A court heard that an alleged fraudster, known as “the Con Queen” of Hollywood, may feel stress from sharing a prison cell with American prisoners.

Hargobind Tahilramani is a 42-year-old Indonesian man wanted by the US in connection to a $1.5 Million scam. The UK is trying to extradite him.

Tahilramani allegedly swindled Hollywood professionals out of large sums of cash by posing as showbiz executives offering them movie deals, including pretending to be producers working for The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan.

Hargobind Tahilramani, 42, allegedly ran a scam which saw him impersonate top film executives

Hargobind Thilramani (42), allegedly ran a fraud that saw him pretend to be top movie executives

It is claimed that other “catfish” were Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars producer), Amy Pascal (ex-Sony movie chief) and Sherry Lansing (ex-Paramount boss).

Tahilramani also allegedly used a loud voice to pretend that Rupert Murdoch’s exwife Wendi Deng was his wife while trying to lure creatives into the scheme.

Two counts of wire fraud and five of aggravated theft are pending against him. He also faces conspiracy to commit wirefraud, which can carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

He was arrested at a £60-a-night Aparthotel in Manchester on 26 November 2020 after a year-long probe by the FBI.

Tahilramani was openly gay. He said that he moved to the UK in order to be able to live in an ‘free society.’ He currently resides in HMP Wandsworth. The UK is refusing to extradite him to the US.

Today, Neil Greenberg (a psychiatrist who examined Tahilramani) gave evidence to Westminster Magistrates Court.

Ben Cooper represented Mr Tahilramani and questioned Mr Greenberg.

“If this defendant were to be given a cellmate is that more harmful for his mental health?”

“It could be either way,” replied Mr Greenberg.

Tahilramani is accused of impersonating Rupert Murdoch's former wife Wendi Deng

Tahilramani was accused of pretending to be Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi.

“Sometimes his cellmates have been fine, other times they’ve been quite unpleasant. This can be a source of additional stress.

“Does he see the difficulties that he could face in sharing this small space?”

“Given that he suffers from a mild personality disorder, he’s likely to cause problems for anyone he’s with. On balance, it’s likely it’d be difficult,” the psychiatrist responded.

“There could be many dangers. It may be difficult for the other person that he shared with to make friends with him.

“He might feel the need for action to prove his point. It is difficult to know the personality of the person with whom he will be placed.

Then Mr Cooper questioned Mr Greenberg regarding the possible relationship between Tahilramani and prison personnel.

Is this capable of reducing the psychological effects?

“If he could have supportive staff that was sensitive to his mental health, it would be protective. He would feel more stressed if he had someone else who was interested in his mental health.

Then Mr Cooper asked Mr Greenberg how Tahilramani would cope in isolation.

Tahilramani is resisting extradition to the US because he wants to be tried in the UK

Tahilramani refuses extradition to America because he would like to be tried in Britain.  According to a psychiatrist, he might find living in a American prison cell ‘a source for stress’.

“What is his capacity to deal with this regime?”

“That would be hard for him”

Greenberg stressed that it was possible for him to be more productive if there were activities.

“He loves textiles. It would be a good idea to have enough distracting material that he could minimize the chance of his falling. It would still be very difficult. There are no other options.

On 6 October 2020, Tahilramani faced eight charges by the Southern District of California grand jury.

The first count of the charge is conspiracy to commit fraud by wire, and carries a maximum 20-year sentence.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is the same. He now faces two charges.

He faces five counts each of aggravated identity theft. Each count can lead to a maximum two-year sentence.

Psychiatrist Dr Stuart Grassian (an expert in the psychiatric effects solitary confinement has on Tahilramani) stated earlier in the trial that Tahilramani would not be able cope in solitary confinement in America.

Dr. Grassian testified over a live connection, stating: ‘Will he have the ability to deal in Wandsworth in the same manner? “No,” is my answer.

Continue the extradition hearing