Conman who inspired Wolf of Wall Street performance up for fraud again
Reuters in New York
A man who served three years in jail for conning Hollywood stars and reputedly inspired Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in The Wolf of Wall Street has appeared in a US court on charges that he used a friend's credit card to buy liquor, a plane ticket and food.
Dana Giacchetto, 51, a former investment adviser to stars including DiCaprio and Michael Stipe of rock band R.E.M., was charged in Manhattan federal court with two counts of fraud.
He denies the charges and was granted bail at US$150,000.
Giacchetto was jailed in the early 2000s for fraud after being charged with swindling millions from his famous clients.
According to the latest charges, Giacchetto made more than US$10,000 in unauthorised purchases using a card issued to Stephan Stanulis, a former New York police officer who also worked as a male stripper and as a bouncer at Giachetto's parties.
During the 1990s, Giacchetto collected millions of dollars from musicians, artists and actors in Hollywood, assuring them he would invest their money and keep it safe.
He became friends with DiCaprio, who spent the night of the 1998 Academy Awards at Giacchetto's apartment, according to Emily White, author of Giacchetto's biography You Will Make Money in Your Sleep.
That night, the blockbuster movie Titanic, in which DiCaprio starred, won 11 Oscars.
In 2000, Giacchetto was charged with fraud after it was revealed he had stolen nearly US$20 million of his clients' money. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to just under five years in prison but was released after three.
White said she and other observers believed DiCaprio's performance as the stockbroker-conman Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street was inspired by his former friendship with Giacchetto.