At first the scheme was going great. Follieri picked up several huge business partners, including billionaire Ron Burkle. But there was a problem: American Catholics didn't need to sell their land cheap to some snot-nosed kid with a few Vatican phone numbers; they just put the properties on the open market. By the time Follieri knew his holy land deal had fallen through, he was already drunk on the swaggering playboy lifestyle. Much worse, he was in a relationship with up-and-coming superstar Anne Hathaway. And seeing as Hathaway had a reputation of being a bit of a princess (both on and off set), he wanted to keep treating her like one -- specifically, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, who doesn't realize her boyfriend is a broke thief only pretending to be rich.
Instead of coming clean, Follieri started ripping off his investors to fund their incredibly lavish lifestyle. He put himself and Hathaway up in a $37,000-a-month apartment, paid for a VIP dog-walking service, and took her on trips worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was also the kind of guy who didn't think about spending $30,000 flying his personal doctor to London because he felt sick, and he got to shake hands with Bill Clinton after he pledged $50 million to the Clinton Foundation -- all while he truthfully had $39,000 in his bank account. By the time the FBI caught him, he had misspent over $1.3 million of his investor's money.
Ten days before he got nabbed, Hathaway broke up with him, and while Follieri was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, that might have hurt the most. "Looking back, I think it was all done to impress Anne," one of his staffers later admitted.