The Italian Almanac

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Playing Dead

An Italian conman has been caught playing dead for the second time in six years in a bid to escape prosecution. Stefano Ramunni, 44, from the southern city of Bari, sent in forged certificates of his own death to a court in this northern city. The court let Ramunni off the forgery charge, deciding to prosecute the forger, a friend of the conman, but Ramunni is still up on several counts of fraud.

In 2001 Ramunni was arrested for fraud in another northern city, Sondrio, and found to be carrying two bogus death certificates. On that occasion he did not have time to use them. Ramunni has also donned other disguises to evade justice.

In 2000, in Verona, he posed as a justice ministry psychiatrist and gave evidence that helped clear him of fraud. Two years earlier he slipped into Genoa police headquarters and got hold of a prosecution dossier after persuading officials he was a young assistant to his lawyer.