Manny Regalado -The Con Friend
We live in a time when lying is no longer a deal breaker for some people. We’ve stopped counting the thousands of lies Trump tells and we believe false claims about every product, service and experience because we want too. We want to believe life can be good, easy and we can be successful. It’s not easy to get to the truth, because sometimes there never was a truth to begin with. Sometimes everything you believed about some thing or some one is plain made up. Everything.
I suppose most of the time lies matter little. The eye cream that is suppose to make me look ten years younger and doesn’t, is harmless depending on the price. The car that shouts, “your’e a successful somebody” when you can barely make the payments is punishment enough. The new hire who oversells their education and skills can really fake it til’ they make it, or they can do real damage to a company and reputation. These little white lies can become big dark ugly wounds to others and eventually to the liar - if they have a conscience. But con artists don’t have a conscience.
Cons are not really good liars - they need a believer and that’s you!
Their stories are fantastical and endless and suspect. A con looks for good trusting people. People who tend to believe in the truth. I have yet to meet one person Manny Regalado has duped who isn’t the salt of the earth and successful in their own right. After they recognize they’ve been ripped off and fooled, they all look back and admit he made them feel uncomfortable and they couldn’t get him out of their mind. His behavior neediles and pokes. He stands in other people’s shadow with no real accomplishments of his own. Knowing Manny means constantly wondering, explaining and justifying why he does what he does to the people he globs onto.
Maureen Down wrote con artists…”are an amusing American Tradition of rapscallions doing their little side hustles. But now narcissistic con artists are dominating the main stage, soaring to great heights and spectacularly exploding.”
We are all waiting for Manny Regalado to explode.
Rarely does a conman keep a low profile. They live large and recognition is an important ingredient to finding victims. Regalado makes a point of engaging with someone in every situation. He knows the clerks in every store by name. He knows your neighbors, your family and your friends. He lands and takes off from your home and business. He’s suddenly every where letting people know YOU are HIS friend. He opened a Pro Account at Home Depot and Dunn Lumber and put my name and credit card on his account. The tens of thousands of dollars of my money he ran through that account made him appear successful, when in reality he came to Seattle with nothing. He’s not rich, never been rich, never owned a home, never owned a legitimate business, never been famous and never soared with celebrities and never been anyone’s partner with the exception of his father, who bears the same name and who he blames for his bad reputation. There seems to be some truth that he inherited his con artistry from good ‘ole dad.
He stands in the light of other people’s success and depends on referrals not built on quality workmanship but on relationships. Home Depot innocently became another player in his con. He flirts with the women cashiers and as they said, “he hit on me” finding him offensive. He cruises through the store in the Whistle Wear work clothes he buys using the Friends and Family discount by dropping the name of the Whisker City volunteer who actually knows the manager. He looks like a Pro Contractor and he acts like he has money. Like all cons, the money he throws around is yours. He has the same in-your-face personna at Dunn Lumber. Everyone knows when Manny Regalado has arrived.
The few posts on the “Conned” blog is beginning to make the rounds in Los Angeles County, primarily because one Los Angeles County victim read the page I angrily put up 3 weeks ago. I was mad after I discovered the mess he made. The new contractor had to tell me the cold hard truth. I needed to get another loan to fix my house. All total, by the time this house is finished, I will have spent over 200K just because I stupidly got tangled up with Manny Regalado.
As with any investigation, one person leads to another person and another story of the damage Manny Regalado has done to people’s lives. Yesterday I spoke with another LA victim. Manny stole nearly a hundred thousand dollars from his family. His situation was similar to mine. His house was torn up for months and Regalado made excuse after excuse for why this wasn’t done, and what wasn’t delivered, breaking promise after promise. Regalado stopped returning calls and stopped showing up and the subs stopped showing too. Then one day he called and half apologized telling the vic he would make things right. He said he personally delivered a check to the supplier and everything would be delivered the next day. The friend confirmed with the supplier and waited. When the delivery didn’t show up, he called the supplier. Manny’s check bounced. He had already skipped. This victim learned the reason the subs stopped coming is because Manny stiffed them too.
