Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Despicable Low-life Lying Conmen who Breathe Lies to Suck Money out of Victims

08/06 - (New Jersey) - Joseph Vigliotti -- characterized as a "serial scam artist" by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office -- has been charged with bilking a man of about $10,000 while out on bail on previous theft by deception charges.

In June, just two weeks before Vigliotti was arrested a third time on theft charges, an employee of Pilot Laboratories in Woodbridge, gave Vigliotti a second check for $5,000 as an investment in a large electrical project that never existed, Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest said.

"I don't think there is any truth to anything this guy (Vigliotti) has ever said," Forrest said.

Vigliotti was arrested Tuesday at his Readington home on third-degree theft by deception charges, Forrest said.

Vigliotti remained in the Somerset County Jail on Tuesday night on $50,000 bail, cash or bond.

Vigliotti was working at Vigliotti's brother's electrical business, Forrest said. Vigliotti approached the victim and told him he recently was awarded a state electrical contract worth $70,000 to rewire two Hillsborough homes, Forrest said.

But Vigliotti told him he was in trouble and did not have enough money to finish the job and that he needed $10,000 to continue the work, Forrest said.

Vigliotti invited the victim to work on the project and told him he could profit $11,000 with the $10,000 investment plus an option to make $7,500 more in bonuses if the project was completed sooner than expected -- an attempt to get the investment quicker, the prosecutor said.

Vigliotti was given two checks for $5,000 on May 13 and 22, Forrest said.

When asked about when they would start working the project, Vigliotti didn't answer but said he received another, larger state contract in Newark and that they should start their own company and split the profits, Forrest said. The victim declined the offer.

The victim tried contacting Vigliotti on several occasions about getting his money back but never heard from Vigliotti and never received a return on his investment, Forrest said.

In June, Vigliotti was charged with stealing $5,000 from a friend of Vigliotti's brother in the electrical business, Forrest said.

Vigliotti told him they each would contribute $5,000 for a project at a storage facility in exchange for a hefty profit, the prosecutor said.

But he never saw the project, because Vigliotti falsely told him he was arrested for beating up someone with a bat in self-defense and that the money was tied up in bail, Forrest said.

Vigliotti told Francen the money was used to bribe a police officer and get the charges against him dropped, Forrest said.

Vigliotti was charged with theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition and issuing bad checks -- third-degree offenses.

The first charges against Vigliotti were filed in December.

An investigation by the Prosecutor's Office and the Raritan Borough Police Department resulted in Vigliotti being charged with stealing thousands of dollars from local businesses by deceiving the owners into investing in ficticious deals and never repaying them.

Then, in February, he was charged with stealing from the Karol family of Green Brook.

About six years ago, Vigliotti married M. Karol and became part of the Green Brook family only to steal more than $75,000 from their business, The Shrimp Factory, and coax sympathy from the fractured family -- who had lost a son in the Seton Hall dormitory fire in 2000 -- by telling them he had cancer, Forrest said.

In the Karol case, Vigliotti was indicted on multiple counts of theft by deception and other charges.

In June, Vigliotti was arrested again when three more people came forward to say they also had been scammed of about $26,000 by Vigliotti, Forrest said.

Vigliotti befriended the owner of a service station in Green Brook, from December 2001 to March 2002 and eventually asked for $5,000 to buy out The Shrimp Factory, Forrest said. But there was no buy-out deal and that victim never saw the return of his money, Forrest said.

Vigliotti was charged with third-degree theft by deception in that case.

A female victim came forward to tell authorities that Vigliotti scammed her of at least $9,000 from January to July 2003 -- after the two met through an online dating service, Forrest said. Vigliotti lied and told her he needed money for bail on charges that never existed, that he was involved with a mob group and that he had cancer, Forrest said. Vigliotti has never been diagnosed with the disease, Forrest said.

Vigliotti was charged with third-degree offenses of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition and uttering a forged document.

Courier News

Morally Broke Scammer Plays the System

05/06 - California - If there was one person David Alster never wanted to see again, it was Laura Lee Medley.

Yet, somehow, he always knew he would.

From 1999 to 2000, Alster guarded Medley, a shrewd con artist, while she served time in an Arizona jail. She wasn't violent or mentally ill, but Alster - a commander with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office - said she was one of the most contemptible prisoners he had ever come across.

Two weeks ago, Alster read media reports that Medley, 36, had been arrested in Las Vegas after being accused of fraudulently suing several Southern California cities - including South Pasadena and Alhambra - over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. When police arrived to arrest her, she leapt from her wheelchair and ran.

Now awaiting trial in a Rancho Cucamonga jail, Medley has spent most of her adult life concocting and carrying out a series of outrageous scams against individuals, businesses and cities throughout the western United States, according to court records and interviews with law enforcement.

In Arizona, she was accused of impersonating a county prosecutor, manufacturing a rape charge in an attempt to extort her freedom from jail officials, and swindling $20,000 from a waiter and father of four whom she had befriended in her early 20s.

"I've dealt with the Mexican mafia, gangs, murderers and rapists," Alster said. "She is one of the most vile prisoners I've ever met."

In 1991, when Medley was 21, she received a certified EMT card from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said San Bernardino County sheriff's Det. Mario Salazar, who is leading the current investigation.

And, according to her own statements, she worked briefly as a medic in the military.

Salazar said the background in medicine probably lent credibility to some of her medical-related claims because she could use accurate terminology to falsify documents and feign health problems.

Salazar said she carried out most of her schemes using an e-mail address and cell phone - whose bills were sent to her unsuspecting mother's house and then forwarded to her. And, he said, she chose scams that required little "face time" so as to conceal her identity for as long as possible.

According to records with the Arizona Department of Corrections, Medley was in and out of jail and prison there beginning about 1999. She also filed a dozen lawsuits and an unknown number of claims for damages against individuals, businesses and government institutions, officials said.

Last year, she was allegedly back at it again - this time in California.

Driving around Los Angeles-area cities, Medley identified several sidewalks that she believed were out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act - a 1990 law requiring wheelchair access in all public places.

Medley filed claims alleging injury due to noncompliance - providing falsified medical records as evidence - in South Pasadena, Alhambra, Long Beach, Riverside and San Bernardino, Salazar said. In total, she claimed five broken arms and a broken leg within months of each other in 2005.

"All she had to do was call, and I would mail the forms to her," Salazar said.

"So she never actually had to do any face time within the public buildings."

In the end, South Pasadena paid her $6,700 to settle the claim. Alhambra paid her $6,400. And San Bernardino caught her.

Salazar said Medley - who has pleaded not guilty to fraud-related charges - admitted wrongdoing in a Las Vegas jailhouse interview.

She allegedly told the detective that she once used a wheelchair legitimately after injuring her back in a car accident, but hasn't needed one for at least three years.

Meantime, Alster has called California authorities to warn them about Medley's past in the Arizona prison system. He said he didn't envy those now entrusted with her care.

"The day she left our system," he said, "I personally went down there to make sure she got in the van."

Pasadena Star-News