The Con Queen Targeted Aspiring Marvel Actors
Looking through the grist from July’s news grinder, I found a few strange, but true stories. The most interesting/disturbing involved the “Con Queen of Hollywood.”
No, that’s not the title of a neo-noir novel or film; it’s actually the nickname of an actual person preying on actual aspiring actors.
And, most recently, the Con Queen targeted Marvel Studios.
Many Sleepless Nights For Alonso
Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter posted:
In April, Victoria Alonso, executive VP production at Marvel, discovered a scammer was using her identity to conduct sexually explicit telephone auditions with aspiring actors: “I’ve spent many, many sleepless nights.”
The FBI has created a website for victims of the so-called Con Queen of Hollywood, a sophisticated swindler who for several years has been impersonating prominent producers, studio executives and other members of the entertainment industry as part of an elaborate financial scam.
“FBI Seeking Victims in Indonesia Showbiz Scam Investigation,” the agency’s San Diego office announced in a release unveiling the new site early Monday morning. “This ongoing transnational fraud scheme targeting U.S citizens began in approximately 2013. … The FBI is releasing this information to prevent individuals, primarily those who work in the entertainment industry, from becoming victims of the scam.”
Yeeesh. And that’s not the half of it.
An Uncomfortable, Weird Conversation With The Con Queen
In mid-March, using a fake email account, the imposter sent emails to at least half a dozen people, including several aspiring actors, pretending to be prominent casting director Sarah Finn, who worked on Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther. After gaining her target’s trust with an initial email, the imposter then made several phone calls impersonating Finn’s colleague, Alonso, of Marvel.
Actor Brandon Wengrzynek was one of those who received the fake Finn email and a subsequent phone call from the fake Alonso. In the email, the fake Finn told Wengrzynek that she wanted him to get on the phone with Alonso to discuss a role for him in an upcoming Marvel TV series. The imposter then posed as Alonso’s supposed assistant, “James,” who told the actor that he needed to “bring everything you’ve got” to the upcoming call with Alonso. When the call from the fake Alonso came, Wengrzynek did as he was told.
During the call, the Con Queen urged Wengrzynek to engage in… role-play in order to convince her that he had the necessary acting chops. Wengrzynek played along, to a point, until the conversation became too uncomfortable and weird.
Alonso: Not How We Work
Obviously, the whole scenario is disturbing to everyone involved – most especially Alonso, who — to clear her name — had to cooperate with investigators from Disney.
“I want my name to be loud and clear,” Alonso says in an interview. “This is not how we work. This is not who we are. We would never ask people to do that.”
We’ll keep an eye out for any updates to this intriguing — but disturbing — story.