There are few things more frustrating than deception, and few things more embarrassing than the world knowing you’ve been duped. Celebrities who have been duped have it even worse; the world has a front row seat to their embarrassment. Your identity is no laughing matter, and these A-listers found out the hard way . . .
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro perfectly illustrates that even the most savvy among us can be taken when our guard is down. Art dealer Lawrence Salander was arrested for an art investment scam that managed to impact both Robert De Niro and John McEnroe. De Niro’s father was an abstract expressionist painter during his lifetime. Salander sold De Niro Sr’s works after his death, but failed to pay the estate, costing it more than $1 million (Reuters).
The last thing you want to consider following the death of a loved one is their possessions. However, you can avoid mistakes and theft by taking time to inventory your loved one’s property as soon as possible, particularly if you are the executor of the estate. If you trust any items to an auction house or other sales venue, make sure to investigate their professional reputation. Think of it as putting money in their hands as you handover property of value.
Kenneth Starr was hired by actress Uma Thurman to deal with certain aspects of her finances, reports Fox Business. While Starr was busy stealing $33 million from his various clients, one million was hers. The moment she learned of her loss, Thurman demanded to be repaid. Starr did manage to give the money back, but only by using funds stolen from other sources.
Uma Thurman was wise enough to check in on her finances and to look into her business managers. Any time you trust your money in the hands of another, you are responsible for what they do with it. Identity theft company LifeLock agrees; though the company makes its money by monitoring personal information, it still suggests users “don’t take the ‘I’ out of identity.” When dealing with investors or money managers, get involved. If you don’t know something, ask.
Source: N. Czarnecki/WENN.com
In 2006 actor Kiefer Sutherland was working on a movie in which he played a cowboy. During shooting Sutherland was told of a cattleman who bought cattle in Mexico and resold them at a huge profit in the U.S. Sutherland invested about $500,000 and garnered handsome profit. One year later, he invested nearly $900,000, only to lose all of the money. As it turned out, Michael Wayne Carr was less of a cattleman and more of a hustler who “repaid” investors with money he took from others.
The lesson to be learned is beware, even when you’ve dealt with an investor before. That first great success could have been his way of gaining your confidence.
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick
Source: Alberto Reyes/WENN.com
Bacon and Sedgwick are not tabloid fodder, preferring to live a quiet life away from work. The pair, however, were among the most recognized victims of financier Bernie Madoff, says CNBC.
There are two distinct lessons here. Con men will go after anyone. The bigger a con man’s ego, the larger his target. The second lesson involves reserving trust, even if it is a big name selling a product or service to you. Just because other people have invested with him does not mean that you should.
The Los Angeles Times reported a lawsuit filed by Billy Joel against his ex-brother-in-law Frank Weber. Weber was not just a relative, he was also Joel’s manager for a while. Joel claimed that Weber stole millions of dollars and used the money to make his own investments.
Mixing family with business can be a risky move, even if your family member is honest. Nothing separates family or friends faster than missing money.
About the author: Justin Rogers has a master’s degree in journalism and writes about the entertainment industry.