Celebrities are not normal people, and neither are their problems. We often hear crazy stories about obsessive fans who are willing to go to any length to get closer to their idols — and get a restraining order during the process.
Almost a decade ago, it was George Clooney’s turn to have a go at it. Can you imagine anyone ever impersonating you and actually making money off of it? Well, you’re not as famous as the actor and his wife now, are you?
To be real though, celebrity impersonation is more common than you think. In 2010, Clooney sued a couple (Vanja Goffi & Francesco Galdelli) for the same, and even went as far as appearing as a witness against them in an Italian court. Francesco was the mastermind of it all, impersonating Clooney to promote their fashion business.
Luck Ran Out
The pair, now aged 49 and 58 respectively, has successfully eluded authorities for two years now, that is until their luck ran out recently. Also accused of running a number of scams and engaging in several other crimes, the two were apprehended in Thailand, following a joint operation between Italian and Thai authorities.
Being criminals, Goffi and Galdelli didn’t flee to Thailand to lead an honest life. While in the Asian country, the partners duped unsuspecting online customers into buying fake watches, and Yahoo! News reports that they were notorious enough to sometimes deliver salt to the customers, instead of the Rolex they would have been expecting.
During the obvious interrogation that followed the pair’s arrest, Francesco Galdelli confessed to impersonating the famous actor, opening a business in his name, and tricking individuals into sending him cash. This confession, it turns out, was all the authorities needed to ensure they had an airtight case.
The fact that the two fled in the first place is obvious proof that they had something to hide, but then again they weren’t that smart about it either. They set up a shop in Pattaya, a known criminal hideout in Thailand.
The town is the go-to spot for criminals around the globe, and they should have known that sooner or later, the authorities would come looking. That they had been safe for two years must have had them thinking they were finally out of anyone’s radar, but how wrong they were!
A Bone to Pick
And even before they are charged with the other various crimes they have committed; the Thai authorities have a bone to pick with them. The two “entrepreneurs” have overstayed their visas, which is definitely illegal.
For this, they have to either pay a fine or endure a jail term in Thailand. And with Galdelli having already confessed to the 2010 charge, jail time in Italy is all but guaranteed. Quite a mess, isn’t it? But justice must be served.
In fact, a court in Milan had already found him guilty of impersonation, sentencing him to a minimum of eight years behind bars. Rather than rot in jail, Galdelli and his wife fled Italy, but turns out they could run but couldn’t hide.
As already mentioned, George Clooney isn’t the only celebrity who has had to deal with impersonation. Lee Moir, a 34-year-old man, impersonated Justin Bieber on Facebook, duping teenage girls into sending him money. Luckily, the authorities in Toronto were able to apprehend him.