B.C. con man's warning: 'If they catch me, I will make
National Post ,with files from The Province; The
Maria Reyes, common-law wife of Christopher Rocancourt,
appeared in Playboy magazine in 1988.
VICTORIA - An alleged con artist wanted by the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation and police in several
U.S. states said before he was arrested that he is
prepared to "do my time" and not make any
deals with police.
who was arrested by police in British Columbia in a
20-second takedown last week, also said: "I would
not consider myself a criminal -- I steal with my mind.
If I take things, if that is your definition of a
criminal, then I am a criminal."
In the interview last year with The New York Times,
he speculated on his chances of being arrested and said:
"That is in the hands of God. If they catch me, I
will make no deal. I will do my time."
And of his charm, Mr Rocancourt
said: "I'm not too tall. I have a broken nose, but
I've had pretty good luck. I'm well read and I'm a
gentleman. Women find this attractive. What can I
Mr. Rocancourt was
born in Honfleur, France in 1967, the son of a drunken
housepainter father and a 17-year-old prostitute mother.
He spent time in an orphanage before being adopted at
age 12 by a military man. At the age of 18, he fled for
the streets of Paris, where he decided to reinvent
Last Thursday night Mr. Rocancourt,
33, who is wanted in New York, Los Angeles and Virginia,
was arrested in a car near the elegant, Tudor-style
beachfront hotel where he was staying in Oak Bay, a
quiet and wealthy suburb of Victoria.
"It was all over in about 20 seconds," said
Sergeant Ron Coul, an Oak Bay police detective. "He
was more than a little shocked."
Hours earlier, Sgt. Coul was called to a briefing
with other officers, including members of the Greater
Victoria Emergency Response Team, after police
surveillance had confirmed Mr. Rocancourt
was staying at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel with his wife and
Sgt. Coul said Mr. Rocancourt's
take down was without incident after he had pulled over
in the quiet neighbourhood near the hotel.
wanted by the RCMP's commercial crime unit on fraud
charges stemming from complaints in Vancouver and the
ski-resort town of Whistler, was grabbed from his car by
the emergency response team. His common-law wife, Maria
Reyes, and their son, Zeus, were taken into custody at
their hotel room shortly afterward. The child was placed
in the care of the pro-vince's Ministry for Children and
Mr. Rocancourt has
been described as a charming Frenchman known for his
impersonations, exotic hideouts and high lifestyle. One
of his trademarks was always being accompanied by
beautiful women. U.S. police allege Mr. Rocancourt
has duped victims out of hundreds of thousands of
dollars by passing himself off as a son of film producer
Dino De Laurentiis and film star Sophia Loren as well as
a member of the Rockefeller family.
He has also posed as a boxing champion and as the
nephew of clothes designer Oscar de la Renta.
He is alleged to have lived in Los Angeles with actor
Mickey Rourke and boasted of business deals with Jean
Claude Van Damme. His address book held private numbers
for Robert De Niro and Dolph Lundgren, although there is
no evidence he met either man.
In Los Angeles, he held court at the Regent Beverley
Wilshire hotel for six months, entertaining a string of
mysterious, worldly friends who fell for his lavish
hospitality, his taste for expensive champagne and his
promises of spectacular business deals.
He has been dubbed by some as "Robbing
Hood" and is the subject of an ABC-TV Primetime
segment to be aired tonight. Mr. Rocancourt
has had brushes with the law in France and Switzerland
and has been banned from the latter until 2016. In
Switzerland, he was alleged to have been involved in a
robbery that netted several hundred thousand francs
worth of jewelry.
In addition, he is facing a series of charges in the
United States, ranging from printing false passports to
fraud, bail-jumping and assault with a deadly weapon.
Mr. Rocancourt is
to appear in provincial court in Vancouver today. Police
were interviewing Mr. Rocancourt
on charges of fraud, theft and personation.
Ms. Reyes, 36, who also goes by the name of Pia and
appeared in a 1988 Playboy magazine photo spread, was
released on bail with a condition that she not leave
B.C. and was ordered to appear in court in Vancouver on