A career grifter who pulled a carpet knife on a Swedish naval official and his father in Midtown was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday. Louis Parson has a long history of violent crimes, and a prosecutor said, "Mr. Parson is a dinosaur. He's still living in the '70s and '80s when scam artists and people of his ilk wandered around New York City scamming and robbing tourists and citizens."
Back in 2009, Swedish Lt. Commander Peter Palm and his father were returning to the Hotel Pennsylvania when Parson bumped into them outside and claimed they made him drop his bottle of alcohol. He demanded $40, but Paul realized he was being scammed (it's a grifter classic!)and refused, saying, "It wasn't my fault." Parson then followed them through the lobby and tried to get them to settle for $20 before threatening them with a box cutter, allegedly saying, "Am I going to have to f--- you up over this?" Undercover officers also saw the scam and arrested Parson, who insisted that he was only acting in self-defense.
The Manhattan DA's office was asking for 25 years to life, but Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lewis Stone opted for 20 years; Stone said, "New York City's economy depends on the tourist trade, and to the extent that it's a city of scam artists, it hurts each and every one of us." Parson had admitted to committing the scam hundreds of times.