AdviceNew York

Beware the Upper West Side Grifter

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Remember that story from a few years ago about the so-called Hipster Grifter in Brooklyn? I even wrote a sort of jokey thing about it. Of course places like New York and San Francisco are veritable hubs for these sort of con artist/grifter types– so much so, that I’m sad to say that recently, one of my close friends and a couple of her friends was affected by it very directly. Though I guess we can semi-laugh about it when it happens to the Asian fetish-y white guy contingent, it’s actually a very scary thing when you or your friends’ lives have been invaded by a sociopath.

I’ll try and keep the story short, though the details are pretty important just in the sense that it was all very innocuous-seeming, and there were no such “handjob with my mouth” red flag-type comments to be had. So, this person, who I’m going to go ahead and out, because she’s a fucking criminal, named Iliana Juarez (aka Iliana Parsons), was a friend of a friend from the West Coast who had recently moved out here claiming that she was getting away from an abusive relationship. My friend, being a nice, empathetic person, often invited her out with some of my other friends, which eventually developed into Iliana semi-regularly hanging out with my very close friend who we’ll call “Y”. Iliana had been described to me by “Y” as being soft-spoken and particularly polite.

The Outing

One day, Iliana invited “Y” out to an event surrounding which, Iliana uncannily INSISTED on treating my friend “Y” to drinks, appetizers, cabs, even gum, etc, on the pretense that Iliana had just missed “Y”‘s birthday. “Y” was a little taken aback by her insistence on paying for absolutely everything, and it took quite a lot for her to finally insist on paying for on cab ride. When “Y” reached for her credit card, she discovered it was gone. Iliana assured “Y” that she must have just put it somewhere “weird”, and “Y” proceeded to pay with her debit card instead. Iliana ended up crashing at her house that night, upon which time “Y” found her credit card placed in the very spot it had once been. Curious, but not a crazy thing to have happened after a drunken night out, at first glance.

The Realization

The next day, “Y” invited Iliana to join her and another friend who we’ll call “J” to lay out at Central Park. For four hours the three of them lay on a pretty large beach towel built to accommodate 2-3 people. Not once did any of them leave their purses unattended. When the three of them went their separate ways, “Y” decided to check her credit card history online. Every single purchase that Iliana insisted on paying for (even the gum) had been charged to her card, along with a few other strange hundred dollar purchases. “Y”, after pacing around the block trying to wrap her head around the whole thing, called up “J” to relay what had happened. It was then that “J” discovered that her company credit card was missing. She tore apart her office trying to find it, and looking at her credit card history online, she discovered that there had recently been several inexplicable charges from online retail stores adding up to thousands of dollars.

Both “Y” and “J” called another friend, “K”, who had been palling around with Iliana, who was most resistant to believing what happened, in that she couldn’t believe Iliana was capable of such a thing. She shortly discovered that her debit card had a few minor, yet significantly inexplicable charges.

The Outcome (for now)

“Y” and “J” agreed to file joint police reports against Iliana that resulted ultimately in her arrest. As it turns out, and as they thought all along, Iliana is a fairly seasoned con artist, possibly even having conned her way into being able to live in her UWS apartment. When the police questioned her as to why she did this to “Y”, “J”, and “K” specifically, Iliana was said to answer “I just wanted to impress them and be their friend”. That’s right, we’re dealing with a Class A piece of work, here. A fairly dangerous one.


I can only imagine what Iliana has been pulling in her lifetime, not just in New York, but on the West Coast and whatever she may have been running away from. Who knows to what lengths she would have gone had “Y” and “J” not done anything. And what if this charge doesn’t hold her in jail for very much longer? Well, I’m of the mind that, kind of like with NYPD cops that are somehow allowed to rape people, you should tell everyone you fucking know. Here is her facebook page, and I’ve posted a photo of here on this post (she’s the one on the right giving duck face). Study that shit and if you ever see her fucking face, let her know you know who the fuck she is and don’t let her get away with anything.

I wish there was something I could tell you in order to avoid knowing or dealing with these kinds of people, but the truth is that they’re probably everywhere in this city, and you’re probably never going to immediately know it. The best you can do is buy one of those metal wallet things and be unfairly skeptical of everyone you meet. The one silver lining is that for us broke asses, those con artists won’t have a whole lot of luck trying to use our pathetically limited or no-credit-available credit cards or take very much money out from our accounts with $100 in them.

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.