What does it take to earn the title of “the worst boyfriend on the Upper East Side”? In the case of Nelson Counne, a longtime Yorkville resident with an East 82nd Street address, a history of big buck romance and investment scams will do the trick.
Yesterday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. confirmed Counne’s indictment by the New York State Supreme Court, charging him with “Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.”
The lousy lothario’s scheme of choice? Meeting women through online dating apps using an alias (either “Nelson Roth” or “Justin Roth”) and claiming to be a wealthy retiree with lavish homes around the globe.
Once unlucky ladies’ interests were piqued, Counne laid out wishy-washy investment opportunities. Despite initial hesitance, his persistence paid off. The 70-year-old claimed access to inside information, suggested he had business relationships with Google executives and other high-profile finance folks, and even sought out additional support following his victims’ first investments.
The result of his swindling? A cool $1.8 million from at least five women between December 12, 2012 and January 22, 2021.
Of course, his highfalutin lifestyle and promises of la dolce vita were all smoke and mirrors, as the official documents reveal Counne’s plush bank account was purely padded with pilfered funds as a means of attracting other suitors (and paying back suspicious parties). And forget about mansions in London and the South of France — he’s never left the US (and doesn’t even have a passport).
Counne’s conning ways first shot to infamy courtesy of an April 2022 New Yorker article (where his “worst boyfriend” moniker was born). The bombshell report details his history of deceptions, which started in elite Upper East Side destinations like The Carlyle and Campagnola, and later revealed darker secrets (including a murder charge in 1987).
Like many things in Manhattan society, there’s often more than meets the eye. “We urge everyone to exercise caution when told there’s an investment opportunity that seems too good to be true,” states the District Attorney’s office. “If you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, we are here to help – call us at 212-335-8900.”