crime Famous People Who Got Swindled  

Mike Rothschild
75.4k views 18 items Embed

Celebrities who got scammed include a number of victims of Bernie Madoff, but also famous people who've fallen for everything from tax-shelter fraud to ludicrous investment schemes. Famous people usually attract hangers-on looking for money, and sometimes they ensnare the celebrity in a scam. Since it's often impossible for celebrities to track their money closely, large sums of it can go missing without anyone knowing.

How is this possible? Ask Sting, who got taken for millions by a manager and didn't even realize it. Or Billy Joel, who had to sue his former manager for $90 million. Or Gary Coleman, whose parents robbed him of his earnings while he was still a child. Or even Kiefer Sutherland, who lost close to a million dollars in a cattle purchasing scheme. Sometimes the money can be recovered - but often, it's gone for good.

Here are some celebrities that got scammed, famous people who got swindled, and notable stars who were robbed. Some were innocent victims, but others really should have known better.
Kevin Bacon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous People Who Got Swindled
Photo: s_bukley/

Husband and wife actors Bacon and Sedgwick were heavily invested in the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, and lost an amount Bacon described as "a lot of f*cking money." The two appeared to take the loss in stride, reflecting on what they still had - including their family and the ability to work.

Age: 58

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Television director, Musician, Film Producer, Actor, + more

Credits: Footloose, Apollo 13, Mystic River, X-Men: First Class

Also Ranked

#27 on The Best Living American Actors

#42 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#58 on The Best Marvel Movie Actors Ever

#50 on The Best TV Actors of All Time

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Larry King is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous People Who Got Swindled
Photo: Angela George/Wikipedia/CC BY 3.0

The broadcaster invested over $700,000 with Bernie Madoff and lost all of it when the scammer was arrested. King was fortunate and recovered all of it thanks to court-mandated repayments.

Age: 83

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Profession: Talk show host, Journalist, Radio personality, Actor, Voice acting, + more

Credits: Larry King Now, Larry King Live, We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Larry King TNT Extra 3

Also Ranked

#30 on The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts

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Sting is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous People Who Got Swindled
Photo: Freebase/Fair use

In 1995, Keith Moore, Sting's financial adviser for 15 years, was accused of using a complex financial system involving more than over 100 separate accounts to take more than 6 million British pounds ($9.8 million) from Sting without the rock star's knowledge. He then lost the money in a series of bad investments, including a restaurant chain, and a scheme to convert Russian military aircraft into passenger planes.

The scam was allowed to go on for so long because Sting simply didn't notice that such a large amount of his money was gone. Moore claimed that the singer had given him money to settle Moore's tax debt. But nobody believed him, and Moore was sentenced to six years in prison.

Age: 65

Birthplace: Wallsend, United Kingdom

Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor, + more

Credits: Léon: The Professional, The Emperor's New Groove, Cold Mountain, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Also Ranked

#27 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#91 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#61 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#24 on The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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Kiefer Sutherland is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous People Who Got Swindled
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

In 2010 the actor made $100,000 in a cattle-buying scheme run by a man named Michael Wayne Carr. The scheme involved using Sutherland’s money to buy livestock in Mexico and sell it in the US at a higher price. So when Carr asked Sutherland for an additional $869,000 to buy more cows, and therefore make more easy money, Sutherland jumped on it.

Instead, he fell for a clever form of advance fee fraud. The cow-transporting con man used Sutherland's money to pay off personal bank loans instead. Carr was quickly arrested, pleaded guilty to forgery and fraud, and was ordered to pay Sutherland back as a way of reducing his prison sentence.

Age: 50

Birthplace: Paddington, London, United Kingdom

Profession: Television director, Television producer, Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting, + more

Credits: The Lost Boys, 24, Phone Booth, Mirrors

Also Ranked

#41 on The Best TV Actors of All Time

#96 on The All-Time Greatest Action Stars

#42 on The Most Iconic Celebrity First Names

#19 on The Greatest '80s Teen Stars

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