October 22, 2010 |
A middle-aged man in a neon orange polo shirt and baggy blue gym shorts sat at a conference table in West Hollywood one recent afternoon interviewing a prospective ghostwriter. "It's called 'Redemption,'" said Aaron Tonken, the man with the story to tell. "It's going to be big. " When Tonken was marched off to federal prison six years ago in a charity fraud scandal that embarrassed a slew of A-list celebrities, it was difficult to imagine him returning to Hollywood, let alone persuading a major literary agency to shop a book and movie deal about his life.
May 17, 2003 |
Federal officials filed a criminal complaint Thursday charging celebrity fund-raiser Aaron Tonken with one count of mail fraud and connecting him with check-kiting by a former executive of Stan Lee Media. In an affidavit, a federal agent said Tonken used money earmarked for a never-held fund-raiser honoring Diana Ross to help Stephen Gordon cover checks in a scheme that defrauded US Bank and others.
November 15, 2003 |
Aaron Tonken, who organized some of Hollywood's glitziest charity and political fundraisers, is expected to plead guilty to two federal criminal counts for defrauding donors and underwriters, prosecutors said Friday. Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Zwicker confirmed the anticipated plea as charges were filed accusing Tonken of mail and wire fraud. Authorities said hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for charity events "instead went into the pockets of Tonken and others."
September 25, 2003 |
About a year ago, 150 celebrities and power players gathered at the Beverly Park estate of rocker Rod Stewart for cocktails, Wolfgang Puck food and sassy stage banter from the likes of "The Practice" star Camryn Manheim. The aim of the $1,000-a-plate event: to raise money for three charities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's Inner-City Games. But in the end, none of the $260,000 raised at the soiree would find its way to any of the three philanthropies.
March 24, 2003 |
Only a decade ago, a 26-year-old high school dropout named Aaron Tonken was living in Chabad's Westwood homeless rehabilitation shelter, with his nose pressed against the glass of a glamorous Los Angeles that seemed to have no place for him. He had no car, no education and, seemingly, no prospects. But Tonken, as he tells the story, was consumed by a craving for contact with celebrity. As a troubled teenager in northern Michigan, he liked to cold-call famous people.
June 18, 2003 |
A federal inquiry into the activities of celebrity fund-raiser Aaron Tonken is examining his involvement with a $1-million Hollywood political event for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, according to people familiar with the investigation. The inquiry raises the stakes in a longstanding controversy that has pitted Bill and Hillary Clinton against some of their most dogged critics who have publicly questioned the source of underwriting for the gala.