Heros and Devils
Christophe Rocancourt had a simple idea – he wanted to get rich and he didn’t want to work (in the traditional sense). He had no qualifications (that I know of) and came from a broken and poor family with his mother prostituting herself and his father drinking. His theory was simple – if you want money then you have to go where the money is. He came from the French countryside and landed in Hollywood. He invented a number of different identities (from the son of Dino de Laurentiis to the son of Sophia Loren as well as becoming a Rockerfeller) to befriend celebrities like Mickey Rourke or Jean-Claude Van Damme to access people with money who were prepared to throw it at him.
It’s wrong and illegal and for the people who were stung it was a slap in the face which humiliated them more than anything else. It’s estimated he managed to swindle 35 million dollars in a period lasting from 1993 to 2001 where he was captured by the police in Canada. He did his time and as he said he payed his debt to society and “even left a tip”. He signed a book deal for a million dollars from prison and is now married to ex-Miss France Sonia Rolland where I figure he is playing with his kids having a good time.
Apart from the fact it’s illegal to lie to people in order to take their money (in such an outright way), Christophe Rocancourt played the game and won. His marketing plan was ahead of its time in creating an experience people wanted to particpate in to the point of writing checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rocancourt replied to Michel Polnareff when the latter accused him of taking 250 000 dollars that “for someone to steal 250 000 dollars from you, then you must have them”.
I’m not condoning the theft but the process. I’m sure Rocancourt sleeps in peace considering himself no different than stockbrokers, insurance companies or real estate developers. He found that tear in the fabric and pulled. He’s no hero, but he’s no devil either.