When a young, up-and-coming actress met Priyantha De Silva at a party at The Plaza Hotel in 2017, she thought she’d hit the jackpot. De Silva told her he had been working in finance and used connections from that to fund the movies he produced. Swarthy and well-dressed, he invited her to the film premieres [...]


Sri Lankan party crasher and impostor rattles New York


When a young, up-and-coming actress met Priyantha De Silva at a party at The Plaza Hotel in 2017, she thought she’d hit the jackpot.

De Silva told her he had been working in finance and used connections from that to fund the movies he produced.

Swarthy and well-dressed, he invited her to the film premieres of her choosing. When the actress, who asked to remain anonymous, selected the movie “Stockholm”, she even got to sit next to the actor at the screening. It was a thrill, she said, until De Silva became inebriated at the after-party at Up Down.

She left early but met him again two nights later for a screening of “Jonathan”, and the movie’s bash at 1Oak.

But soon enough, the actress recalled, “Security asked us to leave.”

Priyantha with a gorgeous beauty

Over the last 20 years, De Silva has claimed to be the movie producer behind “Crash” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” an influential magazine editor and an affluent man about town.

In truth, he was none of those things.

“I figured he had some kind of film company and that gave him entrée,” model and actress Loydeen, who only goes by her first name, told The New York Post. In 2010, she accompanied him to parties for “The Tourist,” “Blue Valentine” and other movies. “He seemingly got in so easily,” she said.

By the time the unnamed actress met him, he wore a tuxedo but lived in a homeless shelter in Bed-Stuy — and had gone to jail multiple times for forgery and larceny.

De Silva is one of New York City’s biggest imposters, with decades of lying and deceit in his past.

Earlier this month, he was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to possession of a forged cheque.

The 60-year-old’s glitzy endeavours started drawing attention in 2006 when Gawker.com described him as a “drunken leech who feeds off of Manhattan’s more exclusive social scene” and “a semi-professional gate-crasher.” He was allegedly going around telling people he was a producer of the film “Crash.”

That year, a Condé Nast editor caught De Silva red-handed. Weeks earlier, she had started receiving attendance confirmations for parties to which she had never RSVP’d. She found out why at a Gucci event.

“I was asked my name at the door,” she told The Post of her androgynous-sounding moniker. “I gave it and was told that this man just gave my name. I [found him and] said, ‘You’re the person who’s running around town posing as me to get into these events!’ He just took off.”

Not long after, when he tried to RSVP on behalf of legendary Glamour editor Cindi Leive for a Hamptons event, Condé reportedly took action — setting up a security sting at the Bridgehampton Polo Club.

The crasher seemed to disappear until 2010. “We would go to parties, he would get super-drunk and start hitting on girls,” recalled Loydeen. “He would get asked to leave and they would just let me stay.”

But the friendship stalled after De Silva allegedly asked Loydeen, “if a friend of his could use my bank account as a place to temporarily park cheques. I told him to forget about it.”

That year, De Silva talked his way into a charity dinner put on by the Young Philanthropists of the Cancer Research Institute — reportedly by acting shocked that he wasn’t on the guest list. He said his cheque must have got lost in the mail and gave his credit-card number instead. When it was ran later, the card was declined.

Then, pulling a similar stunt at a gala for the Elizabeth Seton Paediatric Center, he took it too far.

“He won the silent auction, paying $1,500 for a Prada purse with a bogus credit card,” said Kelly Jones Howell, an attorney affiliated with the event. The lawyer recalled De Silva claiming to be a producer of “Crash” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

De Silva was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2½ to three years in prison.

He was out by May 2013, when he deposited five credit-card convenience cheques from someone else’s account, then withdrew some $15,000 that was not his. That August, he deposited $19,985, purportedly issued and signed by a Contessa Garzadori, into his Citibank account. The next day, when he attempted to withdraw $12,500, the New York Police Department was alerted.

Looking through De Silva’s bag, police found a bank statement and a copy of a cheque belonging to Garzadori, the driver’s licence of one Justin Adams, and documents belonging to ­others.

Told that he was to be charged with grand larceny, De Silva said: “I’ve been charged with [that] before; I’ll beat it this time, too.”

Instead, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a forged instrument, and to grand larceny for the May incident. He received a sentence of 30 months to five years in 2015.

