Hollywood has always provided a fertile feeding ground for scam artists like David William Port, a Kansas City resident who bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from gullible investors convinced they could grow their nest eggs by hitching them to the enduring bankability of Pamela Anderson prancing down the Malibu shore in a physics-defying one-piece bathing suit. From the Reuters report:
A Kansas City man bilked investors out of $360,000 by claiming he had syndication rights to U.S. television lifeguard drama "Baywatch" and help from star David Hasselhoff, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
David William Port, a 53-year-old resident originally from Britain, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, according to U.S. Attorney John Wood.
The scam caught up "victim-investors" from England, Utah, New York, California and Delaware, Wood said. [...]
He also convinced them a series of "Baywatch" restaurants were planned, with the financial help of "Baywatch" star Hasselhoff, and that Hasselhoff was investing in PCG Media.
So convincing was Port's phony pitch—rumored to be a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation outlining how Baywatch Burger had four-times the growth potential of Planet Hollywood—that investors typically whipped out their checkbooks on the spot, undaunted by any negative associations the public might make between the celebrity endorser and self-destructive hamburger-consumption practices. Luckily, the con man now faces up to 50 years in a federal prison, where he'll be unable to ensnare more victims by making further phony claims about owning exclusive DVD rights to Silk Stalkings.
- Investors beached in U.S. "Baywatch" scam