Hollywood's "Con Queen" Scam Artist Is Actually a Man, Investigators Say

Identity Theft_Illo_SPLASH - THR - H 2018
Illustration by: Louise Pomeroy

The scammer is best known for impersonating powerful female industry executives like former Sony head Amy Pascal and producer Kathleen Kennedy.

In the week since the FBI released a website for victims of the "Con Queen of Hollywood," the scammer, seemingly undeterred, has continued to target people in Hollywood, giving investigators fresh leads to pursue.

Even as the scam continues, one key element of its mystery appears to have been cleared up, according to K2 Intelligence, the corporate security firm that first uncovered the case and brought it to the attention of law enforcement. 

“K2 Intelligence will confirm that the Con Queen of Hollywood is a man,” the agency said. A K2 spokesperson declined to elaborate further, referring questions to the FBI, which has been conducting its own investigation with K2’s assistance for several months. The FBI declined to comment. 

Best known for impersonating powerful female industry executives (see audio below) in Hollywood like former Sony head Amy Pascal and producer Kathleen Kennedy, the scammer has also been targeting and impersonating male executives for months, including producers Geoff Johns, Jack Rapke and Richard Suckle, among others. 

With the FBI investigation into the Con Queen gaining momentum, questions about the scammer’s identity have sharpened in recent months. 

Henry Wu, a travel photographer and Instagram influencer who was scammed wrote a lengthy post on his blog in which he posited that the scammer was a man “who is apparently an expert at impersonating male/female voices and accents on command, along with having mastery of psychological tactics.” 

The Hollywood Reporter first raised the possibility that the scammer might be a man several months ago. 

Last week the scammer reached out to stunt performers in the guise of producer Geoff Johns, who runs a pod at Warner Brothers and is currently in Atlanta filming Star Girl, with Luke Wilson. During the calls, he asked to set the actors up with another well-known female producer who he claimed was interested in auditioning them. 

As in other previous instances, this second call quickly veered into strange territory, with the imposter asking the marks to engage in sexually explicit role play. 

While still in role of the female producer, the imposter also attempted to lure an up-and-coming stunt performer to Indonesia, with fake promises of work. The stuntman was on the verge of buying an airline ticket when he discovered that he had been drawn into a ruse.

Johns is just the latest example, but there have been at least half a dozen other prominent men in Hollywood who have been impersonated in recent months. In addition to Jack Rapke and Richard Suckle, the scammer has passed himself off to victims as Tim Sullivan, Jake Meyers and Jon Jashni. 

“Whoever it is can sound like a man or a woman,” Johns told THR in a recent interview, “I can’t quite comprehend why they’re doing this.”

These recent outreach efforts as men aren’t the only indication that the scammer is a man. As far back as 2015, at least one of the Con Queen’s victims met with a man in person in Indonesia. At the time, the man appeared to be working with local female assistants. That earlier iteration of the scam appears to be the same as the current one. 

None of the other men who have been impersonated recently responded to requests for comment.