Only at the time I couldn’t tell the full story.
(The conversations I had in the post were real, but it was a combination of two different people to protect my safety.)
I DID out con a conman, but it wasn’t a woman … it was a man … and that man was my neighbor … AND also a man involved in these news stories …
Oh, oh and this one …
I KNEW something was “off.”
I just didn’t know what “off” was exactly, and DEFINITELY did not have EITHER headline on my “This is Your Life in 2022” bingo card.
Here are the receipts.
In 2020, my friend and neighbor was sadly murdered in his apartment.
As residents, we were frustrated and really really angry at the fact that the building owners did nothing to notify us or improve our security. Channeling that frustration and anger into action, I organized a meeting with the lead senior officer for our area and created an email chain for the residents.
Trust was broken, and instead of complaining about it, at least we could all band together to stay aware but not afraid.
The email thread remained active (until we finally got 24-hour security in late 2021) and as people moved into (or out of) the building, I would make a note and update the thread.
In the spring of 2021, there was a new resident, let’s call her Connie, that I added to the thread.
I introduced myself one day by the mailboxes and said how great of a community we have here, and should she want to be kept up to date on what’s “actually going on,” I’d be happy to add her to include her.
“Absolutely,” she said writing her email down on a piece of junk mail.
As she stood there writing, I unconsciously and automatically “downloaded” information about her.
<tangent> It’s brutally difficult attaching words to what I know I experience with synesthesia. I have a choice, I can either keep typing out how hard it is, or I can use my words and try to describe it as best as I can.
I know because of autism and synesthesia that I can pick up “other senses.”
It’s not a sixth sense, it’s like a sixtieth sense.
I’m from an etymological perspective an empath, but I know I don’t “feel” things from people that I then feel myself … I just “pick up” on things unconsciously.
It’s like being able to read the temperature of a room, knowing the temperature by number, but not feeling the hot or cold myself.
It’s like having a Game Genie to situations that I don’t turn on or off … it’s just there, and set on automatic update.
I’m a real life Poker Face.
I have no idea why they didn’t say she has synesthesia on the show.
Maybe the showrunner doesn’t know?!
Oh boy. </tangent>
Within seconds, I knew she either was being abused, just left an abusive relationship, or had just experienced something very traumatic (+1 for finding a building where there was just a murder) … her whole vibe was “wounded bird energy.”
Which I found interesting, because most “wounded birds” I’ve come across in the past typically have a bravado about them. They puff their chests to show that they’re not a wounded bird. I didn’t see any literal bruising or wounds, but whatever was happening to her was very fresh, and either still happening …. or new to her?
I had no idea.
I just knew what I knew, and felt very sorry for her.
Focusing on my own self-care, and not policing the world, I went about my day, but made sure to comment to Jeff on what I saw.
“I found a new breed of wounded bird,” I admitted at the dinner table. “The wounded bird who is just that – a wounded bird.”
“Something is off with her,” I admitted. “I really hope she’s not being abused, but there’s not a lot I can do about it unless I see something. In that case, I will say something.”
I will never normalize abuse.
I put our new neighbor out of my mind until a few months later, and yet another lobby/ mail room run in … only this time she was with a friend.
I had just come back from a walk when our building manager said she was having difficulty with the Nest system in one of the units.
Being the resident techie, she asked if I could fix it.
As I walked into Connie the Wounded Bird’s unit, I immediately felt the heat from the tension.
I could tell her and her “friend” had either just had a fight, or were about to have one.
Again, none of my business.
Focused on the task at hand, I said hello and went over to the Nest.
Connie indicated she was moving from a two-bedroom unit into a one-bedroom unit and wasn’t sure how the system worked.
Did you move your wifi over? I asked.
What do you mean, she said?
“Nest systems run on wifi. If you haven’t set it up yet, you can use your iPhone as a hot spot to at least get it turned on. That should cool things down for you,” I said (and meant) both literally and figuratively.
“YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS SET UP?!” said the friend that was now yelling.
Let’s give him a name … how about Voice Modulator.
