The Slatest

Con Man Accused of Guaranteeing Own Damnation by Selling Fake Trips to See the Pope

Pope Francis in New York City’s Central Park on Sept. 25, 2015.

Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

When Pope Francis visited the United States last year, some people were excited and some people were disappointed. And some people, such as an (alleged) Los Angeles con man named Erwin Mena, (allegedly) saw a great opportunity to get their swindle on:

LAPD Det. Gary Guevara alleged in court documents that Mena sold parishioners bogus trips to see Pope Francis last year in Philadelphia and New York. … Guevara said Mena solicited between $500 and $1,000 from people to go see the pope back east. The money was supposed to cover airfare and lodging in convents, he said, adding that more than two dozen people signed up.

That’s from the Los Angeles Times. “Lodging in convents.”

Here’s a fun detail:

In Los Angeles, the archdiocese keeps a list of unauthorized priests and deacons, which numbered more than 95 people as of Sept. 1. 

That’s a lot of fake priests! They should all have a club. In jail.