Irishman Kevin Halligen worked as a private security contractor and had many people believing he was a James Bond kind of spy. When the Dutch oil trade company Trafigura needed help to get their imprisoned executives out of an African prison (regarding the company’s illegal dumping of toxic waste), Halligen (who was living in the States) showed up saying he had worked with the CIA and Homeland Security. In 2013, Halligen pleaded guilty for defrauding Trafigura of nearly $2 million, having spent the cash on “a lavish lifestyle” including a mansion in Great Falls, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison. (The Trafigura execs were eventually released.)
Halligen also took on non-corporate cases. He allegedly took in nearly $1 million meant to help find Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old little English girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007 while vacationing with her family. Halligen denies misusing the money. Maddie McCann is still missing. Halligen will be featured on the American Greed episode “The Spy Who Scammed Me” which will air on November 6 at 9pm on CNBC.