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Stacy Keach of CNBC’s ‘American Greed’: ‘I’ve been the victim of scams myself’

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“American Greed,” CNBC’s longest-running primetime original series, has returned for a 14th season with new episodes airing Mondays at 10 p.m. Narrated by Golden Globe-winning actor Stacy Keach (“Mike Hammer”), the documentary series explores the dark side of the American dream, where power, corruption, and the seduction of big money draws big-time criminals, and how their dreams of unimaginable wealth become nightmares when their shady schemes are exposed.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Keach, who admits to being scammed himself, says the success of “American Greed” can be traced to the fact that every viewer recognizes their own potential for being swindled.

“I’ve been the victim of scams myself,” Keach said during an interview from his home in Poland where he became a citizen in 2015. “I had a bug in my computer with a warning that I needed to call a certain number. When I did, they demanded money, or in this case, gift cards. I absolutely fell for it but didn’t give in.”

When he was about 12 years old, Keach said his grandfather fell victim to a scam involving a phony oil well he thought he’d purchased in Texas.

“We went to check it out and he had me climb up to the top to look down,” Keach remembered. “There was nothing in there, it was a total scam. He’d spent the money and got burned like many people, unfortunately.”

Many of the crimes and criminals exposed on “American Greed” fall into a darker category, such as the program’s recent exposé of notorious billionaire drug lord and murderer Joaquin Guzmán Loera – a.k.a. El Chapo. The program reveals how he became the world’s most wanted man and twice escaped capture before being betrayed by previously trusted confidantes, the Flores twins, Chicago-area drug-runners who assisted the feds in putting him away for life. Keach considers El Chapo to be “the devil.”

“He’s pure evil, but interestingly, if you talk to people who were in his circle, they’ll say he was like Robin Hood,” Keach said of the most infamous drug kingpin of them all. “He helped support a lot of families, but he did it by killing other people. There were a lot of people who thought he was a god, not the devil.”

The Flores twins are in hiding but their wives sat down with “American Greed” producers for an interview that revealed the truth about what their lives were like during El Chapo’s rein.

“The wives revealed the emotional landscape the experienced,” Keach said. “They discussed their fears, their concerns, and their relationships with their husbands and families. Come to find out, the wives came from law enforcement which is an added dimension to this story I was not aware of before we did this show.”

This week’s episode of “American Greed,” “The ‘Con’ in Congress,” revealed how disgraced California Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds before she agreed to help the feds after he shifted blame to her.

On Monday, June 21, at 10 p.m., “Confessions of a Scam Artist” depicts the story of T. R. Wright, the architect of the “almost too crazy to be true” wildest insurance fraud scheme in Texas history.

Keach adds that in addition to its entertainment value, his favorite aspect of “American Greed” is that each episode is centered in truth.

“The stories and details you see are all real and I think the message is very strong and clear,” Keach said. “If you find something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 June 2021 17:52


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