American Greed 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

  • American Greed: Fraudster at the Opera and Frozen Assets

    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?

  • 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.

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

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