Friday, 21 June 2013

Spain's famous 'soldier' con artist arrested in Madrid

Popularly known as "Capitán Timo", and believed to have been scamming for over half a century, Spain's most famous con artist, José Manuel Quintia, has finally been arrested in Madrid.

Quintia, known throughout Spain as Capitán Timo, presented himself as a high-ranking military official to swindle people into handing over their cash.
On Thursday, Spanish police arrested Quintia for his role in six crimes in Madrid over recent months, where he is believed to have raked in around €30,000 ($40,000). 
The media describes Quintia as being "around 70 years old" and he has made a living for himself, pretending to be military top brass to win the confidence of his targets. His normal methods are to offer people non-existent military-related contracts for services including washing machines, army hairdressers, canteens etc. and then charges for his services. 
He was finally done in when a woman contacted the police a few weeks ago, describing how a man had offered her the possibility of taking over a military canteen at a Madrid army barracks. Reportedly the man asked that she provide personal documentation and a €900 ($1,180) fee to "facilitate the process". The woman handed over the cash, but feared afterwards that she might have been scammed.
t seems that Capitán Timo has been going since at least the 1960's and is well-known for his scams. In 1999, facing similar charges of fraud, Quintia faked an epileptic fit. He apparently threw himself to the floor and started shaking violently. However, the court doctor declare him fit and healthy and the trial continued without him present in the courtroom. In the article it mentions that the prosecutor requested 10 years in prison, but no mention is made of whether he actually went to jail. 
El País does mention that in 1992 a case against Quintia was tried and he was sentenced to six years in prison, but that this apparently did not put an end to his career.
In the 1999 article, El País recalled one of Capitán Timo's more extravagant hoaxes. In 1991, he disguised himself as a frigate captain and, using the moniker José Manuel Cervera de Prada, drove up to the headquarters of a Madrid telecommunications company in a luxury Mercedes Benz, decorated with Spanish flags. Quintia, escorted by four "bodyguards" in suits and dark glasses, then bought 132 telephones for 'military vehicles', using cash "from reserve funds", and through other similar purchases. 
With this extravagant purchase, he managed to win over the manager of the business. A while later, the con artist proposed a business plan to the manager of the telecommunications company, saying he could, with his help, buy telephones more cheaply from US army bases in Spain. Quintia asked a mere 20 million pesetas (around €12,000) for this service, and then simply disappeared.

To the source: