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Episode 27: Raffaello Follieri

Case File

Raffaello Follieri

  • Top of the World
  • At just 29 years old, Raffaello Follieri is at the top of his game. He has a successful real estate business, pulling in millions. He's hobnobbing with world leaders, and he's found love with Hollywood A-lister Anne Hathaway. He seems to have it all, but looks can be deceiving. His image soon will be shattered when he is revealed as a con man when a multi-million dollar fraud is exposed.
  • Glamour and the Vatican
  • In 2004, Follieri's company, the Follieri Group, plans to snap up distressed church property and flip it for a profit. He tells potential investors his connections at the Vatican can get him below-market prices. Successfully wooed, they give their money to Follieri, but behind the scenes, his business is failing. Follieri is burning through investor money, and has yet to snap up a church property.
  • Meanwhile, he's racking up huge debts, and he's not meeting payroll. Disgruntled employees begin to feel the pinch, and the wild spending finally catches up to him.
  • The Gig is Up
  • Follieri's business partner Ron Burkle finally sues Follieri for misappropriating $1.3 million. Meanwhile, dozens of investors and creditors are hounding him. It all comes to a head when he is arrested on wire fraud and money laundering charges. Instead of spending his thirtieth birthday on the island of Capri as planned, he's behind bars with bail set at $21 million.And his girlfriend Anne Hathaway? She dumps him.
  • And you won't believe what she does with her share of the $2.4 million in expensive watches and jewelry the federal government orders Follieri to forfeit.

Web Extras

  • Famous Celebrity Scams Tuesday, 23 Feb 2010 | 2:25 PM ET
    Celebrities may lead glamorous lives and have fabulous automobiles and homes, but their wealth and glamour doesn't insulate them from the scams and hoaxes that plague both savvy and not-so-savvy investors. In some cases, it can make them even more susceptible.Here we take a look at some of the celebrities over the years who have been fooled into parting with their money, or who have found their fame being used as the basis of a scam perpetrated on others.Click ahead to see some of the world's mo

    Take a look at some of the celebrities over the years who have been fooled into parting with their money, or who have found their fame being used as the basis of a scam.

  • Raffaello Follieri, Realtor     Tuesday, 2 Mar 2010 | 12:00 AM ET

    Raffaello Follieri, a successful realtor, hobnobbed with world leaders and found love with Hollywood A-lister Anne Hathaway. He is revealed as a con man when a multi-million dollar fraud exposed.

  • See more of Anne Hathaway and Raffaello Follieriâ??s trip to Nicaragua to inoculate needy children, as part of the Follieri Foundationâ??s first mission. The event was paid for with money stolen from Ron Burkleâ??s Yucaipa Company.

  • American Greed: Ted Cacioppi     Tuesday, 23 Feb 2010 | 12:02 AM ET

    FBI Special Agent Ted Cacioppi discusses the letter Raffaello Follieri received from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, which urges Follieri to stop claiming ties to the Vatican.

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