Episode 13: Fraud in Cyberspace

Case File

Fraud in Cyberspace
A conman, some say an 'evil genius.' The once-chairman of Cybernet, a wildly successful global technology company, stands accused of stealing millions in an elaborate fraud. American Greed profiles one of the biggest scams of the 21st century.

Fraud in Cyberspace

  • The "Evil Genius"
  • Barton Watson. The high-flying chairman of Cybernet. He had it all. Success. Money. Cars. By all outward appearances, Cybernet appears to be a successful company and Watson is living large.
  • The Deception
  • Cybernet seems to be thriving, but in reality, it's drowning in debt. To keep afloat, Cybernet inflates its financial reports to the banks to secure loans. Staff members become suspicious. One contacts the FBI.
  • The Raid
  • Federal agents raid Cybernet's headquarters. Watson's elaborate scam totals $120 million and leaves behind the shattered dreams of investors and employees. Cybernet executives face the music in court, but Watson determines is own tragic fate.

Web Extras

  • Fraud in Cyberspace Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 | 1:16 PM ET

    Click to learn more about Barton Watson's journey into fraud in cyberspace.

  • The Scam     Friday, 29 Feb 2008 | 12:00 AM ET

    Mark Gottlieb tells how he was tricked twice by Barton Watson.

  • Barton's Office Behavior     Friday, 29 Feb 2008 | 12:00 AM ET

    Hear the shocking details of how Barton fired Elaine VanSuilichem from Cybernet.

  • Wheel of Fortune     Friday, 29 Feb 2008 | 12:00 AM ET

    Find out what a life of crime buys. IRS Agent Rodney Urlaub explains the "Wheel of Fortune."

  • The American Horseman Thursday, 30 Aug 2012 | 2:53 PM ET

    Read a 1972 article from The Belding Banner, where at the age of twelve, Barton Watson names himself CEO of The American Horseman, a publication boasting a distribution of nearly 500 issues.

  • Ownership Monday, 11 Jun 2012 | 10:10 AM ET

    John Straayer finds it odd that Barton Watson’s wife Krista signs the company documents, such as this banking form. Little does Straayer know that Watson is an ex-con.

American Greed Showtimes

Friday, April 18th 12p – 6p ET
12p ET AG #79
The Lady Killer
1p ET AG #82
Young Lust Goes Bust
4p ET AG #81
Murder in Memphis
The Prisoner of Wall Street
Saturday, April 19th 1a, 3a ET/PT
$udden Death/ Hip Hop Hustle
Sunday, April 20th 1a, 3a ET/PT
Check the U.S. TV schedule for additional showtimes.

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