Directed by Chris Smith, Netflix’s ‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ is a docuseries that delves deep into the bizarre tale of Sarma Melngailis, with a specific focus on the man who allegedly conned her out of everything. After all, she claims it was her partner’s – Anthony Strangis’ a.k.a Shane Fox’s – wild lies, deceitful promises, and absurd manipulations that led her to lose not only her fortune but also herself, in every sense of the way. So now, if you’re looking for something similar to stream, here’s a list of seven oddly fascinating productions like ‘Bad Vegan’ you can find on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime.
7. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021)
Also helmed by Chris Smith, ‘Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal’ is a film that investigates the mastermind behind a bribery offense unlike any other. In other words, it examines the inexplicably fraudulent ways William “Rick” Singer managed to get the children of rich and famous families enrolled into some of the top universities in America. The best part for us as the audience, though, is that it utilizes both recreations as well as interviews with the actual people involved to get to the heart of the matter — just like in ‘Bad Vegan.’
6. The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman (2022)
With the way it chronicles the story of a cruel swindler who left nothing but ruined families in his wake, ‘The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman’ can only be described as a harrowing docuseries. Robert Hendy-Freegard is the focal point of this three-parter, meaning that it gives us an in-depth look into how he stole nearly £1 million (now $1.3 million) from his multiple victims by masquerading as an MI5 Agent. Coercive abuse, manipulation tactics, and how easy it can sometimes be to fall for a web of lies are all aspects highlighted in this Netflix original as well.
5. Lords Of Scam (2021)
‘Lords of Scam’ may be a French true-crime documentary revolving around the fraudsters who hustled the EU carbon quota system to pocket millions, yet it also showcases the betrayal within that luxury. From their high rise to their downfall, their closeness to their bickering, and their genuine friendships to their snitching tendencies, this accurately over-the-top production thus includes it all. We say over-the-top because it’s as flamboyant, comedic, and weirdly intriguing as it is serious, making it the ideal watch if you have about an hour and 45 minutes on your hands.
4. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)
Directed by Alex Gibney, ‘The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley’ – like ‘Bad Vegan’ – examines a narrative wherein circumstances gradually enabled a hoax no one ever expected. This documentary film is an HBO original that follows the now-disgraced Elizabeth Holmes – dubbed the next Steve Jobs owing to her revolutionary ideas as well as success – and her company Theranos. She was once considered the world’s youngest self-made billionaire with her promise to reform blood testing as we know it, but the truth of what she really did came to light just two years later.
3. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)
‘Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened’ is another Chris Smith documentary that, as the title suggests, looks into Billy McFarland and the failed Fyre Festival of 2017. The extravaganza in itself was a collaboration between Rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy, but the latter’s actions were the ones that left everybody incredibly disgruntled. The festival-goers did not get the amenities they were promised, whether related to accommodation, food, emergency services, or artists, and the vendors were also truly stiffed. In short, it was kind of like the way Sarma/Anthony cheated their associates.
2. Inventing Anna (2022)
No list centering around con-artistry can now be complete without the mention of ‘Inventing Anna,’ the crime-drama series on the infamous Anna Sorokin, also known as Anna Delvey. This Netflix original may not be a documentary, yet the manner in which it depicts the saga of the hoaxer who tricked the elites of New York for her personal gain is just remarkable. It’s undeniably comparable to ‘Bad Vegan’ as well, not only because of the con-in-New-York factor but also because of the greed, lies, and luxurious lifestyles illustrated.
1. The Tinder Swindler (2022)
Like ‘Inventing Anna,’ Felicity Morris’ documentary movie ‘The Tinder Swindler’ is also a production that can’t be ignored. After all, it essentially revolves around how Simon Leviev allegedly played out his romance cons by making bizarre claims about his personal and professional life, giving off ‘Bad Vegan’ vibes at every step of the way. He supposedly used the dating app Tinder to meet women and then charmed them to such an extent that when he created emergencies, they handed over thousands and thousands of dollars, just so he could lead an extravagant life.