Francisco Gómez Manzanares (Vitoria, 1984) before hide under the name of David to cover half of Spain cold-bloodedly swindling an unknown number of victims, especially women whom first he seduced and then he left in economic ruin and emotional, he was forged as a con man in his hometown.
The journalistic investigation that is collected in ‘El Estafador’ (Editorial Peninsula) reconstructs a life full of lies, which allowed him to keep some three million euros that were not his, and reveals all the professions he invented to trickA: Ertzaintza agent, airplane pilot, Formula 1 tester, Maritime Rescue sergeant or member of Messi’s Barça coaching staff. And the publication of this book has also brought to light new testimonies that shed more light on his last year in Vitoria, before he became the ‘swindler of women’. In 1999, Francisco still called himself Fran, and he snuck into a group of radio amateurs. EL PERIÓDICO has contacted three of them, who he is known as the ‘Audi agent’.
the Audi agent
Francisco was driving in the spring of 1999 an Audi A4 that had usurped the worker of a bank in San Sebastián. The car had a radio station. It was normal in the late 1990s, a time before the mobile phone boom, when amateur radio groups proliferated. Francisco activated the radio station in his ex-girlfriend’s car and, after listening for a while, introduced himself. “He asked if he could come to one of our meetings and we said yes,” he recalls, 23 years later.
He said he was an Ertzaintza agent, who was part of the special units staying at the mysterious Berozi base. That’s why he wasn’t dressed in uniform. He also said that he had just settled in Vitoria and that he did not know anyone. “His friendliness and generosity – he always paid for drinks – left us impressed.” He was a little older than most of the men in the group. He was 25 years old when most were just over twenty. Since he didn’t have an ‘alias’, and everyone had one per station, they baptized him ‘Audi’ because he drove an A4.
‘Audi’ became something of a leader for the group. Trust was earned of each member separately, as he would do years later at the Urko casino in Eibar, a place that would end up sweeping. “He was always willing to help us,” they explain. The Boxing bar, which was right in front of the house on Beato Tomás de Zumárraga street that Francisco shared with his girlfriend – whom he would soon leave in the lurch after ruining her – became the usual meeting point at the proposal of the swindler.
What Francisco had not foreseen is that that Boxing bar was also the place that an Ertzaintza commander frequented. In front of him he could not present himself as an agent of the Basque autonomous body. “So he had to conscientiously ensure that no one in our group interacted with the police chief,” they explain. But he, on the other hand, did want to get closer to command. So much so that he earned her friendship. And he even managed to get the ertzaina to invite him to his house. The only photographs that consist of Francisco dressed in the uniform of the police Basque are those that were made with the official clothes of this chief, who believed that there was nothing wrong in consenting to be photographed with her. But those photos were going to be used to reinforce the farce.
Francisco would become in the years after this last stage in Vitoria a predator of women who would capture in chats, first, and in dating applications, later. It is not unreasonable that that first stage of amateur radio was an apprenticeship that he would later use to seduce on the internet. “Francisco installed a powerful antenna on the roof of his home to continue chatting with the station even from home. But he did not pay for it and the owners of the business that had given it to him came to his house, dismantled it and took it away,” remember their old ‘friends’.
Francisco tried to sell his house to one of the radio amateurs –actually, it wasn’t his home but that of his girlfriend– but he didn’t bite. To another he proposed to set up a half mobile phone business. This one did bite. The deal was to put 1,100,000 pesetas each. The radio amateur complied with his part and gave the money to Francisco, who spent it.
In a judgment of the Audiencia de Vitoria of that time, it is considered proven that that year Francisco swindled his girlfriend, the radio amateur from whom he stole that million and two other victims from whom he took another million and 600,000 pesetas, entangling them, respectively, with an alleged investment in the United States and the fictitious purchase of a state-of-the-art computer.
One of the radio amateurs smelled that Francisco was not clean wheat in the summer of 1999. And he began to investigate. In the store from which he had taken the antenna without paying, he obtained his DNI, which appeared on an invoice. With that information, he went to see the commander of the Ertzaintza who frequented the Boxing bar to transfer his suspicions to him. The policeman was surprised but he put Francisco’s DNI in the police bases and the fraud crimes prior to 1999. “The worst thing about it is that this boss was preparing an anti-drug operation against a bar based on information provided by Francisco, whom he blindly trusted,” says this radio amateur.
The scammer was arrested shortly after. But he was released a few days later and undertook an escape that would take him through Barcelona, Castelldefels, Ourense, Madrid, Seville, Eibar or Zaragoza. He is currently serving a sentence in the Nanclares de la Oca prison and Accumulate prison sentences until 2030, but could start receiving temporary permits soon. He has been denounced by 50 victims. He has scammed many more. Some women continue to suffer serious psychological consequences. Although she has the right to be rehabilitated, they all believe that she will cheat again.
Radio amateurs in Vitoria never heard from him again.
The Canadian News
Canada’s largets news curation site with over 20+ agency partners