<tangent> I knew I had seen Voice Modulator around the building before but wasn’t sure if he was a resident or just visiting. All I knew was I could hear his VERY SPECIFIC loud tone of voice echo through the hallways. He was/is a very very loud man … which now looking back, I think was part of his con. </tangent>
Now, I’m ALWAYS happy to help people with tech that can be a bit complicated.
What I don’t tolerate is rudeness/ bullying.
I wasn’t going to let this loud Voice Modulator disrespect a very obviously wounded bird in front of me.
I said firmly, “well, it’s set up now. Remember this is a temporary fix and if you leave with your phone, it’ll knock off the wifi.”
She thanked me as Voice Modulator then started pacing around her in a hurried manner.
I found it very strange and was the one to fly out of the cuckoo’s Nest.
“Why would a man literally pace around someone?” I asked Jeff again over dinner.
“Was he nervous?”
“Definitely, and very intimidated by me. You could tell he had been trying to fix the system and couldn’t. The vibe I got was that he was mad that ‘a woman’ did a job he couldn’t.
Obviously, I’m not taking any of this personally, but there is something really really off about them. My instinct on it was that he felt out of control, and was physically trying to display his “in-control-ness?”
Which was hilarious because he looked ridiculous while doing it.
He too had seen her in the lobby and agreed that there was definitely a “vibe” to her that read “something is off.”
A few more months went by, as I continued to see the Voice Modulator at every building event.
We really do have a great community.
We do little excursions in support of one another – whether it is a stage show, or restaurant opening, heck, even political events!
I’m not even ‘a political person’ but always always always show support to good people, and am lucky enough to call those good people neighbors.
Around the second or third event, I noticed how much he was asserting himself into the community.
Now don’t get me wrong, I did too when I first moved in.
This is how I got the title of “unofficial social director/ mayor.”
I’m not mad at the hustle to make friends, but I was suspicious of his approach; he was very domineering and bulldozing.
My approach was to add value to the community in the form of events by providing food, drinks, even interesting guests.
What I picked up from him was that “we” were the ones deemed “worthy enough” to be in his presence – which is technically a symptom of narcissism.
My autistic brain then turned into … a dog … to his bone?
Ew that sounded gross, but I was more determined than ever to find out more information.
Fortunately, the domineering personality type tells you everything you need to know about them. He HAD to be the center of conversation, so I let him as I gathered intel on “places he’s lived, past/ current employers,” etc … anything I can use in a search.
(I already had figured out his last name from the packages he received in the mailroom.)
By New Years Eve of 2021, I had enough information on him, and he had let down enough of his guard around me to go in for the kill.
“Why are you so different?” I asked as we gathered in the lobby before going into a private suite reserved for special events.
Now that is a very ballsy question to ask, but being autistic I am blunt to a fault and thought well, if I want to know something, I might as well just directly ask.
To quote the great Chelsie G. “you don’t G.E.T. if you don’t A.S.K.”
He shot me a side eye glance as he then said “it must be because I worked for the Ball Family of Disney fame.”
I smiled pretty and nodded, not letting him know that I know it’s Bass, not Ball.
We had all been drinking at that point, so I still didn’t have that “gotcha” moment, nor was I even ready to confirm my instincts.
Just because someone was “off” didn’t mean that it was a “bad” thing, and because I might disagree with someone’s approach doesn’t mean I’ll fully pass judgement until I have proof … ESPECIALLY not from someone that I will then have to see every day.
A few more months went by, and on March 13th, one of the neighbors held an event at a restaurant they owned.
The building group that was going had organized an Uber while my little sister/ maid of honor and I decided to run some errands and meet up with everyone later.
We arrived about a half hour or so after everyone else as Voice Modulator aggressively greeted us at the entrance.
“Let me get you ladies a drink,” he said.
Not one to turn down a free drink that I know costs $18 ($36 for the two of us plus tax and tip) – we let him as we all walked over to the bar.
“I love your outfits,” he said. “You’re very fashionable, but in your own way.”
He then pointed to my turtleneck and skirt.
“I mean, you have an Hermes turtleneck, and what’s that skirt? Tony Burch?”
