Billionaire scam artist who swindled $22m from clients asks for more lenient late-night curfew so he can visit opera

  • Alberto Vilar, 73, was found guilty of  stealing $22million from his clients
  • Con artist used ill-gotten gains to fund  donations to New York operas
  • He was jailed for nine years in 2010 but  has been released pending an appeal
  • Vilar is under curfew but has asked to be  allowed out for a night at the opera

By  Sara Malm

PUBLISHED: 05:35 EST, 11  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 08:26 EST, 11 October 2013

A billionaire scam artist put under house  arrest after funneling millions from his clients has asked to be allowed a more  lenient curfew so he can go to the opera.

Disgraced financier Alberto Vilar, 73, used some of the $22million he stole from his clients to fund his favourite philanthropies, including the Metropolitan Opera.

The opera-loving swindler was sentenced to  nine years in prison in 2010 but was released under a strict 11pm curfew last  year pending an appeal.

Illegal libretto: Alberto Vilar, pictured in 2007, stole $22million from his clients to fund his lavish life style and pay for donations to his favourite opera houses 

Illegal libretto: Alberto Vilar, pictured in 2007, stole  $22million from his clients to fund his lavish life style and pay for donations  to his favourite opera houses

 

Now the septuagenarian libretto-fan wants to  be allowed to stay out beyond 1am in the morning so he can be allowed to watch  his favourite opera and ‘socialise’ after the curtain closes.

‘Alberto Vilar has been offered free tickets  to a sold-out opera this Saturday night by the conductor, his original bail  signer Valery Gergiev,’ his lawyer said Wednesday in a letter to Manhattan  Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan.

‘The opera does not let out until after his  curfew. Mr Vilar would like the opportunity to socialize after the opera for a  short time, and asks that his curfew be extended to 1:30 a.m.,’ lawyer Vivian  Shevitz said in the letter.

Vilar’s request was swiftly denied by Judge  Sullivan, but his lawyer is requesting a reconsideration, NY Daily News reports.

Pet project: Vilar has requested to be allowed to stay beyond his curfew to see Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin', pictured during a London production, at the Metropolitan Opera this weekend 

Pet project: Vilar has requested to be allowed to stay  beyond his curfew to see Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’, pictured during a London  production, at the Metropolitan Opera this weekend

Stolen gift: Alberto Vilar, center, poses with tenor and artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera, Placido Domingo, right, and Valery Gergiev, of Russia's Mariinsky Opera and Ballet, as they announce Vilar's multi-milion gift to the operas in 2000 

Stolen gift: Alberto Vilar, center, poses with tenor and  artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera, Placido Domingo, right, and Valery  Gergiev, of Russia’s Mariinsky Opera and Ballet, as they announce Vilar’s  multi-milion gift to the operas in 2000

 

 

Vilar built up a billion dollar fortune as a  star of the dot-com era, thanks to early bets on companies such as Microsoft and  Intel.

His business Amerindo Investment Advisers at  one stage had $10billion (£6.6billion) under management.

In 2000, Vilar was claiming to be ‘the  largest supporter of classical music, opera, and ballet in the world’.   Among his gifts was £10million to London’s Royal Opera House for the Vilar  Floral Hall, its showpiece foyer, now simply Floral Hall.

When the dot-com bubble burst, he began  siphoning money out of his clients’ accounts to fund his philanthropies and to  pay the mortgage on his New York apartment, and stole a total of  $22million.

Vilar and his business partner Gary Tanaka  were arrested in May 2005, after one of their clients, heiress Lily Cates, the  mother of Hollywood actress Phoebe Cates, claimed they had stolen $5million from  her.

They were charged in 2006 and Vilar was found  guilty on all 12 counts of fraud.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2454107/Billionaire-scam-artist-curfew-swindling-22m-clients-asks-stay-later-opera.html#ixzz2hQTFLX5h Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook