Being a con artist doesn't actually require exceptional intelligence. It just requires chutzpah that borders on neurosis. You see, because most people in the world are trusting souls, it often doesn't even occur to them that somebody's outrageous statement might be a lie. Con artists build their whole careers around good-hearted people saying to themselves, "But who would lie about that?"
Well, people like this, that's who ...
Joyce Hatto Releases 100 Albums Recorded by Other People
This is one of those underdog stories that seem destined to get turned into an Academy Award-winning film (starring, say, Julia Roberts). Joyce Hatto had been a concert pianist for years, but was never able to rise above her largely mediocre reviews ... until she was finally forced to retire after being diagnosed with cancer. Then, in the face of tragedy, Joyce Hatto blossomed into the outstanding classical musician she'd always wanted to be.
Hatto, center, just musicing the shit out of that piano.
From then until her death in 2006, she hit the studio like Tupac, recording a daunting amount that resulted in over 100 CDs of piano music, showing a shocking range of style. The critics raved, lauding her incredible versatility. She was heralded as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of," a title we suppose is immediately nullified by the word "heralded."
A classical-music aficionado named Brian Ventura popped one of Hatto's CDs into iTunes, which then obligingly informed him that he'd actually bought a CD of the relatively unknown Laszlo Simon. Stunned by what seemed to be the most random mix-up of all time, he sent a note to a music reviewer named Jed Distler. Distler and some colleagues did some digging and discovered that Joyce Hatto had played on virtually none of the CDs attributed to her.
"She was in the same room as the musicians. That counts, right?"
Her "performances" were cobbled together from the work of at least 91 other pianists to create a Super-Skrull of musical talent. In fact, of Hatto's hundred-plus CD catalog, only one has been confirmed as authentically hers. The rest are blatant, crudely manipulated forgeries created by Hatto and her husband. They even invented an orchestra to credit in the fraudulent recordings, led by a Holocaust-survivor conductor who never existed.