Fraud Movies: Not Your Average List
Have you ever seen 'Catch Me If You Can?' How about the 'Big Short' or 'Wolf Of Wall Street?' Did 'Identity Thief' catch your eye back in 2013? Did we mention 'Catch Me If You Can' a dozen more times? The truth is there are not a ton of great fraud movies. With loads of scammy documentaries out there we have a lot of content to consume, but not as much with film. And even when there is a decent movie about fraud, you aren't often finding yourselves routing for the Fraud Fighters.
The FraudWit budget doesn't extend into producing movies [yet], but if it did it would highlight those on the front lines of fraud deterrence, detection, prevention, investigation, education, and strategy. Maybe something gritty about doing away with paper checks or busting a scammer. Or perhaps Fraudpocalypse would do well. Yeah, FraudWit has a book...
While the movie production route is out of the mix for the moment, FraudWit is happy to offer a few alternatives movie choices that may be overlooked when scrounging for a fraud movie like a roll of toilet paper in 2020. Sorry 'Catch Me If You Can,' you didn't make the list though you've already been mentioned multiple times.
'Fun With Dick And Jane' (2005)
This comedy captures the Enron corporate fraud era. It follows Dick and Jane, a couple who are up and coming until Dick loses his job. They work to make ends meet in some odd ways. The movie also has a check fraud element to it worth noting.
'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994)
Framed for the murder of his wife, banker Andy Dufresne is sentenced to life in prison at Shawshank State Penitentiary. Dufresne eventually becomes involved in money laundering for the crooked warden, creating a synthetic identity in the process to facilitate the scheme. The word 'Redemption' is in the title, so spoiler alert, everything works out peachy in the end.
'Blank Check' (1994)
Also in 1994 was the Disney movie 'Blank Check.' Long story short, a kid gets a blank check from a thief in a hurry who just pulled off a heist. The kid, Preston, enters a million dollars on the check and creates an alternative identity to purchase things...so back in 1994 we have another film about a synthetic identity...curious. And check fraud? The sad thing is that nearly 30 years later this fraud is not only possible, but rampant. Thanks Preston for inspiring fraudsters.
'Office Space' (1999)
A quintessential comedy about working in an office, Office Space follows the life of Peter, a fed up employee of Initech. When Initech looks to downsize, Peter and some coworkers decide to steal from the company, looking to skim small untraceable amounts. The software fails and they end up with more than they bargained for. It is said never to watch this movie more than three times in a row, as doing so will cause you to quit your job.
'The Count Of Monte Cristo' (2002)
It must be said that this movie is mostly listed in reference to the book by the same name by Alexandre Dumas. If you want a good long story about revenge utilizing synthetic identity fraud, look no further. Framed for treason and sentenced to isolation on an island prison, Edmund Dantes finds escape and fortune in a fellow prisoner. After obtaining secret treasure, he goes on a revenge mission on the people who framed him.
While the most dated entry on this list and based on cyber security, WarGames explored hacking at a time where computers were an up and coming thing and the Cold War was going on. A high schooler with some computer skills accidently hacks NORAD and believes he is playing a game with a computer. Once he finds that the game is real and the computer system is threatening nuclear war, he has to help fix the problem. It isn't heavy on fraud, but during a CPE course I took last year I found that it was a movie that inspired early hackers.
As you can see this is not an exhaustive list. And while I enjoy both old and new movies, unfortunately I am blanking on more recent alternative fraud related films. What about you? What are some newer under the radar films about financial crimes, fraud, and scams?