Why we fall for cons, schemes & imposters


This month's conviction of an imposter - and murderer - who conned his way across the U.S. and into some of the most established clubs and offices of America over decades takes Fakes to a whole new level. We bring you the story of Christian Gerhartsreiter, Christopher Chichester, Christopher Crowe and Clark Rockefeller. All - one in the same.

Find out about more famous cases of imposters including an interview with Christian Gerhartsreiter

Panel: Mark Seal / Katherine Reynolds Lewis / Thomas Plante

"If he did do this, in his relationship with the victim he lost or was humiliated. And this guy, if you look at him, the one thing he could not stand was humiliation. And if he did it... He killed him, I think, in a fit of rage and then went into on of the most brilliant cover-ups in the history of American murder." - US author Walter Kirn

A cold case is finally solved, but US author Walter Kirn and many others still struggle to understand the motivations of the man once known as Clark Rockefeller. His crimes trailed across two continents and three decades, but now a final piece of the puzzle seems to have fallen into place.

The man who claimed to be a member of the Rockefeller family was actually Christian Gerhartsreiter. This month, he was convicted of the first-degree murder of John Sohus in San Marino, California, 28 years after the crime.

But it was during a 2009 trial for kidnapping that Christian Gerhartsreiter first piqued the interest of our next guest. Mark Seal is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine and the the author of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit. He joined us from Aspen, Colorado.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a freelance journalist. We reached her in Potomac, Maryland.

And Thomas Plante is a Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University in California. He also has a blog on the Psychology Today website called Do The Right Thing.

This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica deMello.

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