WHO WILL STOP MANNY REGALADO?
If Manny Regalado calls you friend…
YOU are his next Mark.
The best way to protect yourself from Manny Regalado is to know his game. I’ve connected with enough victims that I have an accurate portrayal of the con man’s modus operandi. First and most important is that if Manny Regalado’s lips are moving he’s lying.
As one of Manny Regalado’s first victims, and having lived through the manipulation and uncountable lies, he isn’t really all that clever. He’s left a trail of easily found victims and all are angry and they want payback. I admit, I want some serious revenge myself, primarily because he robbed me of time with my ailing mother and nearly as important, he ruined my once lovely home. The victims in Los Angeles truly trusted this man, in Bernie Madoff fashion. Regretfully, many recommended him to their friends and Regalado bilked them too. And so on and so on and so on. Guilt and shame are tough to shake off.
Regalado is aware he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing. So arrogant he can’t search the How To’s on Youtube. So he offers to work cheap knowing his targets will chock the shoddy workmanship up too , “you get what you pay for”. That may be true in Seattle, but LA victims are mostly well-off and accomplished and expect a level of excellence the pretend decorator couldn’t deliver. So he didn’t even try. He took their money and disappeared. It’s not that he didn’t do anything. He wrote suppliers bounced checks from one end of Los Angeles County to the other.
His bids are low, I mean really low and he brags that he’s worth 5 times what he’s charging you. He sometimes offers to work for free because as he says, “I’m rich and retired and I don’t need the money” adding, “I’m here to make friends and help people”. When I complained repeatedly that the job was taking too long, he declared, “April, I’m going to refund your money and work for free until the job is done”. I told him “great, let’s get that refund going”. Of course you know before I finish this sentence, he never refunded a dime. He buys time, and his excuses were laughable. “I can only get money from the branch in downtown Seattle and the traffic is terrible”. “I’m waiting on money from Pay Pal”. Or my favorite, “my money is tied up in an overseas account and it takes days to get the transfer done”. I transfer money to Italy nearly every week easily with the stroke of a pen or a phone call to my bank. Did I call him out? No. I went back to my standard demand, “just get the fucking job done.”
It is impossible not keep up with his ever-changing stories. They are unusual on the face and when I questioned him he would say I was the one who forgot or misunderstood what he said. On our first meeting he said he was married with four children and that his wife was in Mexico settling her grandmother’s estate. Later he told me his wife Brenda, was really just his girlfriend and later said he met Brenda online and had never met her in person and she scammed him out of more than 80K, money he sent to her to help with her grand-father’s estate. He said he hired an attorney to sue Paypal and PayPal was going to refund the money because it was he who had been scammed. I called PayPal. Told them the story. PayPal said, “it doesn’t work like that”. Was he ever married and does he have four children? I don’t know but I noticed that when he talked about his life and properties and wealth he never said “we" but always the “I” word. Did I call him out on the discrepency? Kinda sorta. Me -“I thought you said you were married?” Him - “We have children so I just say that.”
He claimed he owned a multi-million dollar home in Ibiza, Spain. I asked him why he didn’t retire in Ibiza, and he replied he was sick of hanging out with rich people. I pressed and suggested maybe I should vacation there, and he told me I couldn’t afford the rent. I pressed further saying, “how much does it rent for”? His answer, “the rental agent is terrible and I’m thinking of getting a new one”. I pressed on and he said, “I’m trying to sell it so I don’t want anyone staying there”. Ever the curious I found an agent in Ibiza and asked her to search Manny Leon Regalado II and versions thereof and surprise - Zippo property owners in Ibiza named Manny Regalado.
He relies on people to be impressed and question their suspicions. Even though he so fully disrupted my life, I blamed my discomfort on my own situation. I was in deep grief and probably had a bit of PTSD, when he popped up like a boil on a butt. On September 21, 2017, Whisker City was broken into and a precious cat was mutilated and stomped to death. Three weeks later my brother died. I suddenly became a caregiver driving 3 hours roundtrip every two weeks staying 3 - 4 days at a time in my home town. Regalado showed up on March 29, 2018 at Whisker City and greased the shoot for the shit show he was about to unleash. As much as he damaged my world, I wised up before he moved into my home - something he floated repeatedly since I have a rather large home, or found his way between my legs, an undigestible notion. The man constantly tested my ability to resist his annoying and unwelcome advances.
Regalado calls anyone and everyone friend. He throws around the word “friend” so much it is clear he has no idea what friendship is. I can’t think of a time he didn’t refer to me as his friend, or the subcontractors, or the guy at the 7-11, or the volunteers or the mailman. However he yearns for a relationship he has no real friends. He drips of insecurity, dishonesty unmasked by his incompetence and obnoxiously upbeat chatter with just enough servitude to appear almost gracious. He creates moments with money to make one think he’s a good steward of yours… “I found a mistake on a receipt” and “lunch is on me” and “let me take you to dinner, I’m buying”. He brought bouquets of flowers and wine. His flattery was endless and annoying. I accepted the gifts cooly knowing he bought them with my money. Every victim has stories of Manny offering to pay for something, and those gifts of flowers and wine and free work. These are classic conman bait moves. Think all those guys on AMERICAN GREED buying large gifts with investor’s money. Impressive but always naggingly suspicious.
In Los Angeles he played a designer. He worked for Ron Swing Interior Design for more than a decade and thanklessly screwed the well-known and respected Woodland Hills interior designer. When the company closed Regalado stayed in touch with Swing’s clients. He targeted and easily selected Agi Hirshberg, of the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Los Angeles. She is a wonderfully warm, intelligent and kind human being, devoting her life to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Manny Regalado is unable to relate this kind of goodness although he’s obviously drawn to people who have want he doesn’t. Lacking the ability to naturally connect with people he stepped on Swing’s reputation and flattered his way into the Hirschberg family and fortune. Manny knew Hirshberg would be worth a million bucks in referrals if he played her just right, and he did.
Manny needed Hirschberg’s clout. He squeezed into her circle of influence in Swing’s absence. Ever the patient vampire the Hirschbergs provided plenty of plasma to this lifeless near-corpse of humanity. Regalado convinced her to hire him for a couple small decorating jobs. Those jobs required no construction, just his eye for “exquisite design”. His words, not hers. He delivered and she was reasonably happy. Having won Hirschberg’s trust, he honed in for the big kill - a big fat $95,000 check. He cashed it and disappeared —after years of calling Agi “friend” and swishing in and out of her homes and bank account. Don’t think Agi is stupid. She hasn’t lead a sheltered life and she’s not immune to heartache and suffering or grief. She’s seasoned, intuitive and busy, very busy. Remember, Regalado is patient. Regalado struck when he knew she would be unprepared for the shock of his disappearance. (This is the part of the story that is not mine to tell.)
Manny Regalado has left a wake of heartache and disbelief in Los Angeles County. He stole $50,000 from his best friend, thousands more from Swing, hundreds of thousands from suppliers - people he had associated with for more than a decade. Now he’s in North Seattle and working his con every day on unsuspecting homeowners.
Who will be next?