 2010
4:15 pm

What year, nevermind century, is this?! People live, learn, change and move on and contribute to society… and clearly some do not. <—- Daughter of a top ranked Air America Pilot!

Badger

February 8th, 2010
5:04 pm

I’m sure your dad will be so proud once he reads those comments…

@Badger

February 8th, 2010
5:40 pm

Quite proud, thank you!