Man Accused of Impersonating Model, Swindling Wealthy Men Online

They had been in contact for months when the woman who identified herself as model "Bree Condon" made the first request for money.

Marc Puleo said the pair met online and exchanged telephone calls and e-mails. "Bree," he said, sent him pictures of herself. Though they never met in person, Puleo said that when "Bree" told him she was having financial difficulties, he stepped up to help.

According to an affidavit filed with the Municipal Court of Travis County in Austin, Texas, Puleo sent more than $10,000 to a "Bree Condon" he met on the social networking site in January 2008.

Puleo, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment from, said in the affidavit that during the time the two were in touch, he truly believed the person he was talking to was Bree Condon, a 23-year-old model from Newport Beach, Calif.

But earlier this month, a 24-year-old man, Justin A. Brown, was indicted by a grand jury of felony theft in Austin, Texas, for allegedly impersonating the real Bree Condon, a Guess jeans model, online.

Investigators believe Brown spent several years swindling wealthy men online through Facebook, MySpace, and other Web-based social networks, using fake accounts to allegedly trick the men into giving him money and other gifts.

Detective: Victims Don't Want to Come Forward

Brown was ultimately charged with theft of $1,500 to $20,000, but authorities estimate the total could be much more. And though they say this case is unique, they also say that online scams are a serious problem.

"A lot of victims don't want to come forward at this point," said Det. Carl Satterlee, the Austin detective assigned to the case. He said some men are embarrassed to admit that they fell for an online scam -- and one allegedly perpetrated by a man, no less.

Condon's agent did not immediately respond to requests for comment from, but in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, a private investigator hired by the model said she was working with authorities.

Condon "pursued this with law enforcement because she was very concerned about other people being conned by this impersonator, especially since he was apparently taking money from people and engaging in behavior that Bree would never participate in," the investigator, Jon Perkins, told the Times.

Brown was indicted Jan. 7 and is currently in jail in Austin. His court-appointed attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment from

Brown Caught in Sting Op Planned by Would-Be Victim

Satterlee alleges that Brown was able to stay under the radar for so long because he used his own talents and the Internet to his advantage.

"He was convincing because has such a feminine voice. He was also very smart," Satterlee said. "He was able to get a lot of personal information about Bree and obtain personal photos of her that helped convince these guys who he said he was."

But ultimately, authorities say Brown wasn't smart enough to evade detection forever. One evening last fall, he reportedly sent the message that did him in.

John Carbona, a Fort Myers, Fla., private investor, said that Brown reached out to him through a location-based social network called Who's Here.

Posing as "Bree," he allegedly told Carbona that a friend of his gave her his number and, though she was an emerging actress and model, was in a tight financial spot.

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