Con Artist Poses as Rock Star

imageA man identifying himself as Rob Valenti claimed to have been the guitarist for REO Speedwagon and managed to con two men out of hundreds of dollars.

On Saturday, he contacted real estate agents, saying he was interested in purchasing property as a tax investment. After they'd showed him properties from $800,000 upwards, he started preliminary paperwork on at least two properties, before the agents bought him dinner and arranged for him to have a room for the night.

That evening, he met with two men and two women at a local restaurant and managed to persuade them he wanted to buy them cars, which he'd use as a tax write-off.

He took the two men to several car dealerships and started the paperwork on three cars. He then persuaded the men to give him $300 apiece for 'documentation fees'.

On Sunday, both the car dealerships and the real estate agents began to get suspicious of Rob's identity when they failed to be able to contact him, and called the police. The two men learnt, on the Monday, that the cars had never been paid for. They, too, contacted the police.

Only at this point did they think to check up on the story 'Rob' gave. Band websites for REO Speedwagon showed no band members, previous or current, with the name 'Rob' or 'Valenti'.

The suspect is described as about 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with a thin build and gray hair. He walks with a distinctive limp and told at least one witness it was due to hip replacement surgery. His photo is being distributed by investigators.

Police are seeking any information on the suspect’s identity or whereabouts or information from anyone else who may have had contact with the suspect.

Con Artists

Posted on Wed Sep 20, 2006


As lead singer of REO Speedwagon, I can attest to the fact that this man was never in our band. He does, however, resemble a guy who used to hang around our gigs and claim loudly that he was the one who taought me to sing through my nose, which is completely untrue. I sing through my ass, it just looks like my nose. Hope that straightens things out for you folks, eh.
Posted by Kevin  on  Wed Sep 20, 2006  at  08:14 PM
A distinctive limp due to hip replacement surgery? Not likely. I had a hell of a limp BEFORE hip replacement, due to arthritis pain. A month or so of recovery after surgery, and no more limp.
Posted by Kris  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  09:50 PM
He's in Scottsdale... He tried to scam my friends this weekend.
Posted by Scottsdale  on  Mon Sep 25, 2006  at  11:59 AM
He is, or was, in Mesa conning a couple of bartenders and real estate agents. FYI.......
Posted by T  on  Fri Oct 06, 2006  at  09:46 AM
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