Kevin Bacon
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26 Celebrities Who Claim To Have Been Scammed

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Kevin Bacon
Theo Wargo / Staff / Getty Images
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick
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Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

Though Kevin Bacon and wife Kyra Sedgewick were named as victims of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff in 2009, Bacon revealed the couple lost "most of our money" on the "Smartless" podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. The "Footloose" star admits that he doesn't "think people will be not happy to hear me whining about money," but he also is aware that he and Sedgwick are better off than some others Madoff swindled. "There were a lot of people who were much worse off than we were — old people, people whose retirement funds were completely decimated … There's always going to be somebody that's going to have it a lot worse than you."


Related: Celebrities Who’ve Done Time – and Still Built Successful Careers

Ben Stiller
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Ben Stiller

Veteran actor Ben Stiller was scammed when he put his trust in financial adviser Dana Giachetto. Giacchetto stole millions of dollars from his clients, including $250,000 from Ben Stiller. Other big names Giacchetto targeted include Courteney Cox, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon. The scam was so big that Giacchetto was paying off celebrities that caught him using money he was stealing from other clients.

 

Related: 25 Celebs Whose First Job Was Worse Than Yours

Jack Nicholson
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Jack Nicholson

In the 1990s, Todd Michael Volpe scammed several A-list celebrities, including Jack Nicholson, Barbara Streisand, and Kiss members, for $1.9 million through a shady art dealing scam. Nicholson gave Volpe $600,000, but how much he lost is unknown. Volpe was sentenced to 28 months at Taft Correctional Institution and even wrote a book on the scandal when he was released.

Anne Hathaway
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Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway made headlines in 2008 when her then-fiance, Raffaello Follieri, was arrested on charges of misappropriating at least $2.4 million from various actors, including Hathaway. Follieri scammed people by pretending he was a Vatican official. He promised his investors he could get them Italian property. He served 4½ years after pleading guilty and was deported to Italy.

Sylvester Stallone
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Sylvester Stallone

Kenneth Starr, a financial adviser to many celebrities, was arrested in 2010 for stealing $30 million from various clients, including Sylvester Stallone, Neil Simon, and Al Pacino. Starr used the money to afford a massive Manhattan condo with an indoor pool and a garden bigger than many New York City apartments. He was sentenced to 7½ years but was released in 2016.

Dane Cook
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Dane Cook

Unlike most people who were scammed by financial advisers and business professionals, Dane Cook was scammed by his half-brother, Darryl McCauly. Cook employed McCauly throughout most of the 1990s as his business manager. During that time, McCauly and his wife Erika embezzled $12 million dollars from the comedian.

Sidney Poitier
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Sidney Poitier

In the late 1980s, a scam artist named Charles Agee Atkins scammed several celebrities into joining a fake tax shelter. This scheme generated phony losses totaling more than $1.3 billion. According to a prosecutor on the case, at the time, it was the largest scheme in history. Atkins was pocketing up to $300,000 each week. The scam affected many, including Andy Warhol, the Tisch brothers, Michael Landon, and Sidney Poitier.

Backstreet Boys
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*NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys

Known for managing 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, Lou Pearlman was also a scam artist. Both bands blew up in the 1990s but were only taking home $35 dollars a day. Once Pearlman created a successful boy band resume, he started to lure investors. He then used loans totaling $190 million to cover his trail. Pearlman fled the country when the investigation opened and was recognized a year later in Bali before agreeing to fly to Guam for questioning. He was arrested and flown back to Florida. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2008 but died in custody in 2016.

Billy Joel
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Billy Joel

In 1989, pop music superstar Billy Joel sued former manager Frank Weber, who happened to also be his former brother-in-law and godfather to Joel's daughter. The $90 million suit alleged that Weber used deception, shady investments, and outright theft to steal from Joel for years. After drawn-out court battles, the multitalented musician penned "Great Wall of China," a song that allegedly chronicled the disappointment and betrayal he felt.

Elton John
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Elton John

In 2001, British superstar Elton John lost a protracted court battle after filing a $30 million lawsuit against his former accounting firm. John, who once spent $60 million in 20 months on flowers, alleged that PricewaterhouseCoopers and his former manager billed him inappropriately and mismanaged his estate.

