Who's the "Crazy Evil Genius" Behind a Global Racket?
July 12, 2018 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Hollywood Reporter: Hunting the Con Queen of Hollywood: Who's the "Crazy Evil Genius" Behind a Global Racket? "For more than a year, some of the most powerful women in entertainment — including Amy Pascal, Kathleen Kennedy, Stacey Snider and a 'Homeland' director — have been impersonated by a cunning thief who targets insiders with promises of work, then bilks them out of thousands of dollars. The Hollywood Reporter has obtained exclusive audio recordings of the savvy imposter as victims come forward and a global investigation heats up." "She speaks in multiple voices, conducts business with victims in multiple territories, and only ever deals with a few thousand dollars at a time, which isn't enough for the FBI to consider getting involved."
posted by bz (19 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Maeby Fünke unavailable for comment.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:19 PM on July 12 [12 favorites]


Google Duplex has gone rogue already?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:14 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


Google Duplex has gone rogue already?

Leans in too much, not enough "um" and "uh" -- unless that's part of its rogue nature. Enough time playing assistant, time to be a boss.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:18 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Jeeeeeesus don't read the comments though. Or do and aggressively downvote, I guess.
posted by FritoKAL at 2:35 PM on July 12


I'd start with the SAG list of female voice actors...
posted by jim in austin at 3:18 PM on July 12


From the article:
Not long afterward, she asked him to turn on his Skype camera so she could see him. She said she couldn't turn her own camera on because of security issues.
Oh man. It's really hard to keep your wits about you when you're in the midst of being swindled by perhaps one of the world's top con-women. But if 1,500 episodes of Catfish have taught us anything, it's that anyone who insists on camming but whose own webcam just isn't working right now has to be automatically suspect.

The even wilder aspect of this story is how the con-woman apparently kept going above and beyond the requirements of the base con (e.g.: how she kept pestering the main photographer guy even though he had no more money to steal, that whole "gimme kisses" thing, etc...). Sounds like something even more sinister in the background.
posted by mhum at 4:24 PM on July 12 [7 favorites]


It seems very clear to me, listening to these audio recordings, that the speaker is a man imitating a woman.

Am I alone in this?
posted by pretentious illiterate at 4:57 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


It seems very clear to me, listening to these audio recordings, that the speaker is a man imitating a woman.

Am I alone in this?


No, but I read your comment before I listened. The first one in particular I couldn't hear as anything other than male.
posted by treepour at 5:37 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


This is a crazy story. Not just the length and complexity of the con, but the number of people who are simultaneously being conned.

Clearly whoever this is has a far more sophisticated sense of how to read & manipulate people than your average European or American who is used to the protections of a lawful society. Also, probably the big personalities in entertainment and informality of entertainment industry dealings make whatever crazy ask is going down seem more plausible to the marks.
posted by subdee at 5:39 PM on July 12


"The imposter has never been seen in person or on video." Dr. Mabuse, please pick up the courtesy phone.
posted by doctornemo at 6:54 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


They're hitting on low-level people in an industry full of climbers who just cannot not jump headfirst into an apparent dream gig. Every one of them probably thought something like, "OK, this crazy [expletive] is being totally unreasonable, her people in [country] are weird and scary and useless, and I may not even break even at this rate, but if I get through this bullshit... I got it made! Hell, I at least have to stick it out until I'm paid."

And this is interesting:
He noticed that she questioned him on every modulation of his voice, however slight. He started to pay attention to his speech in ways he never had before. "I would have to defend or explain everything," he says.
The impersonator listening carefully to the target's voice. (And probably imitating and mocking that voice after they hung up.)
posted by pracowity at 3:45 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


It's a bit more tactical than that. It shifts frame and focus: target is now trying to gain the attacker's confidence and is wasting cognitive focus on self-scrutiny during interactions.

It's like enterprise-grade negging.
posted by BS Artisan at 6:22 AM on July 13 [9 favorites]


Wait, so Amy Pascal isn't the wallet inspector?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:19 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


They do all that online now. I can set you up for free - no processing fees for a year, anyway - but I only have two referral codes left. MeMail?
posted by BS Artisan at 8:09 AM on July 13


(Please everyone know I'm joking. Please.)
posted by BS Artisan at 8:09 AM on July 13


(Please everyone know I'm joking. Please.)
posted by BS Artisan


Mmm-hmm.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:33 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Something that occurs to me, after reading TFA, is that maybe the money isn't the point. All of the impersonations are of either powerful Hollywood women, or people pretending to work for them; there's a strong component of sexual harassment, and it continues after the marks' money is gone. And many of the comments center around Kathleen Kennedy, the bête noire of a whole bunch of male Star Wars fans who are convinced that she's singlehandedly ruining the franchise (even as it pulls in record grosses--well, except for Solo).Maybe this thing is being run or at least bankrolled by a rich misogynist fan?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:01 AM on July 13


Maybe this thing is being run or at least bankrolled by a rich misogynist fan?

I was thinking it was set up by a rejected actor who is seeking revenge on the whole industry.
posted by Toddles at 10:04 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


That first recording is a man not a woman. And I'd bet good money they are from Taiwan but have lived many years in England. The second file might be an actual woman or the same man. Not a native UK accent either imho. They're a good impressionist but you can't hide accents completely from people who've been around them a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 2:28 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


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