By late 2017, De Silva was back on the scene, wiggling into events such as a Polaroid party where he bragged about working with Lady Gaga.

He was also planning his most ambitious alleged scam to date. According to court documents, in February 2018 De Silva deposited to his Woori America bank account $4,275 in cheques made out to him from Artisan Russian Dumpling LLC, which is the legal name for the Upper West Side shop Daa! Dumplings.

In April 2018, said De Silva’s lawyer Glenn Hardy, he e-mailed the Tribeca Film Festival to purchase VIP tickets, with a fake cheque for $15,000 from Russian Dumpling. Court documents show that the cheque bounced.

In September 2018, De Silva was arrested once again, this time at the shelter where he had been staying, and charged with stealing property from the film festival, among other counts. He is now serving two to four years at Ulster Correctional Facility upstate.

For all the identities De Silva has tried on, one remains a mystery: his true self. No one interviewed for this story knows anything about him or how he landed in New York. He has said that he is originally from Sri Lanka.

De Silva had told both Loydeen and the actress that his name was Pryan Silva. When the latter Googled him, she found a photo of him with a gorgeous blonde.

“He told me she was his ex-girlfriend who looked like Charlize Theron,” the actress said. “He told me they went out for 10 years . . . and they lived in the Hamptons.”

The agency caption for the photo, which was taken by society lenser Patrick McMullan, does not list the woman’s name — yet another mystery in De Silva’s background.

As for how De Silva will make out in jail this time, his lawyer Hardy is not worried.

“He’ll keep telling everyone that he is a director and will probably tell the other inmates that, once they all get out, he will put them into movies.”

Shiranthi Rajapaksa in conversation with President Sirisena

Shiranthi, Sirisena in private chat over Namal’s wedding

One day this week Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was mildly ill and had to cancel all engagements.

As a result, he assigned his wife Shiranthi to be attesting witness at a wedding at a five-star hotel in Colombo.

President Maithripala Sirisena was the other attesting witness. With the signing over, the duo had a lengthy private chat about the September 17 wedding of Namal Rajapaksa, scion of the Rajapaksa family.


Party leaders woo voters in North

With only a few weeks for the presidential election nominations, there have been frequent visits by government and opposition leaders to the North. They are obviously trying to woo voters.

This week, President Maithriapala Sirisena whose term will expire in December, visited the North to inaugurate various development projects in and around Jaffna. Weeks before that, it was Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe who was in the North for a three-day official visit evaluating the development work under the ambitious ‘Gamperaliya’ rapid development programme.

Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) leader Tissa Vitharana was also in Jaffna a few weeks ago as a representative of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).The veteran leftist leader claimed that he had been appointed by SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as the “Coordinator for Tamil affairs”.

Namal’s told C’wealth Secretariat is not Britain

There were varied reactions to Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa’s tweet comparing the current suspension of the British Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline with the 52 day ‘October crisis’ in Sri Lanka last year.

This is what Mr Rajapaksa who is also an Attorney at Law tweeted along with the statement of the Commonwealth Secretariat; Interesting developments in the UK. When #SriLanka’s @MaithripalaS temporarily suspended Parliament last year, @commonwealthsec advised the Gov. on “the role of Parliament” & “democratic culture.” Perhaps the UK should first follow its own advice before advising other countries.

The microblog users were quick to point out the difference between the United Kingdom (UK) and the Commonwealth Secretariat. One such user asked “You do realise the United Kingdom is NOT The Commonwealth Secretariat, right?”


Dentist minister gives teeth to Sirisena bashing

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne explained this week as to why he should be sure of backing any particular candidate for the Presidential election.

“I should be at least be fifty percent sure of the next presidential candidate or else people would think that I myself would have some mental ailment to support an unsuitable candidate for the presidency,” he said.

“If I would bring another president like Maithripala Sirisena, people would not question the sanity of the new president, but they would question my mental health. Every time I go for a party or funeral, people who have had a couple of drinks use me as the ‘bite’ by asking; ‘Doctor what have you done? Who did you bring to power’.

“We are the ones who took the pain and torment to carry him around the country in a palanquin like taking “Dona Catherina”. He was only able to give good speeches at the rallies.” Dr. Senaratne added.

Share This Post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
Comments should be within 80 words. *


Post Comment

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.