I smiled pretty and nodded knowing the turtleneck was Zara purchased secondhand from Poshmark, and the skirt? I had no clue.
It was a gift from my bestie … and did he just say Tony Burch? Not Tory?
He then grabbed our drinks, and as he did I saw him intentionally corner me with his body language.
He is size wise bigger than me, and had purposefully placed himself in between Lindsay and I.
Which I thought was odd and VERY uncomfortable being autistic and ALLLLLLLLLL about my personal space.
I then asked what he did for a living specifically (something he had brushed off in our many “get” togethers).
“You wouldn’t know,” he said.
Lindsay then piped up laughing from her “behind him place” going “Jen will know.”
He then told me and to Lindsay’s credit, I did know what he did for a living.
I personally find it sketchy, but knew how lucrative it was/is for other people.
“I should introduce you to my business partner,” he said. “I think he’d get a kick out of you.”
Is he literally going to kick me? I wondered still in an uncomfortable personal space bubble violation.
I grabbed his phone number, using it as a way to break free so I could go back to my own …
“Our offices are on Robinson,” he said confidently and completely clueless that I was uncomfortable.
“Over by the Ivy.”
“What’s the Ivy?” asked Lindsay, an Ivy league graduate herself.
<tangent> I’m five years older than Lindsay, but aspects of our lives might as well be in different generations. I knew she genuinely didn’t have a clue, even though when I moved to LA in 2004, the Ivy was still considered a “thing” and a big one at that. It’s this restaurant you might have seen in paparazzi photos in some tabloid circa 2006.
16 years later? I can’t even remember the last time I have heard someone reference it. His age and questionable relevance were really showing. </tangent>
He then told Lindsay about what a “hot spot” it is, and as she and I walked to grab seats, I quietly whispered that it’s Robertson, not Robinson.
I was then curious (now being “formally” diagnosed with synesthesia) if his shape aka aura had anything different about it.
<tangent> It’s hard with synesthesia because everyone experiences it differently. I’m every day now writing my own owner’s manual for what I can and cannot do with it. NOW IS THE TIME TO TEST!!!! </tangent>
While he continued to dominate the conversation, I very intentionally stared at him “tuning in” to what?? … I had no idea, but was eager to test any new theory/possibility.
As we sat on the bar stools, I quickly saw a coin appear, like you would see on the TV show Ducktales.
“Well this is strange,” I thought but didn’t say.
<tangent> I didn’t know at the time that I am not just a synesthete, I am a projector synesthete. I literally see and hear things based on my brain’s hyper-connectivity. Great to know now, but the first time you intentionally “tune in” to see something, it was like OH HOLY FUCK THIS IS WEEEIIRRDDD.</tangent>
Coin, okay, he’s claiming to be an investor.
Being autistic, I’m very literal, so this checks.
I’m not sure what this means yet, but I know I’ll remain neutral until I find out.
On Monday March 14th at 1:47pm, I sent Voice Modulator a text thanking him for the drinks (and food – WAHOO!) yesterday.
He then gave me his business partners name, as I went full neurodivergent into research mode.
Technically I co-founded two companies … but still.
Now that I’m aware I’m autistic I have to be careful with who I let in my life.
A lot of times my instincts are very accurate, but the times that I have been off, I have REALLY been off … so I need to make sure to be extra careful.
If you can’t trust someone who calls themself a Human Lie Detector WHO CAN YOU TRUST!
I started my search on Facebook checking to see if his business partner and I had any mutual friends.
To my not so surprise (as I know A LOT of people from A LOT of walks of life), there was one.
And not just “any” mutual friend, one mutual friend with the same last name as him.
NO WAY, I said texting Lindsay.
I DATED HIS BUSINESS PARTNER’S SON!!!
AND I not only dated his business partner’s son I WROTE ABOUT HIM ON TALK NERDY TO ME!!!!!
HE WAS SOMEONE I WROTE ABOUT!!!
He and I ended things well – so much so that we’re still friends on Facebook (even after writing about our time together).
Obviously, I’m not going to say for his own privacy who he is, but the fact that I wrote about him meant I really liked him.
