(13 August 2019) — K2 Intelligence’s investigation into the Con Queen of Hollywood has been elevated by the FBI today, who announced the launch of a web form to identify those who may have fallen victim to the perpetrator’s acts. We encourage anyone who may have been victimized in this scam to visit the portal, and complete the FBI’s questionnaire.
K2 Intelligence’s investigation continues to be led by Nicoletta Kotsianas. Nicoletta has helped shed light on the impersonations of powerful women in Hollywood and other, prominent high-net-worth individuals, as well as those taken in by the fraudulent scam by travelling to Indonesia and fronting money never to be reimbursed.
The investigation is chipping away at this sophisticated impersonation scam. The fraudster has successfully impersonated the voice and mannerisms of leading executives and producers—a “Who’s Who” of Hollywood and high-net-worth individuals—all to defraud a number of Hollywood industry insiders and influencers, ranging from make-up artists to photographers to stunt men, of many thousands of dollars each.
According to Nicoletta Kotsianas, senior director in the firm’s New York office, “This is a particularly well-devised scam, they've found a way to combine a lot of elements and run with it.” The investigation and impersonation scam was initially highlighted by The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com, and since then has been widely followed by media and industry insiders.
High-profile individuals are popular targets when it comes to similar crimes, especially in this age of extensive social media usage. Snežana Gebauer, head of K2 Intelligence’s Investigations and Disputes practice, explains, “There is an important element of social engineering going on with these victims. They know everything about their victims' personal lives and use the necessary pressure points, and they use publicly available information about the executives they are impersonating.”
Backed by the global reach of a network built over decades, K2 Intelligence’s team—including former prosecutors, law enforcement agents, cyber experts, research analysts, and forensic accountants—has the proven ability to help clients investigate, identify, and disrupt such fraudulent schemes.
For further background on the Con Queen of Hollywood, please visit the media stories below:
- Business Insider Spain, “Las 11 estafas online más sofisticadas de las que puedes ser víctima hoy en día en la red” (11 August 2019)
- The Hollywood Reporter, “Hollywood's ‘Con Queen’ Scam Artist Is Actually a Man, Investigators Say” (1 August 2019)
- Page Six, “So-called 'Con Queen of Hollywood' Is Actually a Man” (1 August 2019)
- Comic Book Review, “Hollywood Con Artist Targets Geoff Johns as Part of Ongoing Scam” (1 August 2019)
- The New York Times, “Sent to Indonesia by a Fake Film Executive? The F.B.I. Wants to Talk to You" (15 July 2019)
- Nouvelles du Monde, “Le FBI à la recherche d'autres victimes d'un escroc à Hollywood après l'attaque d'un dirigeant de Marvel" (15 July 2019)
- The Hollywood Reporter, “FBI Seeks More Victims of Hollywood Con Artist After Marvel Executive Targeted" (15 July 2019)
- Daily Mail, “'Con Queen of Hollywood' Posed as Marvel Film Executive to Trick Aspiring Actors into Sexually Explicit Phone Interviews" (15 July 2019)
- Business Insider India, "The 11 Most Sophisticated Online Scams Right Now that the Average Person Falls For" (25 March 2019)
- Deadline, “Global Scam Ravaging Hollywood: Silver-Tongued Imposter Poses as Top Female Producers to Catfish Victims” (21 February 2018)
- VICE, “Instagrammers Are Getting Scammed by a Mysterious 'Con Queen'" (11 February 2019)
- CNN, “Art Scam: Wendi Deng Murdoch Imposter Swindles Thousands from Photographers” (18 January 2019)
- Insider, “A Prolific Scammer Posing as Different Celebrities Is Flying Instagram Influencers Across the World in an Elaborate Scheme to Steal Their Money” (18 January 2019)
- Daily Mail, “The Con Queen of Hollywood Returns: Scammer Impersonates Wendi Deng to Con $16,000 from Instagram Star as String of Fresh Victims Emerges, Along with New Ruse Involving Asking Male Actors to Engage in Phone Sex” (18 January 2019) and “The Woman Who Conned Hollywood” (17 November 2018)
- BuzzFeed News, “Instagram Influencers Are Being Targeted In an Elaborate Scam by Someone Pretending to Be Wendi Deng Murdoch” (17 January 2019)
- PetaPixel, "How an Elaborate International Scam Is Making the Rounds Among Instagrammers and Photographers” (16 January 2019)
- The Times of London, “Who Is the Hollywood Con Queen?” (5 September 2018)
- The Hollywood Reporter, “Hunting the Con Queen of Hollywood: Who’s the ‘Crazy Evil Genius’ Behind a Global Racket?” (11 July 2018) and “FBI Opens Investigation into Hollywood’s Notorious ‘Con Queen’” (27 August 2018)