From ‘Tinder Swindler’ To Elon Musk, A Brief History Of Billionaire Impersonation Scams

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A Georgia inmate used contraband cell phones to assume the identity of California billionaire Sidney Kimmel, according to last week’s bombshell report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Arthur Lee Cofield Jr., the 31-year-old inmate, stole $11 million from Kimmel’s bank account by convincing customer service reps at Charles Schwab that he was the 94-year-old billionaire. Cofield then wired his stolen funds to a company in Idaho, exchanged it for one-ounce gold coins, chartered a private plane to fly those coins to Atlanta and then bought a $4.4 million house with the help of two accomplices.

Kimmel, worth an estimated $1.5 billion, was not the only billionaire targeted by Cofield, according to prosecutors. Nicole Wertheim, spouse of billionaire inventor Herbert Wertheim, also lost $2.25 million. “Mr. Cofield has figured out a way to access accounts belonging to high net worth individuals, frankly billionaires, located…

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