by Brian Mahany
Celebrities and media moguls attract much attention from American society; often that attention is unwanted. Fraudsters and con artists know there is a great deal of money in the media world and that makes celebrities and Hollywood production companies big targets for fraud. Matthew Rudolf, a former accountant for the NBC TV series “30 Rock” has joined the list of those accused of trying to steal from the entertainment industry.
According to a criminal complaint filed in New York City’s Queens County Criminal Court, Rudolph attempted to alter receipts and falsify expense documents, all so he could pocket the money. Prosecutors say he also misused an NBC credit card for his personal expenses.
As far as frauds go, Rudolf is about as unsophisticated as they come. Cops say he used White Out to alter some receipts. Rudolph was terminated from his position and faces 7 years in prison if convicted.
In August of last year, the owner of a Beverly Hills beauty salon was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from celebrity clients. Her scam? Simply stealing the credit card data from her clients and later racking up phony charges.The salon owner, Maria Perez, faces 25 years in prison.Her victims include Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway and Liv Tyler.
By all accounts, Perez should have been happy – and wealthy – from her work as a hair stylist and salon owner to the rich and famous. Cops say, however, that she is nothing more than a common thief with a long history of stealing. Police say she has a history of bad checks and shoplifting. Documents filed in connection with her arrest show 20 different aliases as well.
Not all celebrity scams are so crude. Last year I reported my brush with celebrity accountant Ken Starr in January of 2008, two years before his arrest. Starr counted as his clients such celebrities as Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone. Starr pled guilty last year to masterminding a $60 million Ponzi scheme.
The arrest and prosecution of those that steal from celebrities and entertainment giants always finds its way to the headlines. Most frauds are never prosecuted, however, and often involve agents who bilk their celebrity or sports star employers of their hard-earned money. High profile celebrities hire agents to take care of their finances, unfortunately not all agents are honest.
Unfortunately, as long as there are people with money there will be others trying to steal it.
MahanyLaw is a boutique law firm that helps victims of fraud recover their hard-earned money. Whether or not you are a celebrity, we can help you get back your money. Ponzi schemes, embezzlement, elder fraud, stock broker fraud… we can help. Our Wisconsin based asset recovery lawyers have helped people from Maine to Hawaii. If you or someone you know is a victim, call us. We promise a no obligation, no fee, no nonsense evaluation of your case.
Brian Mahany can be reached directly at (414) 704-6731. Brian can also be reached through the firm’s website, https://www.mahanyertl.com
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