Brad Pitt’s next film project, as announced in May, will be a movie about Formula 1 and, according to Variety, the Hollywood star will be paid around $30 million. A couple of months ago, Pitt sold a mansion in Los Angeles for $40 million, 24 times the price he paid for it three decades earlier. Perhaps he decided to sell his Los Angeles home to cover the expense of the purchase last August of a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Carmel, California, for around the same value. These are the economic parameters in which the actor moves, something that, however, a woman from Granada, Spain, appeared to be unaware of after a fraudster posing as Brad Pitt, whom she met on the internet, conned her out of up to €170,000 ($184,000).
The story of this scam begins in 2022, according to Antonio Estella Aroza, the woman’s lawyer, when her client joined a fan club dedicated to the actor on Facebook. As her involvement with the group increased, eventually Brad Pitt himself ended up interacting with her directly, or so she believed. The only information that has been made public is that the fraud victim is from Granada and is “middle-aged.” Her lawyer has elected not to provide any more information.
The scammers worked their scheme for a little over a year. As Aroza explains: “They are professionals; they mark times, they know when to provide affection and when not to respond.” And, finally, when to ask for money. As there is only one step from friendship to love when it comes to a scam, the actor suddenly fell in love with the woman. It was always a distance relationship, as usually happens in these cases, until the scammers made the promise that the fake Brad Pitt would come to Spain to meet her in person. As if that was not enough, she was also promised that they would shoot a movie together.
Then the requests for money began. The lawyer explains that the woman made transfers of up to €30,000 ($32,500) at a time to various accounts at Spanish and European banks. Aroza says that, in line with his experience of such cases, these accounts were opened with stolen identity cards. A little less than a month ago, the woman realized her relationship with the actor was a trick and approached the lawyer. A suit has been lodged in a Granada court for fraud, identity theft – that of Pitt - and money laundering, as Aroza believes the banks should have followed the money trail of the transfers due to the large amounts. In a series of transfers, the woman deposited €170,000 in the swindlers’ accounts to finance the film.
The scammers used the now traditional system of photomontages to maintain the ruse, using images of the genuine Brad Pitt with superimposed messages bearing words of affection toward the woman in somewhat sloppy Spanish. As yet, the court has not ordered any investigation, Aroza says. While the real Brad Pitt looks to his next Hollywood project, there is nothing to guarantee that the fake one is not out there fishing for another victim.
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