John Bonanno will rip you off. You have been warned.
Here's how he got me - I've since learned he's scammed many others in similar ways. John Anthony Bonanno, (D.O.B: 7/22/1946), operating under the business name of J.A.B., LLC, ripped me off for many tens of thousands of US dollars by making me his closest friend, fraudulently offering me a percentage of his oil brokerage contracts if I funded all of his travel and business expenses, and then disappearing with the money as soon as his commissions were (supposedly) paid. Poof! He's gone.
Here's what he looks like - 6'1", 225 lbs, older gentleman, full head of grey-brown hair, brown eyes, tanned skin, very hairy chest, usually wears a blue or black polo and jeans, thin build except he's got a pronounced distended belly. Born and raised in Ohio. Huge family of brothers (many of whom I've met; one of whom was in on the scam, but I'll leave him out of it for now). Has no home, lives exclusively in hotels, (how that didn't tip me off I do not know), and frequents Phoenix, AZ, and Boca Raton, FL, where his love interest lives. Loves fine dining and golf.
Here's his MO: He first befriends you - he's unbelievably good at taking interest in you, acting concerned for you and your family, subtly or not-so subtly flattering you, making you feel important by asking your advice or opinion on weighty things, and getting you to sympathize with his teary eyes when he talks about how good his salt-of-the-earth parents were, how much he cares about doing good for the world, or whatever you happened to be interested in, etc., etc. He'll then get you intrigued with his top-secret, high-dollar business projects, which he'll eventually reveal to be some huge investment project that he's brokering. But then one day he shows up looking desperate, explaining that he's broke, flat broke - and suddenly you're offering financial assistance to your charming, alluring, well-connected new friend with hopes of being the silent business partner and getting a cut of the big deal. You'll give him whatever money you can in order to get a piece of the action. He'll denounce lawyers and contracts, saying that's not how he does business - he does everything the old way, with a handshake and by his word. He WILL make you trust him. He'll agree to whatever terms you want. You'll pin him down to sign a few contracts, thinking you've got him, you're protected if anything goes amiss - but it won't matter in the end, since he'll just cut and run when after he's sucked you dry. Poof! Gone!
He's schemes aren't always so grand, of course. I've found out that he's "borrowed" money from the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. If you're a clerk at a hotel, a bellman, a cab driver - whatever - he'll get you. He doesn't discriminate.
There's always an element of truth to what John Bonanno is working on. In my case, I know there was a Vietnamese company called Venergy Group (venergy.com.vn) that he had close contacts with, and I know that he was
acting on their behalf. I might still be under his spell, but I actually do believe he successfully completed a contract on behalf of this company and could have become very wealthy as a result - if so, maybe his scamming days are done - but don't bet on it. John always talked incessantly about some rich billionaire from Canada named "Walter," (he'd never give me his last name, to protect the top-secret deal negotiations), whom he chased across the USA on my dime trying to convince him to lease oil and natural gas from this Venergy Group company. Remember, every penny of his travel, food, medical, and other expenses to complete this deal were paid out by me, which was due back to me when the commissions started rolling in, according to our partnership, plus 10% of all commissions earned from Venergy. At one point when I got suspicious and questioned his sincerity, John signed and notarized a document instructing Venergy to give me 10% of all his commissions on this and all future contracts they signed with him. Of course, when I emailed Venergy's Vice Chairman, a Mr. Anh Hoang Quoc, (whom John had previously introduced me to via email to make me feel all fuzzy inside and secure), and explained to him that Mr. Bonanno had disappeared and refused to return my calls, and asking him if Venergy intended to honor this agreement - well, he simply ignored me. And he's in Vietnam, so what can I do about it?
And the authorities? The FBI has been notified, but they basically told me it was arguably a civil matter (if this isn't fraud, what is?), and/or they've got too much on their plate, and/or don't expect anything to happen for months. I've heard they're 3 to 5 years behind on cases like this. This guy isn't getting any younger - by the time they start looking for him he'll be well into his 70's, and he'll probably have scammed dozens more people just like me.
Again - he's done this before he did it to me, and he'll do it again to you. John Bonanno will rip you off. You have been warned.