Some crimes are just so ballsy you can't help but be impressed, even after the people are caught and vilified. This year we had Raffaello Follieri, cocksure seducer of billionaires and movie stars, and that guy who pretended to be a Rockefeller. And then there's Dina Wein-Reis and her husband, David Reis, two members of a ring of scam artists who built a castle of lies on the Upper East Side — and on West 83rd Street, and in Westhampton, and in Passaic, New Jersey — with a con that was so simple it can really only be commended as brilliant: Basically, they pretended to be publicists.
Ring members allegedly tricked the companies into selling them bulk quantities of consumer goods — like pens, contact lenses, razors, snacks and diabetes-testing equipment — winning their marks' confidence by treating them to fancy dinners and Broadway shows. They then allegedly clinched the deals by promising the goods would be used for promotional giveaways.
What does offloading a bunch of promotional pens get you, other than real estate? Multiple Lexuses, according to the Post (Shouldn't it be Lexii?), about eight family trust funds, at least nine bank accounts, and an art collection worth $25 million. Oh, also charges of conspiracy and wire fraud, because the companies feel they were ripped off. But they really shouldn't — usually the goods from promotional giveaways just end up in landfills and under people's beds. At least someone finally did something useful with them.
Rich Gal's Life of Glitz and Scammer [NYP]