His victim told me he Googles “Manny Regalado” “MR Interior Design” “MRID” about once a month to see where Manny’s popped up.
I also talked with someone yesterday who considers Manny his best friend. He met Regalado through the same person I did. I’ve met the con friend’s wife. Manny brought her to my house unannounced during the first month of construction, showing off his great skills. Regalado has worked on four homes in a short couple of blocks in the Wedgewood neighborhood where con friend lives. I had already heard about the Friday night game nights, and that the con friend sold him an expensive sports car so I knew con friend is in deep and this would be a hard call to make. Manny told me that con friend and con friend’s wife are close friends and that con friend is rich, that con man goes boating with them and plans on investing in con friend’s business. I called, and announced who I was and he was ready for me, “I know who you are”. He fiercely defended Regalado and just as fiercely chastised me for what I’m writing about this con. He thinks Regalado and I need a mediator and we should settle our differences privately. Not surprising, this fool minimized this tragedy to a simple misunderstanding between two friends. Aside from the fact that Manny Regalado is not now and never has been my friend, our differences are $140k in damages and another near 100K in repairs. Con friend wants me to sit down with con man who knows next to nothing about home remodeling? Right. Humpty is going to take a very big fall.
Manny confirmed his incompetence the day kicked him out of my house, he admitted,
“I never told you I knew how to do all this stuff”…would have been nice to know before he wrecked my house and bank account.
Yesterday the roofing contractor said the roof this con-dope installed is “all wrong”. Still not sure what is going to be done about it. All the plumbing leaks. All visible electrical is getting pulled and every chrome fixture is scarred by pliers. The list of not just bad workmanship is long but the purposeful damage is mind-boggling. My Allstate Agent told me that “purposeful damage” is a thing with contractors. The goal is to increase the claim and Allstate sees this all the time. I have no idea why he purposely scarred my floors, scratched my appliances, and didn’t bother to get advice on how to build a roof. I learned from another victim he stuffed sawdust, garbage and junk into one of her heater vents. That is just weird.
Manny’s defender and I agreed on a few things. He knows Regalado lies, but he frames those lies like this. When Regalado tells me he’s wealthy and moved to Seattle to buy a huge plot of land in Snohomish County so he can build a compound for his wife and kids and an airstrip for the plane he’s storing and I discover he owns nothing, has no money, no wife and four kids by three different women - although I don’t know if that’s true either - I call that a lie. His friend calls it “a dream”. When I told him Regalado has eleven unpaid judgments in Los Angeles County and already victimizing people in Seattle, he responds with, “I know Manny’s history, he has a good heart”. When I told him Manny tells everyone he owns the home he lives in when in reality he’s stiffed his landlord the last four months at $2600 a pop, he said, “you can say what you want, but Manny is a good person”. The good person is the young man with a wife and new baby who bought his first rental home and got stuck with a deadbeat renter coming out of the gate while making those payments every month. The good person is the one who wrote him a check expecting him to perform as promised, not the guy eating $100 steaks, buying $25 drinks, big tipping the waitresses and not paying child support.
Because of that conversation I’m researching why people refuse to admit the truth when facts are right under their nose. Stay tuned.
I’m going to make some assumptions here around Manny’s con friend, based on the interviews I’ve had with Regalado’s victims. His con friend is giving him money or loaning him money. If Regalado is making payments on anything, the payments are late, short or soon will be. He’s brought his con wife flowers and con friend wine. He’s offered to do tasks around the house for free and they’ve opened up every part of their life to him. He’s talked about various ways to go into business or become part of the existing one. He’s met con friend’s friends and may be doing small jobs for them for cheap or free. They’ve noticed his work is not that good and even real bad, but Manny “always comes back and fixes his mistakes”. They overlook his lies because he likes them so much. And they often just don’t mention anything about how crappy his work really is. “Nothing but love” and “friend” and little boy voice are Manny’s go-to bandaids for buying that con time.
I predict, this mark is going to go down like a bag of rocks - like Phillip, Mike, Gary, Agi, the doctor and his wife, the blind company, the appliance company, the attorney, the HGTV show that was such a debacle it never aired, and yours truly.