Australia has been amused by the case of a Sydney conman who convinced people he was famous by photo-shopping himself into pictures with celebrities. A court was told how Dimitri de Angelis duped investors out of more than $8 million by pretending to be friends with celebrities like former US president Bill Clinton.
Judge Richard Cogswell spent two hours sentencing Dimitri de Angelis to 12 years jail. What de Angelis did was fabricate his fame on photoshop. He would show investors pictures of himself with famous people and they thought they were doing business with someone important. Angelis really milked it too. Pictures were shown of him meeting Queen Elizabeth II, His Holiness the Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, US presidents George Bush senior, George W Bush and Bill Clinton and Australian prime ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd. He claimed that he owned fleets of luxury cars as well as mansions and luxurious homes in Sydney and Melbourne.
With all these famous people behind him, he suggested to investors that every one per cent in his company would be worth $6 million when the company went public. De Angelis's company was dropping down the loo but he was "very skilled" at deceiving his victims. The former Qantas steward rented Rolls-Royces, luxury holiday homes and offices to fool investors into thinking he was a wealthy businessman and that his recording company Emporium Music was a "foolproof scheme".
Those stung by de Angelis included Anne Keating, the sister of former prime minister Paul Keating, Sydney's former deputy lord mayor Marcelle Hoff, all experienced businessmen and lawyers. De Angelis pleaded guilty to 16 fraud charges.