2019 Sep 4
For the past twenty years, celebrities and even citizens of New York City have fallen victim to the scams and lies brought forward by one man. These acts of deceit include impersonation, credit card fraud, gate crashing and even grand larceny. A few weeks ago, this man had been brought before the court for his recent acts and sentenced to two to four years in prison. This man is none other than Sri Lankan born, “New York’s most notorious party crasher” – Mr. Priyantha De Silva.
Mr “Priyan Silva”,or so he has been introducing himself, is 61 years of age and has had a love for partying for over two decades – crashing the most reputed of events in the Big Apple itself. His acts of impersonation to get into these events have been successful on countless occasions. By pretending to be a movie director, Mr. De Silva was able to get a young and upcoming actress into a screening premiere of her choosing. She chose the movie “Stockholm” and not only attended the event, but was also able to sit next to actor Ethan Hawke courtesy of this ‘director’ she had just met.
Moreover, Mr. De Silva has also claimed to be the producer of hit movies such as “Crash” and “SlumDog Millionaire” which no one seemed to question as he had always been able to talk his way into events and parties of his choosing.
In 2006, Mr. De Silva was caught by one of Conde Nast’s (An American media company) editors when she had started receiving confirmation to events she hadn’t given her RSVP. It was at a Gucci event, when she gave her name at the door and was told that this man had already entered using her name. However, on that occasion, Mr. De Silva had made an escape and avoided falling in trouble.
Disappearing for four years, his acts resurfaced in 2010 when he was given admittance to a charity dinner organised by the Young Philanthropists of the Cancer Research Institute as a result of his acting of shock that his name was not included on the guest list. His fake credit card helped in this endeavour of his which was declined later by which time it was too late.
His first prison sentence came about when Mr. De Silva bought a Prada purse for US$ 1500 at an auction, once again with the aid of a fake credit card. Pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 2.5 to 3 years behind bars.
He was released in 2013, and had carried out transactions with large amounts of money that was not his, including the deposit of a whopping $20,000 supposed from a ‘Contessa Garzadori’ in August that same year. His attempt to withdraw an amount of $12,500 alerted the NYPD and he was charged with another 30 months to five years of imprisonment. “I have been charged with that [grand larceny] before, I’ll beat it this time too” were his words on the court day.
These jail sentences did not stop Mr. De Silva as he impersonated being a famous film producer to get in to Polaroid’s 80th Anniversary party in 2017, claiming to even have worked with Lady Gaga. Moreover, he had deposited false cheques to himself in a sum of $4275 signed from Artisan Russian Dumpling LLC, the legal name of a shop in the city.
His latest scam was an attempt to purchase a VIP package for two for the Tribeca Film Festival by forging a cheque worth $15,000 (to which he pleaded not guilty!). Video footage of him at the event on the 19th of April 2018 was obtained, as per court papers. However, he did plead guilty for the possession of a forged instrument from the festival. Mr. De Silva was arrested a few weeks ago in the homeless shelter he had been staying, and is now serving 2 to 4 years in the Ulster Correctional Facility.
When Mr. De Silva’s lawyer was asked to comment on the story, he had said that Mr. De Silva was very distrustful with his attorneys and therefore obtaining information from him had always been difficult. He also mentioned that he was however not worried about Mr. De Silva in prison, stating that he may even be trying to convince his inmates that he is a famous movie producer, and promise them roles in his upcoming productions!
The press in New York still know nothing personal about this criminal, except his name and country of origin. Even googling of his name reportedly shows pictures of him with a beautiful blonde woman of whose identity remains a mystery.
The unorthodox and baffling skills of “Priyan Silva” and his love for crashing high class social events in the city of New York has given him probably the adventure of a lifetime; and whether his current time behind bars will make him change his ways or lead to more of his scams when he is out, we will never know. Only time will tell!