NEW YORK – He worked on movies with Quentin Tarantino and "Matrix" cinematographer Bill Pope. He did business deals with John Travolta and Jodie Foster. He even socialized with Madonna and was the only photographer permitted to attend her wedding.
Or so Alexis Quinlin said, anyway. In reality, the 46-year-old French New Yorker was just a financially strapped con man who tried, sometimes successfully, to smooth-talk acquaintances into investing in his phony export company, The New York Post reported.
Quinlin, who was indicted this month on charges he swindled $3.9 million from 22 different people he knew and forged the signatures of Travolta and Foster, often passed himself off as well-known French photographer and music-video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino, according to the Post.
"Boy, do I feel like an idiot," model Paula Patrice told the paper. "But we can't doubt everyone, and Alexis was introduced to me a J.B. Mondino by the owners of Club PM.
"I called him J.B. for three years. He'd send e-mails as if he was all over the world! I have e-mails where he says, 'Sting says "hi" from his villa in Tuscany!' "
Patrice said Quinlin tried to seduce her and get money out of her for his non-existent flat-screen TV business, but failed at both. Quinlin — who got into character by wearing cashmere and a fake tan and drinking espresso — is now in jail, the Post reported.
The divorced con had fallen on hard times thanks to his own bad investments in the small-film distribution industry. And according to prosecutors, he didn't know any of the celebrities he claimed to rub elbows with.
"He once told me he went to Madonna's wedding, and he was the only photographer allowed there," Sotheby's Realtor Debbie Korb told the Post.
"I'd be taking him to look at $2 million apartments," which he always underbid on, she said, "and he'd pull out his cell phone and tell me, 'I've got to take this call from Japan.' "
Quinlin's lawyer, Matthew Myers, is arguing that the charges of grand larceny, forgery and criminal impersonation stem from bitterness over above-board, high-risk investments that tanked. But the Manhattan D.A.'s office said his television export business was a scam and his stories were nothing more than tall tales, the paper reported.
Quinlin could be sentenced to 15 years behind bars if he's convicted, according to the Post.
I'll Have Two Beers and Some Peanuts, but Let Me Catch This Ball First
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A fan waiting in line for beer and peanuts got something extra at the concession stand: home run ball No. 715 by Barry Bonds.
Andrew Morbitzer was waiting his turn to stock up on a couple of beers Sunday when the souvenir of a lifetime plopped into his hand.
"I got to be a small part of a big day," Morbitzer said after the game with his wife, Megan, at his side. He already was wearing a "Bonds 715" T-shirt.
For several moments, Bonds' milestone ball appeared to be beyond anyone's reach. It sat lodged on an elevated platform in center field, then trickled off the roof.
Morbitzer, a 38-year-old San Francisco marketing director, caught the ball and was quickly ushered away by security for a postgame news conference after the Giants' 6-3 loss to Colorado.
A professed Giants and Barry Bonds fan, Morbitzer only recently relocated from Colorado. He hasn't decided what he will do with the ball, and hadn't received any offers by the end of the game.
"Yet to be determined," he said. "Hold it tightly in my hands for a little while."
Morbitzer said he went to get a few more beers because he couldn't see who would be up next in the bleachers.
"We both finished our beers and decided it was a good time to get a beer refill," he said.
He then heard the crowd roar and saw people reaching in the air before catching the ball with one hand.
"I snagged it," he said.
His wife said she wondered what was taking him so long.
"He was waiting in line for my peanuts," she said.
Even Bonds had heard of the once-in-a-lifetime catch.
"It dropped right at him — that's all I heard," he said.
Giants fans had been waiting for weeks for Bonds to hit his 715th homer and pass Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Overjoyed fans jumped from their seats and streamers were shot from the stadium as Bonds made his way around the bases and into the history books.
Will You Be Needing a Rental ... Snake?
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The next time Dan McBride rents a car, he may want to inspect it not just for dings and dents but also for snakes. The assistant athletic director at Eastern Kentucky University found a two-foot-long ball python in his rental car this week as he left the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament in Paducah.
McBride got into his car Wednesday night with a colleague and saw the snake draped across the console.
McBride said he thought it was a rubber snake someone put there as a joke. He even gave the snake a pat and put the car into drive.
As he drove toward the exit, the snake lifted its head. McBride hit the brakes, then started to get out of the car. But the snake was on the gearshift, forcing McBride to keep his foot on the brake.
"You can't act tough when you are sitting a foot and a half away from a snake," said his colleague, Simon Gray.
The snake was captured, and was being held until its owner comes to claim it, authorities said.
Smoking Ban Ignites Ire at Aussie Brothels
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Brothel owners in the southern state of Victoria have called for an exemption to a new ban on smoking in the workplace, saying customers like to light up after sex.
The Australian Adult Entertainment Industry has written to Victoria's health minister arguing that new laws banning smoking in bars and brothels could push prostitution back into the streets, according to a report in the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper.
"People smoke when they drink, and people smoke when they fornicate," association representative William Albon said. "These smoking laws are going to drive women back onto the streets courtesy of the health minister."
The association — which represents more than half of the 87 legal brothels operating in Victoria's capital city Melbourne — wants an exemption to the ban, which comes into effect in July 2007.
My Hands May Be Tied, But I Can Still Drive
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A woman waiting to be booked into the county jail drove off in the arresting officer's police cruiser, still wearing handcuffs, then bailed out and made a run for freedom, police said.
Shalimar Hyneshia Addison, 34, now faces charges of escape and resisting and officer, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.
When Fort Walton Beach police officer Brian Houghs stepped out of his patrol car to find a booking officer, Addison slipped into the driver's seat and, despite her handcuffs, drove the car out of the jail booking area.
Police said she drove a short distance, then abandoned the cruiser and ran on foot. She was recaptured after a short foot chase.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans.
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