Con artist wanted in Oregon arrested in Chicago

PORTLAND, Ore. — A career con artist who fled Oregon while awaiting trial has been arrested in Chicago after trying to pull another scam, police said.

Nickolas Kasemehas, 73, cut off his electronic ankle bracelet in April while in Portland. He was accused of theft in Marion and Clackamas counties and a probation violation in Multnomah County.

Portland police learned the fugitive was in Chicago when an intended victim of a gold-coin scam did online research after becoming suspicious and saw a police alert that included a photo of Kasemehas. Kasemehas had told the Chicago man he owned the San Diego Chargers football team, police said.

U.S. Marshals nabbed him Monday. His arrest was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Portland police said Kasemehas has been conning people for five decades, and his criminal history extends to San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and many other cities. He was released from prison in September 2012 and quickly found new alleged victims.

“He hasn’t stopped scamming people, and he has no intention of stopping,” Clackamas County prosecutor Stacey Borgman told The Oregonian.

After leaving prison, Kasemehas swindled three victims out of $181,200, according to Clackamas County court records, and he faced similar allegations in Marion County. He went to California in April 2013 when his victims started asking questions, and police found him a month later in Santa Monica.

Kasemehas was returned to Oregon. In October, a judge set bail at $30,000 and ordered Kasemehas to be placed on electronic home detention.

On April 9, Kasemehas cut off the ankle bracelet and fled.

But not before allegedly claiming another victim, a woman who owned a flower shop where Kasemehas was a regular customer, The Oregonian reported.

Kasemehas allegedly told the woman he knew where he could buy gold coins for $500 apiece. He could sell them for $1,200 each, the newspaper reported.

On April 9, the duped woman allegedly gave Kasemehas $5,000 in cash, the Oregonian reported.

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