Online scams and fraudulent activity are unfortunately a common occurrence in modern times.
The culture of flaunting wealth is nothing new, but the advent of social media means that posting possessions and achievements online has been normalised and this leaves people open to online scammers and other nefarious practices.
In the case of celebrities, it is even more common for them to be targeted thanks to their wealth and status.
In this article we will take a look at some of the more high-profile scamming cases that have involved some well-known celebrities.
While it may seem like an impossible feat, people have managed to scam the lottery and walk away with the winnings in the past.
However, this lottery scam allegedly involving Kim Kardashian and Scott Disick is a little different. For starters, unlike the rest of the celebrities in this list, they're the ones being accused of doing the scamming.
A lawsuit against the two celebs alleges that they had set up a lottery but did not award any prizes, and the information of the entrants was subsequently sold on to a third party.
Suspiciously, when the “winners” of this lottery were announced, all of their Instagram accounts were made private, and it was very difficult to find anything about their winnings or any sign that the people in question had existed.
The legal proceedings of this case are still ongoing.
Famous musician Billy Joel has had an interesting career and often made the headlines for various reasons. He recently said he was retired from music, but he will be playing in London this year as part of the famous Hyde Park festival that sees a huge number of musicians play headlining slots in the capital of England. He’ll return to England after paying tribute to British band The Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts in a recent gig.
Joel’s scammer was his former manager, Frank Weber. When Billy separated from his wife Elizabeth in 1979, he asked her brother Frank to control his finances. He was the godparent to Billy’s child, and they had a good relationship. Even in these circumstances, he took advantage of the musician’s trust. He fraudulently took a lot of Joel’s earnings and handed out loans as well as pumping money into oil and gas tax shelters, real estate schemes and more. When Joel found out, he sued him for $90m for fraud and breach of financial duty.
Sutherland is best known for his iconic role in the hit show 24. However, there is a lot more to him and he is a successful musician as well as actor. In 2009, he was caught up in a Ponzi scheme run by hustler Michael Carr. The conman convinced Sutherland that the scheme would entail buying cattle in Mexico and selling them on for a huge profit. However, he didn’t use the money for this at all – he used it to enter rodeo competitions.
Sutherland is said to have invested almost $1m in total with Carr, who ended up running away with his money. Sutherland was one of many victims and Carr was eventually ordered to pay back the money to all of the people he scammed. This particular ruse seems quite ridiculous from the outside looking in, with Sutherland claiming the deals were evaluated by his advisers.
Robert De Niro
Who would dare to mess with Jake LaMotta? De Niro portrayed the famous boxer in the iconic Raging Bull, and may have felt like giving a few right hooks to art dealer Lawrence Salander, who stole from De Niro’s late father’s estate.
Robert De Niro’s father was an artist and he died back in the 1990s. The art dealer sold artworks created by the late De Niro Sr at a New York gallery. However, he did so without permission or paying out most of the sales to his estate. This meant that the family potentially missed out on millions of dollars. He was part of a very sophisticated ring of dealers selling scams, including an investment scheme that saw John McEnroe lose a serious sum of money.
Salander was a serial offender. In 2010, he eventually pleaded guilty to 29 counts of grand larceny and was sentenced to up to 18 years in prison. He is currently held at Rikers Island in New York.
These are just a few of the celebs who have found themselves embroiled in scams, many of them losing incredible sums of money due to the dishonesty of a few individuals. In some cases, the celebrities themselves were used as a front for the scam and were unwilling participants. In other cases, the celebrities were scammed by their own family members. It’s an important lesson to always be on the lookout for those who may try to trick you out of your hard-earned cash.