We all have our suspicions that reality TV is actually quite fake. Yet fake or not, lying for the purpose of appearing on a reality shows can have decidedly real-world consequences.
That's the case of Michael Prozer, a one-time star on Bravo's "Millionaire Matchmaker" who pleaded guilty in federal court this April to bank fraud charges.
On Thursday, Prozer was sentenced to eight years and six months in federal prison, reports Tampa Bay Online, for seven federal crimes, including conspiracy and wire, bank and mail fraud.
Prior to appearing on the show, Prozer convinced Fedor Salinas, a Wachovia Bank employee, to falsify documents and provide them to another (now-defunct) bank in Georgia for the purpose of securing a $3 million loan. Forbes reports Salinas earned $25,000 from Prozer for his work (and got caught -- he pleaded guilty in April), while Prozer pocketed the $3 million.
Prozer proceeded to use documentation of the bank loan to persuade an investor to loan him even more money, thereby putting on a fake appearance of extreme wealth, and, eventually, an appearance on "Millionaire Matchmaker."
In his "Millionaire Matchmaker" segment, the 38-year-old father of two claimed to be worth around $400 million, which he said he earned as the CEO of Xchange Agent Inc., a online payment service in South America and Europe. Prozer flew his TV date to his mansion in Florida in his private jet, for some quality time golfing, cooking dinner and cavorting on jet skis.
ABC News reports the date "was a hot mess," but that after Prozer appeared on "Millionaire Matchmaker," he could present the TV segment as yet more proof of his wealth, and swindle others into giving him yet more money in investments.
According to KMAS, Prozer initially maintained his innocence, but eventually took "responsibility for what had happened." After he serves his sentence, Prozer will be deported to Ecuador.
WATCH Prozer's date on "Millionaire Matchmaker" below [via Bravo]:
Related on HuffPost:
They Go Coupon Crazy
Robin Ramirez, Amiko Fountain and Marilyn Johnson were charged with running a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/robin-ramirez-amiko-fountain-marilyn-johnson-40-million-counterfeit-coupons_n_1690095.html" target="_hplink">$40 million counterfeit coupon ring</a>.
They File Bogus Tax Refunds
Krystle Marie Reyes was arrested for a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/krystle-marie-reyes_n_1586502.html" target="_hplink">$2.1 million tax refund scam</a>.
They Cut And Paste
Barbara Aqueveque was accused of a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/barbara-aqueveque-label-switching-scheme-target-walmart_n_1699268.html" target="_hplink">UPC-swapping scam</a> that netted her $30,000 a month.
They Buy Houses Using Other Peoples' Credit
Suniti Shah and Supriti Soni, California sisters, plead guilty to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/suniti-shah-supriti-soni-real-estate-fraud_n_1728581.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">$16 million real estate fraud scheme</a>.
They Run Nigerian Dating Scams
A mother and daughter were accused of scamming <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/tracy-and-karen-vasseur-online-dating-scam_n_1616980.html" target="_hplink">$1 million from online daters</a>.
They Cheat Their Employers
Patricia Smith was sentenced to 78 months in jail after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/patricia-smith-embezzlement-acura_n_1615439.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/patricia-smith-embezzlement-acura_n_1615439.html" target="_hplink">embezzling more than $10 million</a> from the car dealership where she worked.
They Steal From Friends
A South Carolina woman's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/south-carolina-stolen-lottery-ticket_n_1686630.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">$500 winning lottery ticket was allegedly stolen by a friend</a> after she shared her good news.
They Put Their Friendship Up For Sale
An eBay user <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/adam-sank-facebook-friend-ebay_n_1681348.html" target="_hplink">put a price on friendship</a> by putting a Facebook friendship with Sank, a New York-based comedian, up for sale on the auction site.
They Steal To Get Their Dream Job
Rachael Claire Martin stole nearly $72,000 from the Barclays bank where she worked to allegedly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/rachael-claire-martin-barclays-money-plastic-surgery_n_1680112.html?utm_hp_ref=money&ir=Money" target="_hplink">pay for various plastic surgery procedures in order to increase her chances of becoming a model</a>.
They Steal From Their Spouses
Sean Mewherter, husband of lottery winner, is accused of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/sean-mewherter-husband-of_n_1666676.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">stealing his wife's $1 million ticket</a>.
They Swallow Inedible Objects
Angela Hardman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/angela-hardman-swallows-diamond-engagement-ring-pawns_n_1662911.html?utm_hp_ref=money&ir=Money" target="_hplink">swallowed a $4,000 engagement ring</a> at a department store before passing it through her body and then pawning it.
They Sell Their Souls On eBay
Lori N. tried to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/lori-n-soul-for-sale_n_1654469.html?utm_hp_ref=money&ir=Money" target="_hplink">sell her soul on eBay</a>, with a starting bid of $2,000.
They Rent Out Other People's Property
Eric Sisson, a homeless man, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/eric-sisson-homeless-rent-vacant-home_n_1646436.html?utm_hp_ref=money&ir=Money" target="_hplink">rented out a vacant foreclosed home he didn't own</a> via Craigslist, allegedly earning $1,375.
They Cash Dead Peoples' Checks
Kline Fisher Budd was charged with theft of government property after authorities discovered he had been <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/kline-fisher-budd-dead-mother-social-security_n_1643924.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">cashing his dead mother's Social Security checks for 26 years</a>.
They Steal From Thieves
Lisa Jarvis, a TD Bank teller, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/lisa-jarvis-td-bank-teller_n_1631105.html" target="_hplink">allegedly stole $100,000 from a customer's bank account</a>. The customer, Kenneth Costello, was then charged with filing four bogus tax returns.