Very Bad Men

Broadcast Run: 
2007
Broadcast Medium: 
Television

This true-crime series exposed some of the most notorious cons on record from across North America, covering a wide assortment of crime: fraud, bigamy, larceny, crimes of passion, and murder.  Each episode chronicled their crimes from an assortment of angles, from their methods to the horrendous impact they had on their victims’ lives.     

The first episode, Don Juan of Con, told the story of a woman who met a man on an internet dating site. She thought she'd met her perfect partner: a handsome, charming doctor.  When he asked her to marry her shortly after they met, she was overjoyed.  But things quickly turned sour when she discovered he was not a doctor at all but an army deserter, with string of prison convictions dating back to his teens.  And he already had six other wives. 

In The Sweetheart Swindler, 72 year old Leslie Gall spent many years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from elderly women he met at senior citizens dances. Five years after his release, he was arrested again, this time charged with twenty-five counts of identity fraud relating to Old Age Pension payments that he was collecting from three dead people, including his brother who died in 1946. Seventy-two further charges were subsequently laid. For the first half of his life, Leslie lived on the right side of the law.  So what turned this man to a life of repeated crime and conning? This episode is a portrait of an unconscionable conman who claims to have been recently transformed by remorse. 

In The Man Who Married Too Much, Sandra met Ed online. He said he worked for the Department of Defense, raised two teenagers single handedly and had a degree in mechanical engineering. He seemed like an upstanding member of society. After dating for two years, they got married and Ed moved into Sandra's home. But there were clues along the way – another woman's name kept appearing on letters and telephone call displays – but it wasn't until Ed and Sandra filed a joint tax return that Sandra discovered Ed was actually married to another woman. Sandra approached the other wife and together they exposed Ed as a serial bigamist and helped the justice system put him behind bars. 

In The High Rolling Reverend, a minister had a vision to raise money to help pastors afford new churches and higher standards of living.  But along the way, as money flowed in from hundreds of churches, he began to fill his own pockets, hiring private jets   and limos, putting his relatives on lavish payrolls, and acquiring more than a dozen luxury cars.  By the time he was caught, he had sheared more than $9 million from churches across 41 states in the U.S. 

Master of Greed profiled a fledgling mortgage broking company, Eron Mortgage Corporation. Through questionable and unethical business practices, the company grew exponentially into a multi-million dollar empire, enabling its two prime partners to live opulent and lavish lifestyles. But in a few years, the house of cards collapsed, leaving hundreds of investors in bankruptcy and its puppet masters in jail. To date, over $175 million remains unaccounted for and the two masters of greed are now walking free. 

Broadcast: Debuted initially on Global’s Mystery Channel.  Aired on Global Television beginning May 22, 2007 for 7 weeks, but was not renewed. Time slot:  Tuesdays, 8pm

Running time: 60 minutes

Written by Pip Wedge - June, 2012

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