The FBI has launched a new website for victims of the “Hollywood Con Queen.” Since 2013, an unknown fraudster has bedeviled the entertainment industry by impersonating high-profile female executives like Sony’s Amy Pascal and Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, extending fraudulent offers of employment to ultimately scam victims out of their life’s savings. According to the FBI:
In this ongoing transnational fraud scheme targeting U.S. citizens, victims are contacted by text, email, or phone with a lucrative job offer in the entertainment industry; victims to date have included writers, stuntpeople, make-up artists, security providers, and photographers. Victims are told the job requires travel to Indonesia, typically Jakarta, for a so-called trial run of their services. When they arrive in Indonesia, the victims are met by a driver and are pressured into providing U.S. currency for the driver’s services. The victims are asked to continue to pay for other services and fees until the trip is completed or they realize they are the victim of a scam. The victims are not reimbursed for the cost of the travel or paid for their services while in Indonesia.
When the story first broke in 2018, the “Con Queen” was mainly known for impersonating female executives for the purposes of financial grift. But according to an update from the Hollywood Reporter, not only has the Con Queen has broadened her repertoire of impressions to include the likes of Marvel executive Victoria Alonso and Wendi Murdoch, ex-wife of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, but she has increasingly become interested in “luring people into sexually charged phone conversations, with no apparent financial stakes involved.”
In the case cited in the report, victims would receive an email appearing to be from Marvel casting director Sarah Finn, inviting them to speak with Victoria Alonso. In a feat of deception worthy of Marvel’s own Mysterio, the Con Queen would then impersonate Alonso’s voice, urging victims “to engage in sexually explicit role-play in order to convince her that he had the necessary acting chops.” The purpose of the sexually explicit interviews remains unclear and all the more disturbing. The Con Queen remains at large and the FBI suggests that anyone in the entertainment industry receiving offers to work in Indonesia should “perform additional research and proceed with caution.”
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary and criticism you won’t find anywhere else. Join Slate Plus.Join Slate Plus