American Greed, Justice.gov, Money Inc.
Troy David Stratos, also known as Troy David Stafford, Troy David, and most recently using the name David Burton, was born April 13, 1966. All in all, he managed to scam ($43,000,000) dollars of his victims, some including women he romanced.
Told people he was an unwanted child. He didn’t know his father, and his mother was a white teenager. And he was in Sacramento raised by his grandparents and they made him got to stay in a barn whenever anyone would come over because he was mixed.
He would tell people he was a billionaire, saying that he made his fortune by investing in "ground floor" America Online (AOL), and then parlayed the fortune he earned into a vast financial empire by investing in oil through contacts with the members of various royal families in the Middle East.
At some point he tracked down his biological father. He’s married to Jazz singer Nancy Wilson, and her name gives him credibility. And apparently, they became close because she supported him throughout the ordeal that would later ensue from his fuckery. She passed away in 2018.
In 1993, at the age of 28 he started conducting frauds and scams, dating wealthy women and telling them his money was tied up in overseas investments and that he just needed loans. One such was a woman named Viive Truu, a Canadian realtor. She was in love with him and managed to get $10 million out of her. SweetheART SCAM.
Opens a production company called in Canada and hires a bunch of employees and tells them they’re going to be working with all these celebrities like Britney Spears. He made them promises of buying them houses and random things. He also does this thing where he would lure waters by telling them he could make them a star, then tricking them into being in a sexual relationship.
But the production company isn’t really doing anything, and while people are being paid, he’s also verbally abusing them. They get tired of it and everyone quits. So he moves to Boston.
Troy has a habit of wasting the time of real estate agents. Apparently, his favorite scheme is to defraud real estate salespeople of their time as a ruse to mingle with the very rich. He consistently represents himself to be a billionaire shopping for extremely high-end properties, having worn out his welcome with real estate sales offices in Las Vegas, Florida, California, Hawaii, the United Kingdom, and Dubai. One witness reports that he was actually blacklisted by the real estate board in Vancouver, British Columbia. He contacts a luxury real estate broker named Jeff Goldman in Boston to negotiate a land deal because he wants to open up RKO Radio Pictures there.
He’s friends with a famous writer and journalist named who’s been on a bunch of talk shows. Richard wants to bring back romance to films and so does Troy. And they’re going to do this together. He signs an $11 million contract with Troy for the exclusive rights to an eleven-movie project. They’re supposed to work on a project called the Pharaonic Prophecies which is three movies that Richard Hack wrote. And they’re going to shoot it in Egypt.
So, Jeff Goldman originally thought Troy was full of shit until Richard vouched for him. So, Goldman spends a year working on this deal, forgoing other deals because this is a big deal worth millions of dollars. And as soon as it’s about to close Troy pulls out. Goldman said Troy is the greatest conman to ever live, in his opinion.
He moves to Florida and continues his fuckery. Then he learns his old friend Nicole Murphy is going through a divorce.
He met Nicole Murphy (Mitchell) when they were teenagers in modeling school. He says she was his first love. When she goes through her public divorce from Eddie Murphy he gets in touch with her. He tells her he’ll help her get through her divorce and invest her money (the divorce settlement) overseas. He tells her she needs his name to get access to the investments he’s making for her. So on February 27, 2006, they open a joint trust. She deposits $10 million and he starts spending it like there’s no tomorrow.
She moves to LA, and he tells her he’ll help her sell her the mansion the Murphys had shared in the gated Los Lagos development of Granite Bay, CA near Sacrament. It’s a 12,600-square-foot home with 14 bathrooms, 10 bedroom suites, and a 5,200-square-foot guest house that costs $30,000 a month in upkeep.
He told her he knew Middle Eastern royals who would be interested in buying the home, and he convinced her that “home purchasers would expect to see luxury automobiles” there and would want to buy them along with the house.
He eventually moved into the house – and supposedly set up a production company Next Level there. Stratos testified that he was a caretaker – and leased luxury vehicles for his own use, the indictment alleges. He convinced Nicole Murphy that because her cash was tied up overseas, she needed to raise money by refinancing the property and a home belonging to her mother in Sacramento.
He ends up refinancing her house for $3 million. She missing $1 million in jewelry and debt collectors are calling her. So starts recording her phone calls with him.
She hires a private detective, and in a year he blew through the whole $10 million.
According to him, he and Nicole got close again and decided to have a child, and therefore merged their funds. Nicole has not commented on this claim. Some of the investments he pitched to Nicole was for her to launch a singing career. He also wanted her to capitalize on being the ex-wife of a celebrity and sold her on starting a jewelry company, Collection X, featuring jewels given to famous ex-wives. She gave over the jewelry Eddie gave her to Stratos but it somehow disappeared.
For his production company, he needs employees, so he hires a bookkeeper name Shirley then he hires her son Sam away from an HR company to “help him build his empire.” But Sam is sus so he googles the name, Troy Stratos. Nothing comes up, but of course, he name-dropped Nancy Wilson and Nicole Murphy, so he goes along for the ride. He hires a guy to take of the cars.
He hired guys to, organize magazines, and basically to just hang around him. They said he would do random off the wall things like go to the movies and pay for everyone in line’s concessions.
He threw a Christmas party and took the guys shopping a Costco and filled multiple carts with random shit. Then he invited the gardener and the window washer and a bunch of people he didn’t know, and hired a Santa, had snow leopard for kids to pet. He liked to show off how much money he could spend, and show off how much of a good guy he was.
