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“The victim became his toy.” the depraved journey of a “Hollywood con man” who was actually human;

Between 2010 and 2020, it claimed more than 500 lives and caused $2 million in damage. A look back at the journey of the hillbilly con artist at the center of the miniseries airing on Apple TV+.

No one has forgotten the crazy story of con artist Anna Delvey. Between 2013 and 2017, this alleged Russian heir defrauded his entourage, hotels and investors of several hundred thousand dollars. But very few people know that at the same time a completely different criminal was ruling.Hollywood Con Queen:. Both were, of course, serial cheaters. Except that the second one did not seek only to pocket the money of his victims. Above all, he intended to destroy their dreams.

Make-up artists, stuntmen, directors, photographers or actors… Many professionals yearning to find a place in the shadow of the hill have fallen under the yoke of this fraudster with many faces, promising them mountains and miracles. Until the journalists reveal his secret. The one who killed 500 people and caused 2 million dollars (1.8 million euros) in damage was actually… a person. A terrible fate in the documentary mini-series Hollywood Con Queen:available on Apple TV + from Wednesday 8 May.

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50 people per hour

His story is like a “Hollywood movie”. Over the years, the Con Queen of Hollywood has allegedly impersonated 15 different people. Among them are Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, celebrity producer Amy Pascal, Universal president Donna Langley and Wendy Deng, ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch. At the peak of her activity, the scammer was allegedly calling up to 50 people an hour. On his computer charts, he would keep notes on each of his targets.

For this criminal, no one practices cannot be confirmed. Hollywood’s Con Queen never did it the same way twice. What we do know, however, is that every time “the victim becomes his toy,” comments journalist Scott Johnson, who has published articles on the subject. Hollywood Reporter inspired the series. Chris Smith’s documentary tells how the scammer mainly targeted more vulnerable freelancers, promising them the opportunity of a lifetime. While weaving his web around them.

Six trips to Indonesia

Director Will Stratman is among the victims of this trick. In 2017, he received a letter signed by Amy Pascal. Believing he’s talking to a real producer, he talks to him about a show he wants to develop for Netflix. Will Stratman ignores the strange behavior of his interlocutor. He, whom he has never met in person, asks to pay the travel expenses in advance, and only calls at 2 in the morning. However, he agrees to fly to Indonesia to do some location work for the shoot.

At the request of the so-called producer, the director made a total of six trips in two and a half weeks. Every day he strives to capture images that can satisfy him. But every time he asks her to go back to Indonesia without paying any compensation. Will Stratman sees his savings slowly go up in smoke. The director, who realized the scam too late, will be released from $54,452 (€50,585).

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Phone sex

For others, the deception goes further. And reveals the extent of his depravity. This is the case of John Taylor, a pseudonymous, aspiring actor. The latter recounts in the miniseries how he was contacted by a man named Doug Liman, a so-called director, who claimed to be working on a new project and wanted to spotlight an unknown actor. The filmmaker insists that John Taylor contact Universal President Donna Langley. Soon the latter is faced with incredible requests. With an $800 advance payment for the martial arts lessons needed to make the film, he is assigned to watch a list of feature films for which he must write multiple character analyses. It is not important. In the midst of a global pandemic, John Taylor is happy to participate in the exercise. Donna Langley (the fake one) assures him, moreover, that she will soon participate in the reading of the script with Tom Cruise. This meeting will never happen. But the strangest episode comes when one night he receives a call from someone claiming to be Barbara Ellison, the ex-wife of billionaire Larry Ellison, who co-founded the software company Oracle. He offers her the use of his gym to work out as part of his physical training. Before demanding that he pretend to lick her and have an orgasm over the phone.

Although the call only lasted 40 seconds, John Taylor said it was “the most awkward call he’s ever received in his life”. Especially since the incident does not remain isolated. When John Taylor plans to Skype with Donna Langley, he asks her to kiss the camera for a scene. He does so. When he tells her to take off her shirt, she relents, though she is wary. But when she asks him to do some sleight of hand in front of the camera, the actor flatly refuses, getting extremely angry, before ending the discussion. And to see the collapse of his dream.


For years the con man ran amok with impunity. However, he is not aware that some people in the shadows are actively looking for his identity. Just like a reporter Hollywood Reporter Scott Johnson, an investigator hired by the real Amy Pascal, Nicoletta Kotsianas, is on her trail. Reporters soon Vanity Fair They are also conducting their own investigations. And finally exposing the crook. We are shocked to learn that the crook is actually… a crook. Of those who change their name as regularly as their country.

A completely different character then emerges, described as “volatile and violent”. Behind the mask of Hollywood’s Con Queen is one Hargobind Tahilraman. The latter also goes by the alias “Gavin” or even “Harvey,” which was his nickname when he was younger, or perhaps a tribute to his idol Harvey Weinstein. During these investigations, the 44-year-old launched the Purebytes Instagram account, where he works as a lifestyle influencer.

He even offered himself the services of an acquaintance, a former sommelier, who, having been hired as a photographer, helps him shoot his videos. He considers the behavior of the latter’s employer more and more suspicious. Until the day when Hargobind Tahilramani would strip before him before telling him: “Don’t worry, I’m not trying to molest you.” When an influencer assures him that the Me Too movement is a hoax, the former sommelier quits. A cheater will eventually deactivate their Instagram account.

Threats and a suicide note

When journalist Scott Johnson finds the elusive Hargobind Tahilramani in a Manchester apartment hotel in the year 2020 by a fortunate combination of circumstances, the latter agrees to tell him his version of the facts. A series of day-to-day exchanges then ensue, in which the con artist confides his charms to Ursula’s characters. Little mermaid (1989) and Glenn Close Dangerous relationship (1988). Before sharing his life story. Born in Indonesia, the criminal grew up in a privileged environment in Jakarta, yet suffered ridicule from his classmates and teachers, who considered him too feminine.

As a young adult, Hargobind Tahilramani flew to the United States in the late 1990s, enrolled in various American universities, and eventually joined Cal State University Long Beach, where he participated in elocution competitions. That’s when the trouble starts. Disqualified for plagiarism during the competition, he decides to take revenge. Hargobind writes a suicide note, blaming some of his friends for his actions. And makes terroristic threats against them under the guise of anonymity. By the time they discover the truth, it’s too late. In 2001, Hargobind Tahilramani already returned to Jakarta.

Interrogated by journalists years later, the sisters described him as mentally unstable. In the early 2000s, after the death of his father, whose mother died of cancer a few years ago, disputes arose about the inheritance. So much so that one day the criminal allegedly pushed his sister down the stairs. He assures that the family forced him to undergo conversion therapy. And he claims that his sisters did everything to deprive him of his inheritance.

From Four Seasons to Jail

In 2007, it was for theft that Hargobind was finally jailed. From his cell, the crook delivers Four Seasons meals to his fellow citizens and threatens the United States Embassy via a carefully hidden phone. However, when the criminal gets out of prison in 2011, he decides to leave his past behind. Now he is pursuing a new goal: to enter the entertainment industry. Even if it means slipping into the shoes of those pulling the strings.

That year he even convinced Enrique Iglesias to come and perform in Indonesia. Hargobind claims to organize the Miss Teen Indonesia election, during which he offers the singer to give a concert. The artist discovers the deception only when he lands in the country. Hargobind Tahilramani was arrested in November 2020 following multiple media and police investigations and is currently in the United Kingdom.

On June 6, 2023, a British judge ruled that he would be extradited to the United States. A choice the offender is currently challenging in court. In a recording broadcast during the documentary, the man who would always operate alone says: But I’m the best criminal you’ve ever known.”

Source: Le Figaro

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