I was sad when it ended, but it was what it was.
I texted Voice Modulator for confirmation …
Had I not known I was autistic, I would have ended my search here.
I dated his business partner’s son, he (truly) is a good man.
Clearly he did not go into the family business.
Only, oh contraire mon non-frere, I now know I can’t accept any information until it is verified through multiple outlets, and EVERYONE gets vetted.
I continued my deep dive as I cut and pasted “Voice Modulator’s” name with all of the cities he mentioned living -one by one.
I wasn’t getting a single hit (of information confirmation) – which I thought was odd.
I then googled “Voice Modulator’s” final town, and got a match, not on the exact town but the county.
The county’s newspaper had picked up on the town’s arrest record for someone who had “Voice Modulator’s” name.
Still, this doesn’t mean that “Voice Modulator” is the one who got arrested. To further identify you need either a DOB or photo.
I then clicked the link, which VERY CLEARLY showed a photo of him with the group that they conned out of millions (the headline wasn’t specific with how much).
Talk about the proof being in the pudding, I thought.
HIS FACE WAS RIGHT THERE!! CAMERA READY!!
I then found out his business partner (who on the surface seemed legitimate) lost his license due to Voice Modulator’s shady behavior.
I went SO deep, that I even found comments in a forum his online reputation manager set up inquiring on how to hide his content (which explained why certain matches didn’t “hit”).
I figured that out by seeing who the admin was on a bogus page he set up.
Bogus meaning the content was hilariously fake, but the site was very real.
<tangent> Which is stupid, btw. As someone who has done online reputation management, it’s smarter to leave a few social profiles or place some sort of content for someone to find and go “that’s it!”
To see nothing is strange.
With how incestuous tagging is now, there is almost ALWAYS something on someone.
Not seeing anything was a red flag to me, especially considering his personality type.
Also, as an admin, set up a different profile name for forums.
Using the same username made it easier to find. </tangent>
Jeff then headed back east to handle his own business which was great for me because, I was locked in game mode for over 48 hours.
I emerged with information on all of his restraining orders, and even found a piece his prison cellmate wrote mentioning a very specific “signature” feature he has.
His story had even been turned into a book (which I immediately purchased on my kindle and began reading).
A sentence I NEVER thought I would say.
I knew that in the state of California, you have to check different variations of the name and DOB.
For example, El Senor Dick with the Brick has a very generic name.
Sometimes it’s listed as Jon Doe. Other times it’s listed as John Doey. I have to look at the DOB, but even then, sometimes it gets mis-entered as 1/2/1960, or 2/1/1960.
It’s not easy, but you can hypothesize that more likely than not it is him and factor in general user error.
What was interesting in Voice Modulator’s case, was they had (what I would call) a unique QR code for HIS specific listing.
I’ve unfortunately spent more time researching inmates than I care to admit, BUT I WAS SO IMPRESSED!!! Good job, unnamed county police station!! This was INCREDIBLY easy to pin on him without question. The pictures speak a thousand words but being able to directly connect his prison records was the ace in the hole.</tangent>
I called to tell Jeff my findings as I physically began shaking.
“He’s a conman with over 25 different arrests in the last 20 years. He has five restraining orders out against him. He’s been violent against women, my instincts were right.”
Jeff was equally as shocked at how public everything was, and when I sent him the link to the book he is mentioned in, he laughed saying “that’s my friend!!”
Jeff used to fly and party in Vegas with the director that optioned the life rights to the story.
“Because of course,” I said happy to be laughing and no longer shaking.
I then called the building manager to tell her what I found.
I didn’t want to text anything to leave a trail.
Which technically, it’s an interesting situation to be in, because legally renters have a lot of rights (particularly during Covid).
Just because someone did wrong things in the past doesn’t mean they can’t rent an apartment now.
Legally speaking, he (to the best of my knowledge) wasn’t violating anything.
He’s just a conman, and a dangerous one at that, but at what point does someone’s past predict their future?
As much as I didn’t want to, I could still see both sides of the Ducktale’s coin.
She thanked me for the information, as she verified it for herself.
