Law & Order often features “ripped from the headlines” stories that are easily identified as fictional accounts based on a high-profile celebrity case. Writers are said to be working on an episode based on the as-yet-unfinished saga of Raffaello Follieri, the Italian con man who dated actress Anne Hathaway and is now awaiting trial on Federal charges of fraud and money laundering. Follieri lived large in a penthouse in Trump Tower and took Hathaway on lavish vacations and regularly flew on private jets. He was living at the expense of investors in his elaborate scam, in which he claimed to be the CFO for the Vatican and said he could buy Catholic Church properties in the US at rock bottom prices. He was simply putting in bids for the properties along with everyone else and had no ties to the church apart from the bishops and Vatican employees he bribed. Hathaway has since broken it off with Follieri, but she is said to have been reluctant to cut ties with him.
Many of NY’s elite met Follieri through Hathaway, and the actress helped him achieve a type of legitimacy which may have delayed his prosecution. It’s a story that many find fascinating and Law and Order will use it as a basis for an episode:
The writers of NBC’s Law & Order… [are] hard at work on a script that mirrors the rise and fall of the Italian businessman.
“Rafaello’s arrest was and still is all the buzz in NY City’s social circles because so many big-name types rubbed elbows with him and thought he was real,” says a source. “He was the ultimate con man: handsome, rich, smooth and with a celebrity girlfriend to make him seem legit.”
[From Star Magazine, print edition, August 11, 2008]
We ran a story on Friday that nude photos of Hathaway taken by Follieri were said to be among the effects seized by the FBI in a raid on his storage space. Many of you commented on that article she must have known something was going on during their four year relationship and either chose to ignore it or somehow justified it to herself. There were clues that the guy was a con man months ago when he was bouncing checks and getting sued for misappropriating investor funds.
Have any of you dated a con man or sociopath and did you stay after you had some indication that he was a liar? This guy probably made her feel like the center of his warped world and if was that good at fooling investors he may have been an expert at laying the romance on thick. She did get out eventually at least.
Anne Hathaway and Raffaello Follieri are shown in Porto Cervo, Italy on 8/8/07. Credit: ANG/Fame Pictures