Actors tricked into ‘Hollywood con queen’ scam
Tahilramani, 41, also known as Gobind Lal Tahil, is wanted in the United States to face allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with the scam of £1.5 million.
Well-known entertainment industry figures who allegedly posed for financial gain included Wendi Deng, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch; Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, and Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures and President of Production at 20th Century Fox. Tahilramani, an Indonesian man who moved to the UK five years ago, is accused of tricking his victims into paying him for facilitating non-existent work there in Indonesia.
Court documents filed in California say he would ‘use fake accents and alter his voice to sound like a woman’ to approach his victims with offers of lucrative jobs, ordering them to travel to the South Asian country -Is for location scouting, research and script writing.
However, upon arrival, they were reportedly persuaded by Tahilramani and his co-conspirators to hand over additional sums to cover “incurred” expenses for bogus projects, such as plane tickets and photography permits.
If they complained or expressed doubts, Tahilramani allegedly threatened to “dismember” the victim, according to court documents.
At one point, Tahilramani also allegedly tricked a number of men into having phone sex with him by convincing them to read alleged sex scenes from movies, according to the charging documents.
Tahilramani was arrested by police at a hotel in Manchester in the early hours of November 26, 2020 after a year-long investigation by the FBI, assisted by K2 Integrity, a corporate intelligence firm.
“They were hard working people”
Nicoletta Kotsianas, New York-based K2 Integrity’s lead investigator in the case, said the British victims included “many actors, security personnel – some with military backgrounds working in security for wealthy people – stuntmen and chefs”. was at all levels.
Jeremy Kroll, co-CEO and co-founder of K2 Integrity, said: “These were hard-working people; stunt people, hairstylists, makeup artists, the people the industry relies on. Others were starting their careers and were susceptible because of their hopes and dreams.”
He added, “When Hargobind Tahramani is officially extradited, the people who were victimized will be one step closer to justice and closure.”
Tahilramani, who is challenging the extradition attempt, faces a rehearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, with a full extradition hearing scheduled for September.
At an earlier hearing, Tahilramani’s legal team argued that the “sensational” and “inflammatory” coverage of the case could pose a risk to the fairness of any trial in the United States.
Rachel Scott, defending Tahilramani, said some of the plaintiffs against him came forward after investigations by journalists and he received “huge publicity”.
The scam began in early 2013 and continued into 2020, despite the imposition of pandemic travel bans, as victims were instead told to purchase non-existent training videos.