For several months, master impersonator and conman Jeison Neck Jair Garcia managed to fool Colombian authorities into believing that he was a diplomat from Lebanon. Originally from the city of Valledupar, in Colombia, Jeison posed as a fake Lebanese ambassador named Jason Abdulaziz Al Hakim Ali Nayb, using only a couple of fake IDs and his native wit.
Jeison managed to keep up the charade for months, living in style and enjoying all the comforts that come with being a foreign dignitary. He stayed at the best hotels and dined at exclusive restaurants until his game was finally up. When he was caught, he insisted that he was only playing a prank and that his intention was never to ‘hurt anyone’.
It’s really surprising that Jeison managed to convince so many people that he was a diplomat for so long, without anyone calling his bluff. He used two fake cards – one identifying him as Ambassador of the Republic of Lebanon, and the other issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. Strangely enough, nobody bothered to check the authenticity of the documents or even contact the Lebanese embassy about his credentials.
Using these documents, the fake ambassador presented himself for lectures at universities in various Colombian cities like Bucaramanga, Málaga and Santander Gámbita. He also met with the mayors of these cities, and the military and police units, where he was received with honor. Believe it or not, he even offered talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sharing the stage with several other dignitaries and guests of honor.
After months of maintaining the elaborate ruse, he finally came under suspicion when Army Commander Colonel Alejandro Lopez heard him speak Spanish. It struck the Colonel as odd that Jeison could speak like a native, with no trace of a foreign accent at all. This was too unusual to ignore, so Colonel Lopez decided to investigate further.
“I came to the city in February and last year he had already come up with his false identity as an alleged specialist in human rights,” said the Colonel. “He gave talks at universities, municipalities, and the government. He presented himself as a minister of Lebanon and participated in conferences on the Arab conflict. His accent generated many questions, so with support from the Criminal Investigation Task Force, we started an investigation.”
Authorities then reached out to the embassy of Lebanon in Colombia, requesting information on Jeison. The embassy confirmed their suspicions – no representative from Lebanon was named Jason Abdulaziz Al Hakim Ali Nayb. Jeison was soon arrested, and slapped with charges of impersonation and falsifying documents.
He tried to defend himself by saying that his lie had not really ‘hurt anyone’, and it seems to have worked, because he was later released by a supervisory judge. Interestingly, this isn’t Jeison’s first offence – it turns out that he was forced to flee his home town of Santander, a few years back, after impersonating a relative of famous Colombian musician Zuleta, to get special treatment.
Meanwhile, Colonel Lopez recommended that universities and institutions of state should verify the identity of such people, instead of trusting their claims or false credentials.
Anyone else think this guy’s story resembles the one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from the Hollywood film ‘Catch Me if You Can’?