Photo: ABC screengrab
There is Earth-shattering news in the world of reality television this week. It seems that a contestant misrepresented himself in order to get on a show for his proverbial 15 minutes of fame. Tampa resident Michael Prozer, a self-proclaimed internet mogul worth $400 million, managed to pass through the ironclad vetting process of Millionaire Matchmaker.
As it turns out, Prozer doesn’t own a mansion and a private jet — as he’d claimed on a 2009 episode of the Bravo (GE) series. Appearing as the CEO of Xchangeagent Inc., an online payment service à la PayPal (EBAY) that operates in 36 countries, Prozer scammed producers into setting him up with one of the dating service’s gold diggers-in-waiting.
But Prozer didn’t just defraud producers of a reality show, he took his con all the way to the bank. With the help of Fedor Stanley Salinas, a financial specialist at Wachovia Bank (WB), Prozer was able to fake deposits worth over $21 million in an account in order to procure a $3 million short-term business loan from Park Avenue Bank in Valdosta, Georgia. Prozer and Salinas set up meetings, both on the phone and in-person, between Park Avenue Bank and people posing as Wachovia employees, who verified his account status.
No such collateral existed, the loan was never repaid, and the Park Avenue Bank took the $3 million hit. Last year, it was forced out of business.
Like the happy ending scripted for any reality show worth its salt, the con artist and his accomplice finally got caught. This week in federal court, Prozer and Salinas pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud.
Interestingly, Elana, Prozer’s date on Millionaire Matchmaker, may have been onto him from the beginning. When he took her out to go jet skiing, she seemed to get the sense that he was pretending to be something he wasn’t.
“He was more interested in performing,” she said in a confessional. “He felt the need to make his penis look like it’s bigger than it is by driving around like an a******.” Adding, “It definitely exposes him for what he is.”
Prozer claimed in his own confessional, “I love jet skiing and I’ll keep doing it.”
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