Liza Minelli, Uma Thurman, Paul Simon, Tom Brokaw, Harvey Weinstein, et al.
With swarms of predatory "investment advisers" looking to take a chunk of their earnings, it's a wonder more celebrities don't invest in hollowed-out mattresses. Just two years after Madoff was put away for swindling investors with his Ponzi scheme, Kenneth Starr (not the Whitewater independent counsel; the other one) pleaded guilty last year to running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded his celebrity clients out of at least $59 million.
His list of defrauded clients read like the guest list at a gala fundraiser: Actor Uma Thurman, musican Paul Simon, actor and singer Liza Minelli, newsman Tom Brokaw, film producer Harvey Weinstein, talk show host Phil Donohue, singer Carly Simon, photographer Annie Leibovitz, playwright Neil Simon and actor Sylvester Stallone -- who sued Starr in 2002 and claimed his advice caused him to lose $10 million in his restaurant chain Planet Hollywood's stock.
As a reward for their trust, Starr repaid his clients with such dastardly deeds as testifying against Snipes in his tax-evasion trial, bilking 99-year-old heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon out of $5 million in a Manhattan apartment deal and tucking away more than $57 million worth of ill-gotten goods in property and bank accounts shared with his wife and former Scores stripper Diane Passage -- including one account in the name of "Poledance Superstar."
Now we're not saying a 66-year-old financial adviser who marries a stripper in her mid-30s and is regularly sued by his clients -- including former radio actor Joan Stanton, who sued Starr for misappropriating "tens of millions" in funds before dying in 2009 at 94 -- is necessarily a bad guy. You just may want to consider all that background before handing him your money.