Fake George Clooney Tracked Down in Thailand

By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2019 6:18 PM CDT
Authorities Track Down Fugitive 'George Clooney'
Francesco Galdeli, center, is arrested by police officers in Thailand.   (Crime Suppression Division of Thailand via AP)

After six years on the run, an Italian man accused of impersonating actor George Clooney to sell a line of clothing has been arrested. After a surveillance operation that included the use of a drone, police surrounded a luxury villa in Pattaya, Thailand, where Francesco Galdelli, 58, and his wife, Vanja Goffi, 45, were holed up. The two also are accused of other scams and frauds in Italy, the BBC reports. They bankrolled their life in Thailand by selling fake Rolex watches online, authorities said. The real George Clooney sued the couple, saying they used his name to advertise their fashion business, and testified against them in Italy in 2010. The couple sold the clothing line, called GC, in private sales to individuals. They claimed the clothes had Clooney's endorsement, displaying his signature and doctored photos showing them with the star.

Galdelli and Goffi were convicted and sentenced to prison in 2014, but fled the country before they could be arrested. "Until 2013, they would go back and forth to Thailand," an Italian police spokesperson told CNN. "They were considered respectable citizens and even benefactors amid the Italian community in Thailand. Galdelli even made massive donations for a charity supporting disabled children and children with HIV. Then, they went on the run." The arrest was made by Italian and Thai authorities. Galdelli also was arrested in Thailand in 2014, but he escaped after bribing guards in charge of transferring him. (More scam stories.)

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