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Meet Alan Young, Oakland’s (in)famous con artist

on May 11, 2010

For nearly 30 years, a con artist named Alan Young has been living the high life around the Bay Area – on other people’s tabs. He pretends to be what he’s not – a member of a famous Motown group, like the Temptations or the Four Tops – who’s now a wealthy art lover or philanthropist with money to invest. He’s been at it since at least the mid-80s, with short visits to prison in between. In this audio podcast, Tasneem Raja and Nancy López speak to two investigators who had their own run-ins with Alan Young over the last twenty years about how the con works and why it’s so difficult to stop.


  1. CarrieBlackshaw on May 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

  2. Tim on September 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I was conned by this guy! He pretends to be an amazing, famous singer (Bobby Rogers from the Miracles), goes around telling everybody….”DO you know who I am”? And insists on not paying anything because everyone should know him and pay his way. He will go into clubs (in SF he tok us to a blues club on Mason St…the Blues and Buscuits place…and a piano bar somewhere)…and sings his heart out. He’s an AMAZING performer. This con artist is the guy who got me hooked on MoTown! Funny thing is now when I hear that music I only think of this jerk! He took me and my friend for about 5k in limo cabs, hookers, trips to the strip club, drinks, etc. We are both smart people who would otherwise be considered as not conn-able…and we were CONNED! He’s amazing. He’ll try to get you to buy him clothes, convince you that he’ll give you a good job, that he’s dying, he’ll ask for your SSN and telephone at one point…and in the end he’ll ask you to meet his family at a hotel….and when you show up…to see if it’s all real or not…he disappears. He always has a cell phone that’s purchased somewhere (like at a walgreens), and probably buys a new one virtually everywhere he goes. WHAT A CON!!!!

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