A man intent on taking advantage of the kindness of strangers is now being charged with fraud by Queens prosecutors. Michael Cosmi would say very loudly on a cellphone that he was a doctor who had been robbed at JFK, leaving him with no way to get to NJ to see his patients. Various victims gave him $75-100 dollars to get back to NJ, after Cosmi promised to pay them back. Cosmi was busted after one unsuspecting police captain, who had given him $100 two weeks earlier, heard him telling the same sob story on the LIRR. Captain Bill tobin handed Cosmi over to authorities at Penn Station, telling the Long Island Press, "I wasn't carrying my gun, which was probably good, because I wanted to stick it in his ear." That is the problem with trying your scam in the same place all the time.
Queens DA Richard Brown said:
The ‘stranger in distress’ scam is commonly employed by
scam artists who prey on the good nature of susceptible individuals. By allegedly pretending to be
a physician in need in order to gain people’s confidence and exploit their kindness, the defendant did
far more damage than just allegedly steal money from his victims – he stole their trust in others,
making them less likely to help the truly needed in the future.
You can read the press statement from the Queens DA's office yourself - Cosmi scammed a rabbi and flight attendant as well! And the police found a notebook of Cosmi's marks, with their addresses. We wonder if he was still going to claim he would repay them back.
Another popular scam: The "You broke my bottle of medication and need to give me $40!".