In a ruling on Tuesday morning, a U.K. judge has granted permission for the extradition of Hargobind Tahilramani, the alleged mastermind behind the infamous “Hollywood Con Queen” scam, to face charges in California.
Appearing in court via videolink, Tahilramani anxiously awaited the judgment, clutching his face in his hands.
This decision paves the way for Tahilramani, who has been held in a U.K. prison since his arrest in 2020, to be sent to the United States, where he will face charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The formal order for extradition must be issued by the U.K.’s Secretary of State.
The case of Tahilramani was initially heard by District Judge Paul Goldspring at Westminster Magistrates Court in London last September. Today, the judge confirmed that extradition was permissible.
Having previously expressed intentions to appeal in the event of extradition, Tahilramani’s legal team argued that he would face greater risks in a U.S. prison due to his sexuality and ethnicity. Additionally, he indicated that he would resort to a hunger strike if forcibly transported to the U.S.
Tahilramani, who claimed to work as a food blogger shortly before his arrest in Manchester in 2020, stands accused of orchestrating a $1 million scam that victimized approximately three hundred individuals across multiple jurisdictions over a span of six years.
According to the FBI, Tahilramani, who asserts that he was once a music executive in Indonesia before relocating to the U.K., assumed the identities of various renowned female Hollywood executives, their assistants, and even their relatives. He used these false identities to entice victims to travel to Indonesia with promises of employment. Some of the individuals he impersonated include producer Gigi Pritzker, former Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal, Annapurna Pictures founder Megan Ellison, and Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy.
Once in Indonesia, the victims were instructed to fund their own flights, often incurring significant expenses. Upon arrival, they were coerced into handing over large sums of money for alleged expenses like translators and chauffeurs, before being granted the opportunity to meet the supposed executives. However, the promised meetings never materialized, nor did the promised work. Some victims were deceived into making multiple trips to Jakarta before eventually realizing they had fallen victim to a scam.
Numerous victims have reported that Tahilramani alternated between sexually suggestive language and displays of intense anger when his instructions were not followed.