Big Brother star Lisa Appleton left homeless by conman

Big Brother’s Lisa Appleton is one of many scammed celebrities

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Big Brother 9 Final - Hertfordshire

Lisa Appleton, star of Big Brother back in 2008, was targeted by a conman after leaving the house. He convinced her that he could make her a fortune on the back of her 15 minutes of fame, and left her with nothing.

Lisa became famous after appearing on the show. She got engaged to fellow housemate Mario Marconi wile they were in the Big Brother house. The pair even got married in a separate reality show, The Wedding House.

However, after the couple left, they met Selva Carmichael. He convinced them that he had negotiated some incredible deals for them - including a reality programme and magazine deals. They were apparently even on the verge of becoming stars in the US.

He went to extraordinary lengths to convince them he knew what he was doing, and even filmed a fake reality TV series featuring the pair - following them with cameras for six months. However, after fleecing them of all their money, he then disappeared overnight - leaving them with nothing

Lisa says she spent time sleeping in her car, and even in public toilets, before moving back to Warrington, claiming benefits, and moving into council accommodation. She said she couldn't find work because she was in her 40s (she is now 47) and had little work experience. They were also reluctant to employ her because of her past.

Lisa and Mario divorced in 2013, and Lisa blames Carmichael for having destroyed their marriage. She also suffered from depression as a result of the con.

Her story features in Serial Swindlers, a new documentary series tonight on Your TV. It follows her appearance on Channel 5 documentary, Celebs on Benefits: Fame to Claim, last year.

At that time she said there was a period when she was sanctioned for missing an appointment she didn't know about at the Job Centre, and she had to ask family and friends for help, and use a foodbank.

Famous targets

Sadly there will always be criminals who see the rich and famous as potential targets for fraud. We reported last year on X-Factor star Rebecca Ferguson, who was befriended by a woman who told her she was an accountant. She struck when Rebecca was at a low point, having split with her management company, persuaded the star to let her look after her money, and used the opportunity to steal £43,000.

One of the most famous examples was the man who conned Sting out of £6 million. Showbusiness accountant Keith Moore, had been Sting's adviser for 15 years when he was jailed for six years in 1995. At that point Moore had lost £4.8 million of Sting's money in investments he was completely unaware of.

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