They say that crime doesn’t pay, but some perfunctory photoshop skills? Well, a new legal case has proven that it can get you pretty far.
News Ltd reports that 46-year-old Dimitri De Angelis from NSW has been charged as a conman who swindled millions from investors into his fraudulent music company, which De Angelis – formerly Slobodan Pavicevic – touted as a globally successful music label.
Emporium Music was the front for de Angelis to while away his money on five-star hotels, fine dining, finer cars, all-expenses holidays and the general life; and he managed to do it all because he was a dapper hand at photoshop.
De Angelis was able to fool would-be investors with falsified images of himself palling it up with a range of powerful figures, photoshopping his face onto pictures to appear that he was in association with musicians, politicians, business and religious figures.
The Turramurra-based fraud admitted to his shifty image-altering practices and shonky music business when he pleaded guilty to 16 fraud charges last week. Conceding that he had photoshopped his face onto images to include himself in the company of Molly Meldrum, Nelson Mandela, John Howard, Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II and many more.
Not all of De Angelis’ acquaintances were fake however, once the imaginary Emporium Music boss managed to dupe millions from investors, he was able to cozy up to the likes of Guy Sebastian and David Campbell for real.
Both types of photographs – fake and real alike – were proudly displayed by De Angelis in an office based in Chifley Square in the Sydney CBD that he operated the Emporium Music Front to give the illusion that he was extremely well-connected around the world.
Sydney’s deputy mayor Marcelle Hoff and her husband were among those who fell De Angelis’ ruse, sinking more than $8.5 million into his fake business, along with Anne Keating, sister of former PM Paul Keating, who lost $100,000 and Graeme Uren QC, who lost $20,000.
Among the figures who gave statements to the police denying any relationship with De Angelis included former PMs John Howard and Paul Keating and Channel 10 boss Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer.
De Angelis was eventually found out and arrested in March, 2010, and was released on a bail of $1 million and eventually went bankrupt in 2011. Last week he eventually pleaded to 16 charges of fraud to an Australian court.