Transgender Dem Congressional Candidate Arrested, Extradited for Diamond Ring Scam

A La Crosse woman who describes herself as a “huge advocate” of the LGBTQ community plans a primary election challenge to U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, for his seat representing the 3rd Congressional District was arrested on Monday for trying to scam a Manhattan jeweler out of a diamond ring and will be extradited to New York City on Wednesday.

New York Police Department detectives flew to Wisconsin and arrested Juliet Germanotta, 36, who describes herself as a “proud transgender woman,” the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The trouble started on Sept. 19, when Germanotta—who has vowed to keep Wisconsin “fiscally responsible by questioning expenses”—ordered a $4,800 ring from Mikaelians Jewelry in Manhattan, according to police. Germanotta said that she did not like the 18-karat yellow gold Zambian emerald and diamond ring and asked for her money back.

Instead of sending back the ring, however, Germanotta sent back a fake, tricking the jeweler into refunding her. In the meantime, the congressional candidate attempted to sell the original back in Wisconsin.

Germanotta is running in Wisconsin’s third congressional district. Germanotta announced her candidacy as a Democrat in November and vowed to focus on advocating rights for LGBTQ people and health care for people with pre-existing conditions. Germanotta’s bio, as stated on her Facebook page, outlines a hardscrabble life and mentions appearances on “The Ricky Lake Show” and “The Jerry Springer Show,” which she dismissed as merely entertainment outlets that pay for guests. Springer’s payment was in the form of travel and lodging, while Lake’s was around $300, she said.

“I don’t regret that, but I know that Jerry Springer did a lot of harm to the transgender community,” she said.

“I am outspoken, transgender and have HIV,” she said. “Don’t let that deter you from voting for me.”