Harvey Tahilramani: Where is Hollywood Con Queen Now?

With ‘Hollywood Con Queen’ making it clear that even Apple TV+ has now jumped on the true-crime bandwagon, we get a documentary series that can only be described as baffling and haunting. That’s because it explores precisely how a single individual managed to scam hundreds of unsuspecting entertainment professionals over a decade by impersonating renowned industry executives. Though the fact they did so to affect their victims not just financially but also emotionally as well as psychologically is the reason they ultimately caught the attention of the world, soon leading to their positive identification as Hargobind “Harvey” Punjabi Tahilramani too.

Hargobind Tahilramani Has a Long History of Conning People

Although born in Jakarta, Indonesia, as the last born of a prominent engineer and his loving wife, Hargobind essentially grew up in the local Indian community plus across the globe. After all, according to the aforementioned original, his father took him and his elder sisters on several international vacations and even pushed them to watch countless movies from all backgrounds to make them culturally aware of this world. It thus comes as no surprise he grew to develop a sincere interest in the same, yet he never actually pursued anything in it, even after relocating to the US at 18 in 1997 for further studies.

The truth is Hargobind, or Harvey as he preferred to go by, didn’t apply himself to anything in particular so as to grow, that is, until he found another passion in the world of debate and speech competitions. However, even this soon changed as he was caught plagiarizing someone else’s speech from years ago, resulting in his being suspended before he suddenly disappeared after leaving a suicide note behind. It turns out he’d returned to Jakarta in 2001, from where he then made several bomb threats to the competition a year later, all the while being investigated over a few petty thefts in the area.

Nevertheless, it was only in 2007 that Hargobind was arrested for the first time in Jakarta on similar charges of local theft – among other things, he’d conned money out of people he knew to live in hotels. The fact he did so is because his parents had sadly died a few years prior, and his elder sisters hadn’t given him any share of his land or ground because of his increasingly erratic, volatile behavior, per their narrative. They’d apparently tried a lot of things before, such as giving him a curfew, admitting him to a mental hospital, or leaving him at a hospital church for conversion therapy, yet none panned out.

The only thing these aspects revealed was that Hargobind was gay and reportedly also had bipolar disorder, so he further rebelled by calling hotels and ordering food for inmates without paying, and then the FBI, as well as the US Embassy, made further bomb threats. This resulted in his initial prison term being extended by 4-5 years, yet he eventually managed to get out in the late 2010s. That’s when he came up with the idea of impersonating well-known, mostly female executives in order to lure victims to do his bidding in more ways than one – he started locally before expanding.

According to reports, Hargobind’s hoax in his homeland was relatively easily caught, driving him to relocate to the United Kingdom for good to continue with his process. It was here that he also began mostly referring to himself as Gavil Lal or Gavin Ambani (the latter as a way to indicate he was related to the Ambani’s – Asia’s richest family) and established a foodie Instagram account named Purebytes. Little did anyone know at the time that whenever he was not working on his social media, he was scamming maybe dozens of people at the same time by luring them to Indonesia.

Hargobind’s plans often seemed to be mentally exhausting his targets to the point of no return before taking advantage by getting them to either strip or have phone sex while in a position of power. They were looking for genuine work, and he made them believe he alone could provide them with the same immediately, so, of course, there was a power imbalance, even if it wasn’t traditional or face-to-face. In the end, it turned out that by the time he was arrested in Manchester, England, on December 3, 2020, on orders by the FBI, he’d managed to con around 500 people out of roughly $2 million.

Hargobind Punjabi Tahilramani is Fighting his Extradition

Despite the fact a British court concluded in February 2023 that Hargobind “Harvey” should be extradited to the US to face the eight charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, he hasn’t made his way over just yet. Instead, while still in custody without bail in England, he is fighting extradition, with his lawyers claiming it would put him at increased risk of suicide plus violence from others, especially owing to his sexuality, prior history of abuse, as well as mental health issues.

This all came after the presiding judge had made their final decision upon taking into account all factors, including the fact this 44-year-old was and still is considered a massive flight risk. We should also mention that two of Harvey’s court hearings in London were disrupted by fire alarms he reportedly had no hand in and the fact he’d had a meltdown in 2023, during which he’d shouted at reporters to “Go f**k yourself” as well as “You see what I’m going to do to you in America, I’m going to f**k you over.”

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