Bad Boy Billionaires: India, which released on Netflix earlier this week, traces the rise and fall of three notorious Indian business magnates – Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallya, jeweller Nirav Modi and Sahara’s Subrata Roy. If you enjoyed the investigative documentary series, here are 5 more recommendations:
The Imposter (2012)
A 13-year-old Texan boy goes missing, only to reappear three years later. Good news? Not quite. The boy now has a new hair colour, new eye colour, and an accent. He’s the criminal Frederic Bourdin, simply playing a part. Were the family members really taken in by his impersonation? Or did they want their son, any son, back so badly, they chose to ignore it? Through slick re-enactments of the events and moving interviews with the family and Bourdin himself, the documentary investigates this stranger-than-fiction tale.
The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley (2019)
America’s youngest billionaire Elizabeth Holmes’ ascent was built on a tower of lies, ranging from the absurd (she’d been using a ‘fake’ voice, many octaves lower than her natural one, for years) to the dangerous (she claimed to have invented a diagnostic machine that needed only a few drops of blood to run 200 tests on a person). The documentary not only unravels the deception but also the character of someone who (almost) pulled it off with a straight face.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)
We’ve all seen photos of the woefully inadequate sandwiches passed off as dinner and wind-blown tents unsafe for human habitation. This documentary traces the how of the Fyre’s festival’s journey from 2017 ‘luxury music festival’ promoted by online influencers to massive catastrophe in the Bahamas, uncovering the large-scale fraud perpetrated behind the scenes.
Love Fraud (2020)
Con artist Richard Scott Smith peddles just one commodity: Love. Assuming multiple identities, he marries several women (it’s unclear just how many), sometimes simultaneously, cashes out their savings and then flees. The four-part series, however, isn’t so much interested in Smith as it is in his victims. By humanizing them, and laying bare their loneliness and insecurities, it shifts perspective of the crime, from one that targets the gullible to one that could happen to anyone, which is what makes it terrifying.
In the 90s, McDonalds began giving customers monopoly coupons with certain purchases, some of which could be exchanged for cash prizes. If that sounds like a system rife with the potential for manipulation, it is. Jerome Jacobson, head of the security firm that oversaw the sales promotion, took home more than $24 million in illegal winnings. Over six-episodes, the HBO documentary splices together real footage with reenactments and real-time FBI sting operations to piece together just how Jacobson pulled off his audacious fraud.