The sordid tale of serial conman began in 2010 when the ABC reported that a Sydney court would hear a case involving 44-year-old Dimitri De Angelis who allegedly stole 8.5 million dollars from a number of high-profile Australians by pretending to be a music producer.
What began as a simple case of fraud quickly developed into one of the most fascinating and complex tales of subterfuge involving the use of fanciful photoshopped images in which the alleged fraudster superimposed pictures of himself to appear as though he was hobnobbing with some of the world’s most famous and powerful people.
Those convinced of the credentials of the wannabe millionaire are reported by The Age newspaper to include a Melbourne barrister, a university academic, the sister of one of Australia’s former prime ministers, as well as the former deputy lord mayor of Sydney, all of whom parted with their hard earned money.
Using images of himself with a wide variety of people including Pope John Paul II, Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, de Angelis apparently convinced investors to pour money into his dodgy record label Emporium Music on the basis that the people he appeared in the photographs with were his clients.
In other photos de Angelis appears with the likes of Nelson Mandela, John Howard, Vladimir Putin, Dennis Rodman and Mikhail Gorbachev. As a result of the photoshopped images, de Angelis managed to get real photos of himself with a number of famous people. However, most of the images he used in his scam were doctored.
According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, “A police statement tendered to the court said that de Angelis claimed to have led a team that killed Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar and emailed photos of himself with former US president Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.”
After being arrested in 2010, de Angelis was released on $1 million bail pending further enquires. In January of this year de Angelis pleaded not guilty to 28 charges including knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime, making false statements to obtain money, and publishing false statements with intent to deceive.
On the 8th of November, French-born de Angelis appeared at a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to 16 fraud charges. His sentencing will take place on the 26th of November.