Raffaello Follieri has been sensationalized as some new kind of con man, but Anne Hathaway’s ex is actually an old archetype, Michael Shnayerson writes in Vanity Fair. Like the heroes of 19th-century social novels, Follieri is a young man from the provinces who conquered the world, got the girl—and was undone by his own ambition.
At every turn, Follieri used investors’ money and bounced checks to create the illusion that he was rich and powerful. But for all his unscrupulous antics, the charges against the 30-year-old Italian seem flimsy; most were already settled in a civil suit. “If Rafaello wasn’t dating Anne Hathaway this wouldn’t have happened,” says one source. “The US attorney doesn’t get out of bed for this sort of stuff.”