Fashion scammer hits in the Bella Terra of OC!




Vittorio Gassman

Signore! Signore! Please help me, I’m a tourist and I’m lost, where is the freeway? I need to go the airport…” My still numbed mind, after a two hours bus trip from rural northern San Diego, took a while to process this Vittorio Gassman character talking to me. I told him to turn on Beach Boulevard and take the 405 North. “ Grazie, signore, grazie!”   As I continued to walk towards the ATM machine, I hear another “Signore,  signore, wait, another favor, please help me.”  I approached him again and he asked me, do you know Giorgio Armani?

I thought he was talking about another Italian actor or soccer player, but then I remembered advertisements in malls and magazines.  I said to him I’ve heard that name, a perfume brand perhaps.  “NO signore! Jackets, leather jackets, very expensive jackets. I work for the Armani’s company, and yesterday we had a show in San Diego, and my boss allowed me to keep four of them as a bonus. I want to give them to you for $250, otherwise I will have to pay duty taxes.” I said no, thank you, I don’t wear jackets, not even leather jackets.  “But signore, please help me!”

I was going to walk away but my brain was still in the gambling mode from my bus trip. I sent pictures of the jacket to a friend who works in a high class fashion store, she didn’t receive them but told me to give the guy $200, she would resell them in her home country.  I gave him $220 as he begged to give him an extra $20 for gas… I went to drink a yerba mate tea and while doing so I googled to see how much the jackets cost, and the first link coming up was… “Italian guy selling armani jackets.”


By then, between the effect of the caffeine and the shock of having been fooled, my brain shifted to an analytical mood. How come I didn’t question the paisan‘s story?  A tourist without GPS or directions to a major airport?  The numbness of the casino trip plus the heat stroke from my previous day’s gardening, must have affected my decision-making skills.  I called my fashion store friend and she said, “Don’t worry, I will recoup the money and probably make a profit.”

This happened in Vern’s former hometown of Huntington Beach. I felt weird acting like a petit-bourgeois while Vern had taken up residence in the proletarian confines of Anna Drive, managing the campaign of his wife for city council in Anaheim, a police reform advocate in a district with strong “blue lives matter” sentiments. At least it didn’t happened at , as my old radical friends used to say,  the fascist island  in Newport Beach…

joe crowd best

After reading how extensive and old this Armani scam is, I contacted the HB police as the cameras of the credit union may have captured the images of this man and his car.  The response was that scams like this one are not investigated.  I sent them this link to an article on how a police department in Northern CA had taken a different approach.


I didn’t know how expensive Armani jackets are, and the outrage provoked when Hillary wore one, in a speech about income inequality of all things – a $12,000 jacket!  Greg may have already discussed this in Facebook;  if he hasn’t, don’t tell him!   The recent political outrage provoked by Ivanka Trump, was not because of her distortion of her father’s views but by the marketing of the wardrobe she worn at the RNC.


The culture of hyper-fashion consumption makes it tempting to go completely off the grid, especially when the political process excludes  the people who can’t afford or care about brand name products, and when the planet may not longer support higher levels of consumerism.  It is not a choice though, we must remain engaged, especially when there is a clear and present danger of a racist madman!

vern sign

About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly.