Claims of a massive and intricate scam targeting Hollywood pros have burst into the mainstream, thanks to a jaw-dropping new piece in The Hollywood Reporter.
On Wednesday, the publication unloaded details of a scam operation which has impacted the industry for two-and-a-half-years: someone, somewhere, has been impersonating a string of high-powered women in the entertainment industry, and has used their advanced mimicry skills to separate dozens of stunt men, photographers, and directors from their money.
The scam itself involves the mimic cold-calling individuals and claiming to be Hollywood power-players like Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, or Stacey Snider, CEO of 20th Century Fox.
The mimic then says they have a dream job opportunity for the victim, but it will require them to head on over to Indonesia. Former military personnel who now act as advisors have been asked to do security consultations; a photographer was asked to visit to help with a movie’s storyboard.
Lured by the prospect of a sweet gig and a hefty payday upon completion, the victims then fly over on their own dime, where they are asked to hand over extra money for travel and accomodation expenses under the pretence of being reimbursed.
They find that is not the case. Scores of victims have been fleeced for amounts as low as $3000 to sums nearing six figures. It is thought the scam pulls relatively small figures out of its victims, but that the overall number of targets has contributed to a massive criminal windfall for the operation.
The choice to needle small amounts out of a large number of victims has a secondary benefit: the FBI has reportedly been unwilling to investigate many of the claims because the damages are too small.
When the targets realise they have been scammed, the victims return home; the apparent ringleader of the criminal organisation has never been seen in person.
While two voice recordings of the woman have been obtained – both of which sported very different accents – sweet fuck all is known about who is actually conducting the scam.
There are a small handful of clues regarding their potential identity. K2 Intelligence, a security firm enlisted by some of the high-end individuals mimicked in the scam, say the operation originally targeted hair and make-up professionals in the U.K., meaning the scammer may have originally been in that field herself.
Involvement in Hollywood in some capacity seems very likely, considering the mimic’s reported penchant for absolutely nailing personal details and references to other individuals which couldn’t be made without extensive inside knowledge.
“You wouldn’t know these things unless you dealt with these people in very specific ways,” said a photographer who lost US $65,000 to the scam. “This gave her immediate credibility.”
It’s wild shit, and we haven’t even touched on the phone sex element of the whole ordeal, which you should definitely read more about it HERE.Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Image: James D. Morgan / Getty Images