Michael A. Prozer told matchmaker Patti Stanger he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, now he faces years in jail
This may come as a shock but reality TV isn't always as real as it may seem.
One of the "millionaires" who appeared on Bravo's hit show "The Millionaire Matchmaker" in 2009 has pleaded guilty to bank fraud among other charges and he is definitely not worth a million dollars.
Michael A. Prozer III obtained a $3 million loan just months before his television appearance by pretending he had millions of dollars in other banks.
The Tampa resident was on trial and while the lawyers were picking a jury, he presented his open plea.
Prozer's lawyer told the Tampa Bay Times his client decided to make the plea because the risk of losing was too great.
Prosecutors said he got a loan with a Georgia bank because he needed funds for his business, XchangeAgent, a Pay Pal system for South America and Europe. A co-conspirator at Wachovia, another bank, created a fraudulent letter saying Prozer had $21 million on deposit and Prozer used this letter as collateral on the $3 million loan. Prozer paid Fedor Stanley Salina, the Wachovia employee $25,000 for the help. Prozer also produced other bogus documents including tax returns for years he didn't even file taxes.
He then appeared on the show claiming to own a mansion and a private jet. According to Tampa Bay Online, he showed off his 33,000-square-foot mansion, which he said he paid for by making a lot of money from his Internet company. The show's star and matchmaker Patti Stanger called him "trailer park trash" and asked him to get a haircut, put on nice clothes and get a chin implant. Prozer didn't take her advice and showed up to the mixer in what Stanger called a "hick outfit."
His "masterdate" with the woman he picked from the mixer went about as well as his scam. He urinated behind some bushes and splashed his date with water while jet skiing. Although having a bad date isn't rare for the people on the show. Even though Stanger says she has a high success rate, very few of the couples make it to a second date let alone walk down the aisle.
"Like many con men, the lie eventually unravels," said Criminal Defense Attorney Dana Cole to ABC News. "People realize there's nothing there at the end of the day. And that's how you get found out, the money doesn't materialize, so lawsuits then turn into criminal investigations and those then turn into indictments."
The now-defunct bank in Georgia had to take a loss for the full $3 million. In total, Prozer has pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank and conspiracy to commit wire, bank and mail fraud.
Prozer will be sentenced August 9 and faces 30 years in prison plus a $1 million fine for each of the seven charges for which he pleaded guilty. The Tampa Bay Times writes it's unlikely he'll serve "anything close to that." Salinas has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced with Prozer.
(Photo from Florida Mugshots, April 2011)