“Andre can we talk to you?”
That’s Andre Vann running from our camera, which seems odd, because if you look at YouTube and social media postings, it appears Andre Vann from Plainville, Massachusetts is all about being on camera.
Here he is posing with Mayor Menino, and here with Drake, and Chris Brown. And here at a book signing in New York City with Jermaine Jackson.
Which brings us to why he’s not running just from this camera, but from our big question, the one he apparently didn’t want to answer.
“We just wanted to ask you why you’re telling people you’re related to Michael Jackson?”
Yup. According to police reports, this guy gets people to give him money for his business ventures by telling them he’s “Gepetto Jackson.” Jermaine Jackson’s secret son and Michael Jackson’s nephew.
Michael Jackson’s nephew? Stamford, Connecticut police investigating Vann told me: no way.
“It’s not true,” said Detective Peter DiSpagna, Stamford, Connecticut Police.
“You know that?”
“We spoke to the Jackson camp,” Detective DiSpagna said.
These Stamford police reports say: Vann stated, “no” Jermaine Jackson was not his father, he just hangs around with the Jacksons so people think he is.
And his Facebook pages are a gallery of Jackson-abilia!
And seems like it works, victims in several states say they’ve given the phony Jackson a total of at least a hundred thousand dollars.
“What’s going on here? It’s an individual who learned to perpetrate a great scam and is not giving up on it,” said DiSpagna.
Anita, who lives in Worcester, says she gave “Gepetto Jackson” fifteen thousand dollars.
“I’m embarrassed, I’m humiliated,” Anita said.
She says “Gepetto Jackson” told her the money was for his album, tour, and to finish his movie called “Secret Son.” He even taped an IOU promising to pay her back. But so far she says he has not.
“He’s destroying people’s lives,” said Anita.
Kristina, an aspiring model says Vann told her he was the son of Jermaine Jackson and promised he could put her in a movie. She says she and her husband gave him sixty thousand dollars.
“I thought he had ties that would help me to launch my career,” said Kristina.
But when they discovered there was no movie, they demanded the money back. So far, she says, he hasn’t repaid a dime.
“It’s real devastating, I mean there have been nights when we couldn’t sleep, thinking how are we going to pay our bills,” Kristina said.
And we found dozens of complaints on the internet, warning about “Gepetto Jackson”. Including an online petition signed by 143 people, asking the FBI to stop him.
The FBI told us it’s “Reviewing the petition to determine whether the alleged activity may violate federal laws.”
But we found Vann in state court, after Stamford, Connecticut police charged him with larceny. They say: He got $20,000 from another young woman after convincing her he was a Jackson.
Vann clearly doesn’t want to talk about it, but police say: Fair warning, this online complaint says he’s now using other names.
“No matter who he purports to be, he is nothing other than Andre Vann, who is a scam artist,” said Detective DiSpagna.
Natick police now say they’ve found another victim and they’re taking action. They’ve put out what they’re calling a wanted poster for Vann. They say they have an arrest warrant for him, on a charge of larceny by false pretense.
And police believe there could be more victims. If you have information call your local police department.