Hollywood's 'fraud queen' can be extradited to US

“Hollywood's scam queen


British justice on Tuesday gave the green light to the extradition of Hargobind Tahilramani, an alleged con artist nicknamed “the queen of Hollywood scams” ​​for having extracted hundreds of thousands of dollars from film professionals by posing as influential Hollywood women.

Of Indonesian origin, this virtuoso in the imitation of female voices and accents is accused of having thus relieved of more than $1 million over 300 people, including actors, screenwriters and photographers, between 2013 and 2020.

He had been arrested in 2020 in England after his indictment in November 2019 by a California court.

Among the Hollywood personalities that Hargobind Tahilramani impersonated are Kathleen Kennedy, the big boss of Lucasfilm (Star Wars saga), the former head of Sony Amy Pascal and the ex-CEO of Paramount studios Sherry Lansing.

The ex-wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Wendi, was also reportedly impersonated by the suspect, who also sometimes posed as male executives.

Film professionals in different specialties were contacted by the alleged scammer and offered prestigious and lucrative job opportunities for imaginary projects, according to the indictment. The only condition: to go to Indonesia for location scouting, documentation or preparatory work for the scenario.

Upon their arrival, the victims were relieved of their dollars at the slightest opportunity by accomplices who took “transportation costs” and other prohibitive advances supposed to be reimbursed later by the production.

< p>The dupes never saw the color of their money again and those who complained or expressed doubts were explicitly threatened by Hargobind Tahilramani, who intimidated them by sending them photos of their children or spoke of “dismembering” them, according to the indictment.

To oppose his extradition to the United States, his lawyers argued that the conditions of detention in this country would violate human rights and put forward the impact on his health that detention in near solitary confinement would have.

It is now up to UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman to order Hargobind Tahilramani's extradition.< /p>

Contacted by AFP, the Home Office said it did not want to comment on an individual case.

The publishing house HarperCollins had bought the rights to this incredible story, written by Scott Johnson, a former reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. The book is on sale from this Tuesday.