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Investigations Inc.: Ripping off the Rich

About the Show

Rare collectibles, a Rembrandt and other treasures are stolen from wealthy investors. CNBC's Investigations Inc. takes you inside a dangerous multi-billion dollar black-market business.

As a growing number of the world's wealthiest are looking for safe ways to store their millions, many are turning to "investments of passion" — famous art work, rare collectibles and even wine. But the insatiable demand for the rare has also created a booming criminal enterprise with losses estimated up to $6 billion every year.

CNBC's Investigations Inc. and Scott Wapner take you inside a multibillion-dollar underground market. Thousands of items ranging from famous artwork to Elvis' high school class ring are part of an ever-expanding database of stolen history. Even the most educated connoisseurs can be duped and collectors often have no idea they've been conned. Discover who's stealing from them, who's buying and how investors can protect themselves from thieves ripping off the rich.

Web Extras

  • The FBI’s Most Wanted Stolen Items Monday, 30 Jul 2012 | 9:52 AM ET
    Given today’s volatile stock market and sluggish global economy, more wealthy Americans are opting for alternative investment strategies, such as collecting high-profile art and jewelry. In turn, the FBI said theft of such items has become a booming criminal enterprise.Clearly, there is high “black market” demand for the nation’s most valuable national treasures, as the FBI estimates total losses amount to $6 billion annually. The high school class ring of Elvis Presley, pictured here, is just o

    Thousands of items of cultural and historical significance have been reported stolen to the FBI. Click ahead for the list of the FBI’s most wanted stolen art works.

  • How to Spot a Fake  Friday, 27 Jul 2012 | 12:00 AM ET

    An increasing number of wealthy collectors are investing in art, rare collectibles and even wine. But when buying rare, trophy bottles, even the most educated connoisseur can get duped. Jamie Ritchie, President of Sotheby's Wine in the U.S. and Asia, explains how to spot a fake.

  • NY Con Man Ripping Off the Rich  Monday, 30 Jul 2012 | 12:00 AM ET

    New York socialite Roxane West never expected the man she trusted and treated like family could be part of a crime wave that targets the wealthy. CNBC investigates the billion dollar criminal enterprise that is "Ripping off the Rich."

  • Creative Criminals Ripping off the Rich  Monday, 30 Jul 2012 | 12:00 AM ET

    In 2011 the super rich spent $11 billion on art and more than $5 billion on wine. But where there's big money, there's big opportunity to rob the rich. CNBC investigates the billion dollar criminal enterprise that is "Ripping off the Rich."

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  • Scott Cohn develops in-depth features, special reports and documentaries for CNBC and CNBC.com.