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Steffanie Marchese


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American Greed” Episode 51 - Kenneth Starr: Naked Greed: Celebrity Scam Artist

If you were a bold face name with lots of money, Kenneth Ira Starr wanted to manage it. Famous clients of the New York accountant include Sylvester Stallone, Uma Thurman, Carly Simon, and Wesley Snipes. But on September 10, 2010, Starr pleads guilty to one count each of wire fraud, money laundering, and investment adviser fraud. At his hearing, Starr admits, among other things, that he stole Starr & Co. clients’ money to use for his own purposes between 2009 and 2010.

Here’s how his scam works: Starr solicits money from clients to invest in “sure deals.” Instead, Starr diverts all or some of the money to his bank account or too risky investments that help him, his wife, or close associates.

When clients request their money, Starr pays them using newly-acquired funds. It’s a classic Ponzi scheme. Thanks to his ill-gotten gains, Starr’s third wife, Diane Passage -once a stripper and dancer at Scores- reinvents herself as a socialite and movie/music producer. According to the U.S. Attorney, the total loss associated with Starr’s fraud is between $20 million and $50 million. His sentence: 7 1/2 years in federal prison.

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