John Malkovich
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John Malkovich

Bernie Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme that ensnared many celebrities. Actor John Malkovich reportedly lost $2.2 million to Madoff.

Robert De Niro
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Robert De Niro

Famed actor Robert De Niro was among the victims of art dealer Lawrence Salander, who was prosecuted by the Manhattan district attorney in 2009. De Niro lost an estimated $1 million to the scam when the perpetrator allegedly sold about 50 of his late father's paintings and never paid De Niro's estate.

Sting
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Sting

In 1996, the former manager of pop superstar Sting was jailed for six years for stealing nearly $5 million from the British rocker. The adviser, who was employed by Sting for 15 years, reportedly used the money to settle personal debts and make sketchy investments.

Elie Wiesel
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Elie Wiesel

Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, who died in 2016, dedicated his life to helping others. But convicted scammer Bernie Madoff apparently helped himself to funds from both Wiesel's charity and personal savings. Wiesel's charity Foundation for Humanity was bilked of $15.2 million and Wiesel lost his entire $12 million life savings.

Uma Thurman
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Uma Thurman

"Kill Bill" actress Uma Thurman sued a disgraced celebrity financial adviser for swindling her out of nearly $2.5 million. The adviser had just finished serving a lengthy prison sentence for financial crimes when Thurman accused him of irresponsibly investing her money.

John McEnroe
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John McEnroe

Hot-headed tennis great John McEnroe said he fell victim to Lawrence Salander, the same art dealer who reportedly defrauded DeNiro, and lost $2 million. McEnroe pursued legal action in 2007, claiming that Salander sold him a painting that had liens against it.

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland lost $869,000 after being roped into a cattle-related scam by swindler Michael Wayne Carr, who deceived other investors as well. Carr scrambled to make restitution in 2011 after a judge said the more he paid back, the less prison time he'd get.

Courtney Love
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Courtney Love

According to Courtney Love, the estate of her late husband and rock icon Kurt Cobain was victimized by ongoing identity theft. More than a decade after Cobain's death the Nirvana frontman's estate, including money reserved for the education of the couple's daughter Frances Bean, was allegedly taken for £36 million. 

Fred Taylor
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Fred Taylor

Former Jacksonville Jaguar Fred Taylor reportedly lost his entire 1998 signing bonus of $3.6 million to his agent. Taylor told Sports Illustrated that he considered Tank Black, then one of the biggest agents in the country, to be a friend and father figure. Black was later accused of running one of the biggest scams in the history of pro sports.

Liv Tyler
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Liv Tyler

In 2011, Beverly Hills spa owner Maria Gabriela Hashemipour was sentenced to community service, probation, and nine months of home confinement for making unauthorized charges to the credit cards of her celebrity clients. Among her top victims was actress Liv Tyler, who lost nearly a $250 million dollars.

Cindy Crawford
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Cindy Crawford

One bizarre and disturbing scam targeted actress and model Cindy Crawford and her husband, entrepreneur Rande Gerber. An extortionist came across a photo of the couple's 7-year-old daughter tied to a chair during a game of cops and robbers and threatened to give the picture to the media if they didn't pay him $100,000. The couple balked and called the FBI instead.

Mark Sanchez
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Mark Sanchez

In 2016, then-Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez was one of the more famous athletes named as a victim in a federal prosecution of a man believed by many to be both a financial pro and a friend. The indictment said that Ash Narayan siphoned up to $33 million from a collection of athletes across all sports, including $7.8 million from Sanchez.

John Elway
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John Elway

One of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game, John Elway fell victim to a Ponzi scheme launched by a hedge fund manager. By the time authorities caught up with the alleged con man, less than $10 million was left from the $71 million investors contributed. Elway and his partner are believed to have invested $15 million.

Mike Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey

In 2009, several pro baseball players found their bank accounts frozen and quickly learned they were victims of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Among them was pitcher Mike Pelfrey, who played for the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets. Though the dollar amount Pelfrey lost isn't clear, the pitcher said at the time that 99% of his money was tied up in the scam.

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette’s former business manager, Jonathan Todd Schwartz, pleaded guilty to embezzling $4.8 million dollars from the 'Jagged Little Pill' singer, in addition to forging her signature and stealing $1.7 million from other celebrity clients.