GO
Loading...

Episode 44: Fraudster of the Opera | Frozen Assets: The Ice Capers

American Greed: "Fraudster at the Opera" and "Frozen Assets"

Case 1: Fraudster of the Opera

  • The Money Manager
  • Alberto Vilar is a noted money manager. Together with a partner, he opens an investment firm. By the mid-1990s, Amerindo Investment Advisors claims to manage nearly $2.8 billion in assets.
  • The Philanthropist
  • Vilar shares his wealth. He becomes a philanthropist and jet-setting patron of the arts. Over a period of several years, he pledges a staggering $200 million to operas around the world. But soon Vilar will be unable to honor many of those pledges.
  • Risky Investments
  • Vilar doesn't always invest funds as promised. Instead he puts money in risky high tech and biotech stocks. Vilar uses his charm to lure new, unsuspecting clients. For a while, his deception goes undetected.
  • Reversal of Fortune
  • A downturn in the tech market causes Vilar's net worth to plummet. To stay afloat he and his partner turn to fraud. They betray a so-called favorite client, Lily Cates, mother of actress Phoebe Cates. Lilly gives Vilar millions to invest. But Lily is putting her trust in the wrong man.

Case 2: Frozen Assets: The Ice Capers

  • The Venture Capitalist
  • William "Boots" Del Biaggio is a Silicon Valley success. He lives a lavish lifestyle complete with luxury homes, expensive cars and high-rolling gambling trips to Las Vegas. The hometown boy seems to have it all.
  • The Hockey Team
  • Del Biaggio is a smart and savvy businessman but his true passion is hockey. He's a minority owner in the San Jose Sharks. He enjoys the benefits – club seats, access to suites and meetings with the athletes. But "Boots" wants more.
  • The Investment Opportunity
  • Del Biaggio dreams of owning an NHL team. Opportunity knocks. He is asked to join a group of investors trying to buy the Nashville Predators. To get a piece of the action, he needs $25 million. There's one problem: Biaggio doesn't have the money.
  • The Scam
  • He devises a scheme to secure loans from creditors using falsified bank statements. How far will Del Biaggio go to realize his dream?

Web Extras

  • Philanthropist Alberto Vilar makes headlines for his ability to help himself to other people's money…not for his generous donations. And in another story of greed, William "Boots" Del Biaggio has millions, fame and fortune. Will he risk it all to gain even more?

  • American Greed/Fraudster of the Opera     Tuesday, 8 Mar 2011 | 12:00 AM ET

    Money Manager Alberto Vilar was a philanthropist convicted of fraud. New York Times reporter Dan Wakin talks about Vilar's motives for donating millions.

  • Infamous Sports Scams Tuesday, 13 Apr 2010 | 1:24 PM ET
    William “Boots” Del Biaggio III was a hockey team owner skating on thin ice. His insatiable desire to be a sports mogul caused him to commit a multimillion-dollar fraud.Federal authorities accused Del Biaggio, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist and part owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team, of defrauding investors and using the money to buy his $25 million stake in the professional sports team, according to The New York Times.The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a compl

    The lifestyle of a sports star may seem glamorous with money, cars, homes and parties but it has its down side. And sports stars can be easy targets for financial scams.

  • American Greed/Frozen Assets     Tuesday, 8 Mar 2011 | 12:00 AM ET

    Venture capitalist William "Boots" Del Biaggio's desire to become a sports mogul leads him to commit a multimillion-dollar fraud. Phil Gregory, an attorney for his victims, explains how Del Biaggio recruited new clients for his sham investment funds.

  • Vilar’s Personal History Thursday, 19 Apr 2012 | 10:44 AM ET

    A record of Vilar’s statement of personal history submitted to the court. (Source: Court records)

  • Vilar's Letter to the Court Thursday, 19 Apr 2012 | 8:47 AM ET

    Vilar wrote a lengthy letter to Judge Richard Sullivan in which he disputes claims set forth against him and details his history of charitable giving, philanthropic service, successful investing, and military service as well as health concerns. (Source: Court records)

  • Vilar's Passport Friday, 7 Sep 2012 | 11:39 AM ET

    Vilar's passport reveals he was born Albert W. Vilar in New Jersey and displays stamps from his many travels. (Source: Court records)

  • The Plea Agreement Friday, 7 Sep 2012 | 11:41 AM ET
  • Del Biaggio's Bankruptcy Petition Friday, 7 Sep 2012 | 11:41 AM ET

American Greed Showtimes

AMERICAN GREEDATHON!
Financial Guru Gone Bad
Saturday, August 23rd 10pm ET/PT
Hackers: Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Saturday, August 23rd 11pm ET/PT
Raffaello Follieri
Sunday, August 24th 10pm ET/PT
Crash and Burn
Sunday, August 24th 11pm ET/PT
The Mad Max of Wall Street
Sunday, August 24th 12am ET/PT
Suicide is Painless
Sunday, August 24th 1am ET/PT
Crash and Burn
Sunday, August 24th 3am ET/PT
Don't miss any "American Greed" episodes. Check the U.S. TV schedule for additional showtimes.
#AmericanGreed