I said to Jeff after that there was NO WAY I was going to put our safety in jeopardy.
I’m just going to turn down the meeting, and figure out how to co-exist with this man who I have now outed as a fake piece of shit.
I used Voice Modulator’s dismissal of women in my favor.
I texted him that my business partners, who I didn’t say are Butch Gilliam and Rooster McConaughey, “didn’t think I should take on any strategic partners.”
::insert simpleton voice:: Us simple women can’t be making any big decisions on our own like that cuz we don’t have as many brain cellz as our male kounterpartz.
Here is the text:
And here is the text that I published in my post last year:
I’m not entirely sure what reading level Voice Modulator was operating from, but just incase he did HIS due diligence on me and saw my post- he would assume it was about someone else, and not him.
Los Angeles is filled with a lot of “confident men and women.”
(The term conman comes from the phrase “confident man.”)
For six months, I saw Voice Modulator on an almost daily basis.
It took some getting used to, but I realized pretty quickly that I’m a damn good actor.
That year spent at Lee Strasberg in NYC REALLY paid for itself.
He quickly lost interest in me as a funding source, which was great, because it made it easier for me to observe him.
One by one people in the building “took meetings” with him.
Through the grapevine I consistently heard that “something seemed off.”
No shit Sherlock, I thought but couldn’t say.
In July of 2022, Jeff and I went to go to the Wizard of Oz exhibit at the Academy Museum.
Before we left, we saw a group of residents sitting outside at the picnic table having (you guessed it) a picnic.
“Come join!!” the building manager said.
Never one to turn down a fresh piece of sausage …
… I walked over to the BBQ to see if our building manager needed any help.
She laughed saying “it’s your favorite person.”
Now, I’ve learned in my later years that there’s something called “giving your power away.”
If I didn’t sit down with my friends, it would have been weird, and I would have given my power away.
This guy is a piece of shit.
That’s his problem, not mine.
Jeff joined minutes later, and as per Voice Modulator’s usual, he outstretched his hand asking Jeff for the 100th time what his name was.
This was an attempted alpha move.
Jeff saw through it.
I continued to listen to the conversation Voice Modulator was moderating while sitting in my Dorothy ensemble …
… because of course.
<tangent> Technically, this costume is a representation of Dorothy 100 years after she went over the rainbow.
She’s been over it, under it, explored every shade, even went monochromatic for a short period of time, and now just embraces all of the spectrum the rainbow exists on. </tangent>
I made sure to take every bite out of the sausage that was now on my paper plate.
This next part btw has legitimately become legendary within our group of friends.
“Now, so and so (aka neighbor who shall remain nameless), I would trust you would give me a bag of money. That’s how I judge people, I just need to know, at the end of the day, who is going to give me a bag of money.”
I kept as straight a face as possible, as I thought, “WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN THAT PEOPLE GIVE BAGS OF MONEY?!” He’s LITERALLY a caricature of a human being and here I am the one showing up AS A CHARACTER.
He then directed the conversation towards me, as he asked yet again what I did for a living.
“I’m an engineer,” I said. “I figure things out.”
I finished up my sausage as I thanked our manager for hosting.
We really did have tickets to the exhibit and could only stay for a few minutes.
Which what an eventful few minutes those were.
All in all, I’m proud of myself for not getting involved with another shitty person.
Because I now understand what conditions I have, I can use it to my benefit (while also understanding my limitations).
I’m not entirely sure what happened to Voice Modulator, or Connie for that matter.
I know Connie moved out shortly after I set up her Nest, and Voice Modulator moved out at the end of last year.
Why or how?
I don’t know.
Rumors around the building were just that …
What’s real is the gift of synesthesia.
My brain warned me with the coin, not that it represented him as an investor so literally, but it showed me that he was two sided.
THANK GOD after all these years I now know how to listen.
Have questions about autism or synesthesia? Shoot me a DM on the gram. I’d love to help!! XX
PS. Want to support AMAZING peeps? Check out my friend Broke Ass Stuart.
When he ran for office his main issue was the poop problem in San Fransisco.