Busted! Scamwich Artist Unmasked by Local Restaurant Owners

Categories: Restaurant News
Scamwich-Artist.jpg
courtesy of Mike Johnson
Mitchell Kerman, photographed by Mike Johnson at his restaurant, Sugarfire Smokehouse, in Olivette. Johnson and several other local restaurateurs allege that Kerman has scammed or attempted to scam them out of free meals, claiming they'd botched previous orders he'd placed.
On Friday, September 28, at the appointed hour, a Sugarfire employee sought out Johnson, saying, "Mike, there's a guy here who says you owe him for three chicken sandwiches."

The Scamwich Artist had returned to collect his bounty.

Johnson met the man at the cash register and introduced himself. The man didn't seem eager to talk, so Johnson plowed right in. "Hey, I was talking to my friends at Roxane last night," he said, adding, "Has this ever happened to you before?"

At that the man cracked like an egg at an omelet-eating contest, fumbling for his wallet and throwing credit cards onto the counter.

Johnson unsuccessfully tries to stifle a giggle. "He was saying, 'I'll pay! I'll pay!'"

"You'll pay double," Johnson says he told the man. "And you'll leave a large tip."

Johnson instructed the chastened scammer to go back to any other restaurants he'd victimized to apologize and make restitution.

"Which he never did," Johnson notes.

Before ending the encounter, Johnson had one more task to complete. "I pushed him against the wall and I took his picture with my iPhone," the restaurateur says with glee, proudly proffering the digital shot.

Kwan confirms that the man Johnson photographed is the same man who scammed her out of a sandwich. Lucas, who also saw the photo, concurs that the snapshot shows the Scamwich Artist who scurried out of Fozzie's after his plot was foiled.

The photo is of a white man, fiftyish, with wire-rimmed glasses, prominent ears, a long nose and a gray mustache that might charitably be described as Chaplinesque. He wears his black hair short. (Judging by the coif and the mismatching shade of his mustache, it might be a toupee.) He's clad in a blue-and-white-checked dress shirt and a tie.

Gut Check traced the name and phone number Johnson provided to a Mitchell J. Kerman, of Hughes Wilner & Wolfe, a Ladue accounting firm. When we called last Tuesday, an administrative assistant at the firm told us he was out. (To lunch.) We left word that we wanted to discuss a matter involving local restaurants.

When Kerman returned our call the following day, we told him that several restaurants in the St. Louis area allege that he scammed (or tried to scam) them for free food.

Does he care to comment on the allegations?

"No, I don't," he says and hangs up.

Update: (Wednesday, October 24) Read how the Scamwich Artist returned to one of the restaurants mentioned in this report the day after it was published.

St. Louis restaurants: Do you think the Scamwich Artist got -- or tried to get -- you? Drop us a line!


Location Info

Sugarfire Smoke House

9200 Olive Blvd., Olivette, MO

Category: Restaurant

Roxane

12 N. Meramec Ave., Clayton, MO

Category: Restaurant

Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium

1170 S. Big Bend Blvd., Richmond Heights, MO

Category: Restaurant

Frida's Deli

622 N. and South Road, University City, MO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
db__
db__

I really feel posting his photo and real name is way over the top here.  Internet vigilantes will prank call his employer and he'll lose his job.  The punishment doesn't fit the crime.  I also felt the "shoved him against a wall" part of taking his photo would have the individual arrested for assault if a cop saw it.

jvorel2
jvorel2

I really love this story. Good for the business owners, publically shaming the person trying to take advantage of them. What other recourse do they have?

mlr2
mlr2

trey.mahaffey-It's only libel if it's not true

asgianino
asgianino

I know the Scamwitch Artist. He has obvious issues. He always reminded me if Rain Man. He clearly has autism.

greg
greg

sweet toupee

trey.mahaffey
trey.mahaffey

just a bit of advice... you might want to remove the name and picture of the man in question.  Without proof this article is just libel.

xomuireanneox
xomuireanneox

@bitchywaiter I was about to say maybe he needed the free food but... a lawyer? That's just greedy...

ahoy
ahoy

Wait... so the restaurant owner brags about pushing the guy up against a wall? Isn't that a worse crime than sandwich refund fraud? And isn't he opening himself up to a lawsuit, as well?

PintSizeBakery
PintSizeBakery

@stlmag_relish @kzieff @ianfroeb Someone else tried to get us with the same dealio!

irobinson
irobinson

@ianfroeb awesome. my wife remembers that guy from years ago at Fitz's pulling that w/ a never-placed order of 3 chicken club sandwiches.

Kevin Angel
Kevin Angel

He wasn't even smart enough to dial *67? Doucheington

Bill Courtney
Bill Courtney

As the owner of Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese (and a first time business owner), I was taken my first week in business by someone for $8 doing this, and he walked into the store to demand his refund. Since then, I've received calls about every two months by someone claiming bad food or service. It is usually pick-up, by cash, the day before. Of the 15ish calls I've received, only two were legitimate. Those two customers are now satisfied return customers. For other business owners, computerized POS systems are the only way to make sure these are legitimate. My managers know that they are to never issue refunds. They are to take all information, give it to me, and I will investigate. BTW, I've had men, women, teens and older folks try to scam me. Get a life people.

Timothy Gatti
Timothy Gatti

^It would appear that he's an accountant. And pulling crap like this makes life difficult when real customers have real bad experiences. And any intelligent business owner should demand a receipt, etc. from the "customer" before providing compensation.

Double_J_STL
Double_J_STL

@guerrillastreet @gutcheckstl I've posted on Facebook....pretty sad. By the way, I ordered a pizza from GStreet and it was messed up.

mikeywehling
mikeywehling

@ianfroeb my girlfriend @outlawson says this guy came into her work,Bissingers cwe, & pulled this scam a year ago on two to-go cheesecakes

Tobie Blackford
Tobie Blackford

That is a beautiful piece of jounalism there. HA! Love that they added his pic. lol. What pisses me off more than the dude being a total tool, is he's a lawyer? Really? I doubt he's exactly rich, but he's not exactly poor either. He can afford to pay for his damn food. What a POS. So glad RFT just ratted that bastard out.

Jennifer Brown
Jennifer Brown

People do this all the time at my work. It gets old fast.

Jennifer Ickes
Jennifer Ickes

For someone that does it so often, you think he'd be better at it.

jzavist
jzavist

Call his place of employment back in a week and see if he's still employed there . . .

iwilleathops
iwilleathops

@EvanBenn @ianfroeb WOW, hilarious story. What a cheap piece of shit!

C_Schwarz
C_Schwarz

@ianfroeb that was good stuff!

LKeys
LKeys

@db__ What he did was a crime he is lucky that they didn't press charges- don't do the crime if you can't deal w/ the repercussions!

ianfroeb
ianfroeb

@mikeywehling have her drop me a line at ian DOT froeb AT riverfronttimes DOT com -- thx!

keepinitreal
keepinitreal

He's an accountant. And not a very good one either. Personal experience.

kzieff
kzieff

@stlmag_relish @ianfroeb I was had but not by that guy and it was just a convo with a friend in the biz and we put two and two together

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...