'Con queen of Hollywood', 41, faces extradition
‘Con queen of Hollywood’, 41, faces extradition hearing after being arrested in UK for ‘impersonating Rupert Murdoch’s ex Wendi Deng and execs to scam victims into phone sex and steal over £700,000’
- Hargobind Tahilramani, 41, faces extradition to the US over allegations of fraud
- Allegedly impersonated entertainment industry executives for financial gain
- He faces allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft
Hargobind Tahilramani, 41, is wanted in the US over allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft
A man dubbed the ‘Con Queen of Hollywood’ accused of impersonating movie executives to trick aspiring male stars in a £1.5million scam is facing extradition to the US.
Hargobind Tahilramani is wanted in the US over allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The 41-year-old allegedly impersonated well known figures in the entertainment industry, including Rupert Murdoch’s ex Wendy Deng, for financial gain.
He is accused of targeting those in the industry to induce them into paying money for non-existent work in Indonesia.
He appeared in court via video link from prison wearing a grey jumper, speaking to confirm his details.
The court previously heard how Tahilramani used a high-pitched voice and accents on the phone to scam hundreds of aspiring stars out of an estimated £1.5 million (US $2 million).
He targeted good-looking muscular men and even duped some into having phone sex with him by convincing them to read through raunchy sex scenes, according to the FBI – who want to try him in the US.
During the six-year scam he is accused of masquerading as Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy, former Sony movie exec Amy Pascal and former Paramount boss Sherry Lansing.
He is accused to impersonating Rupert Murdoch’s former wife Wend Deng (left) and Sony movie exec Amy Pascal (right)
Tahilramani was arrested by police in Manchester where he was staying in a hotel, in the early hours of 26 November after a year-long probe by the FBI.
Rachel Scott, for Tahilramani, said part of his defence will cover how some of the complainants came forward after investigations by journalists.
Ms Scott said her client had been the subject of ‘huge publicity’ including a podcast series and a story in popular magazine Vanity Fair.
‘It seems that a lot of the complainants have come forward as a result of the journalistic investigations,’ she continued.
She added that some of the work had been ‘sensationalist’ and ‘inflammatory’ and had concerns about whether it could pose a risk to the fairness of the trial.
Private investigation firm K2 Integrity, which worked with law enforcement agencies on the allegations, previously described Tahilramani as the ‘con queen of Hollywood’.
Agents and industry workers are said to have received calls offering the opportunity of a lifetime shooting a blockbuster film in Indonesia between 1 January 2013 and 31 August 2020.
But upon arriving in Jakarta having paid thousands on fake travel services and other bogus fees, it became clear they had been duped.
During the six-year scam he is accused of masquerading as Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy (left) and former Paramount boss Sherry Lansing (right)
Fraudsters contacting the companies posed as the former chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the former chair and CEO of 20th Century Fox, and the president of Lucasfilm, it was said.
Tahilramani was undeterred by the global pandemic, continuing the scheme while global coronavirus travel bans were in place until 31 August, prosecutors claim.
District Judge Nina Tempia said the hearing will take about three days, starting on September 6.
Tahilramani will appear again at the same court on February 28 via video link.
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