The New Orleans Advocate has the fascinating story of a platinum-haired kidnapper, conman, and former Capitol Hill escort who left a trail of broken hearts and empty wallets from Dallas to New York until he was rearrested this week in New Orleans.
Born in Poughkeepsie, Michael Manos quickly became a con artist with a lengthy rap sheet and a preferred M.O. — he likes to swoop into a city, pretend to be a wealthy, flamboyant man with celebrity connections and a reality TV show, and solicit donations for elaborate fundraisers, which he pockets, leaving unpaid bills behind.
When he was in DC, in 2011, he pretended to be Anthony Michael Manos, a lobbyist with connections and a Twitter account, and the star of "Two Gay Men," a reality show about Manos and his dog Mimi, road tripping across the country. Before he was caught, he tried to throw a fundraiser for John McCain, who had never met Manos or sanctioned the event, and which he demanded Manos stop promoting.
Before that, in Atlanta, Manos was Christian Michael de Medici, a real estate king who donated a house he didn't own to Jane Fonda, who posed with him at red carpet events.
And before that, in Dallas, Manos told his victims that he was Mladen “Mordan” Stefanov, a Greek trust fund baby developing a reality show called "Bella Boyz." That explanation coupled with a fake European accent helped him scam $87,000 from a Dallas couple.
And when authorities caught Manos and sent him back to New York — where he had violated his parole after he was convicted of helping another man abduct his roommate, withdrawing cash from his ATM card, and releasing him four days later — he served his time and started going by the name Michael de Medici, of the reality show “Pop Life.” Under that pseudonym, he got involved in a Susan G. Komen fundraiser; you can read an unaware guest's recap of the event here.
Manos was most recently released from prison in March in New York, where he is on lifetime parole.
But instead of staying within the boundaries of his probation, Manos headed to New Orleans. According to the New Orleans Advocate, Manos told people he was J.P. Morgan's grandson, the star of "Bourbon Street" (where what happens on the street stays on the street), who was working to produce a charity fundraiser.
He planned an elaborate Halloween masquerade ball, but the scheme began to unravel as individuals dedicated to exposing him tracked him to New Orleans. Rip Naquin, the publisher of Ambush Mag, began circulating news of his exploits, and Manos skipped out on his landlord, who warned other people Manos had been working with.
On Wednesday, U.S. marshals finally found Manos and arrested him on outstanding warrants for violating probation in Dallas and New York. He was still trying to plan the masquerade ball.
[image via Shutterstock]