But this production company wasn’t doing anything. There was no money coming in, and he had employees. He takes on Sam to LA so they can hire personal staff for him. They book rooms at the Beverly Wilshire in the $5000/night presidential suite. The credit card gets declined, and Sam uses his own card thinking meh, it’s a corporate expense, I’ll get it back.
Shirley the bookkeeper is having problems making the numbers make sense because there’s no money but there are payroll and bills. But no one wanted to make him mad because they knew his temper and it was nasty.
So eventually, Troy moves back to Florida but this time he brings his entourage. But they didn’t do anything except hang around, go to the guy, go to breakfast go to lunch, hang out on the beach.
By February there’s no more money. Shirley can’t make payroll, and now they’re starting to panic. Troys making excuses as to why he can’t get money because it’s so much money and you have no idea what it takes to get that type of money deposited. Blah blah blah.
So, somehow he gets a loan from a bank. But as soon as it hit the bank it was gone. He owes them somewhere around $95,000
Nicole gets suspicious and starts calling him and recording their phone conversations and she hires a private eye. Meanwhile, Shirly and Sam create a website called IMetTroy.com and people start sharing their stories about encounters with him and being scammed out of money or time… And then Troy bounces.
In April he’s in Cairo, he calls his friend Richard Hack and tells him I’ve scheduled a press conference for our movie, come to Cairo. Hack gets there. No press conference but he ends up staying for a month to scout locations. From there, Troy’s like let's go to Dubai and scout locations so they’re there for 30 more days. So Richard goes with him to Dubai. And by the way, he doesn’t bring extra clothes. Which I found to be odd.
Troy goes to France using the name David Burton and pops up on the news.
He managed to scam thousands of dollars from a luxury real estate agent named Gary Peters. Gary reported him to the Paris police. They find out he owes $40 thousand for a hotel room stay. But when they go to his room his passport says, Troy Stratos. The Google that name and the Private Investigator’s report comes up and they invite him to come to Paris to testify against him. He got arrested in France and thrown in La Sante prison.
While he’s there he writes Richard Hack a letter confessing all of his bullshit. It’s only then that he realizes that he’s been legitimizing Troy to other people this whole time, and not only that, but he’s lost a lot of money because he thought he had this $11 million dollar deal with Troy, so he’s turned down other projects because of the exclusive contract. He had to file for bankruptcy. It was an Emperor Has No Clothes moment for him.
He’s released from La Sante in 2009 and moves to L.A. But he’s broke and can’t do shit. And people know his name. So, he changes it.
He starts going by the name Ken Dennis, which is his half-brother’s name, and says he’s a representative of Carlos Slim, a Mexican businessman who was the richest man in the world at the time.
In March 2011 he contacts a financial advisor named Tim Burns. He has 50 investors who want to buy shares of Facebook stock before it goes public on May 18, 2012. He has $13 million dollars of their money.
So Troy, using the name Ken Dennis tells Tim his boss, Carlos Slim has some shares he’s willing to sell. He even tells him he personally know Mark Zuckerberg and that Tim should do it. So Tim agrees and wires Troy aka Ken, $2.8 million. Troy continues to go after Tim, telling him he has more shares and continually gets more and more money from him. He manages to get $11.25 million of Tim’s clients’ money. But Tim is into some fuckery too. The reason he kept giving Troy money was that he was embezzling money from his clients and he was trying t omake the money back, and make some money for himself as well, and he was going to do that with these Facebook shares.
Troy is spending the money gambling in Vegas, getting plastic surgery, buying 5 cars, and getting himself some nice clothes.
He contacts the private investigator that Nicole hired and tells him he’s reformed and he needs his help locating his victims to make amends. . And he flies him to Vegas and he’s making Superbowl commercials for McDonald’s. The PI believes every word. He also contacts his former employees that he owes money and tells them the same story and he wants to make amends and that if they take down any negative information they posted online about him he’ll repay all the money he owes. They do and he does. But it’s the money from Tim Burns.
On December 20 2011 the FBI comes to his door to find Troy Stratos in his closet when they broke down the front door of his Marina Del Rey penthouse four years ago. He paid the monthly rent of $14,000 on the 3,800-square-foot condo a year in advance He gets arrested and taken to jail.
So, Tim Burns is still trying to get these Facebook shares, and he’s calling and texting Ken for 10 days to no avail. While he’s in jail he gets someone to text Tim apologizing for the lapse in communication because he was in a remote location. So he does some digging and the name Troy Stratos pops up. So he goes to the FBI and tells them he doesn’t know Troy but thinks he’s involved with this Facebook shares thing that’s not going through.
They tell him he gave this money to a known con artist. So now he has to confess to his own shenanigans a pleads guilty to mail and wire fraud and gets sentenced to five years in prison.
He pleads guilty to all counts in the Facebook stock fraud and the Nicole Murphy fraud. And gets sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison for multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. He’d already served five while awaiting trial so it amounts to 15 years and 10 months. At the time of his sentencing, he was 50 years old. He’ll be 65
In August 2019 he appealed saying that Tim Burns received a lesser sentence and so should he. The judge said there were separate frauds and Tim cooperated while Troy didn’t so his argument failed to show cause.
And apparently, while his prison mates were threatening him because he scammed them and wasn’t paying his gambling debts.