‘Con Queen Of Hollywood:’ Judge Rules Suspected Industry Fraudster Can Be Extradited To U.S. Over Offences

Accused fraudster Hargobind Tahilramani, dubbed the “con queen of Hollywood” after allegedly impersonating movie executives in an extensive fraud scheme, can be extradited to face charges in the US, a UK judge ruled Tuesday morning.

The 43-year-old is accused of conning more than 300 victims, including actors and screenwriters out of more than one million dollars during a multi-year scheme.

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Authorities arrested Tahilramani in late November 2020 in Manchester, northern England. Since then, he’s been held at a prison in London. He is accused of impersonating several prominent Hollywood figures, including producer Megan Ellison and executive Amy Pascal in phone calls, emails, and text messages. Prosecutors say Tahilramani, an Indonesian native, would convince US industry professionals to travel to Indonesia at their own expense for non-existent projects before charging them a raft of fees and expenses, which were never repaid.

Tahilramani’s lawyers have previously tried to stop any potential extradition to the US, where he faces eight charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud – which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment – and five counts of aggravated identity theft, all of which hold two years each.

In a legal document submitted to a London court in September, Tahilramani’s legal team argued that the poor conditions of American prisons, along with their client’s unstable mental health, and the bulk of his alleged crimes taking place in the United Kingdom, are factors why he should not be extradited.

Last year Joel Smith, representing the US, said Tahilramani was the “mastermind” behind the expansive scheme. Smith said that once victims arrived in Indonesia, they would be asked to pay for a host of fees that would be reimbursed upon return to the US.

“The monies spent by the victim were received by the defendant himself and never paid back,” Smith said. “At its heart, this is an old-fashioned advanced fees fraud.”

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