Texas Widow Loses $800K In Scam To Leonardo DiCaprio Impersonator

By Dani Medina

May 17, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

A widow from Houston, Texas, lost over $800,000 after falling victim to a scam where she was tasked with helping a Leonardo DiCaprio impersonator escape the Church of Scientology.

The woman, whose real name was not published to protect her identity, said she was exchanging letters, phone calls and messages with "Leonardo DiCaprio," according to Chron. Their relationship eventually became "toxic and dangerous" and caused the woman to send $813,000 of her savings to the man on the other side of the screen.

This all started in 2018 when the woman, who The Daily Beast gave the moniker Denise, got a Twitter DM from someone she believed was the Oscar-winning actor. "Hello, Denise," the message said. The two developed a "terrific friendship" over Google Hangouts, letters, emails and "a few rushed phone calls." Denise said "he always insisted that I call him 'Leo.'"

Then, "Leo" would tell Denise he needed help. For example, the faux celebrity would tell Denise that he was "being enslaved by the Church of Scientology," and needed $750,000 to help pay them off.

It wasn't until Denise reached out to Tony Ortega, the writer of The Daily Beast's article, when she realized the inconsistencies in the situation. She also reached out to the FBI in regards to other people she sent money to before "Leo." After losing her husband of 28 years in 2016, Denise had sent over $250,000 to six different people.

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