The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor

by Mark Seal


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“Forget fiction. Pop this jaw-dropper in your beach bag.” —USA Today

This shocking expose goes behind the headlines to uncover the true story of Clark Rockefeller, wealthy scion of a great American family, who kidnapped his own daughter and vanished. The police and FBI were baffled. Tips poured in, but every lead was a dead end … because “Clark Rockefeller” did not exist. In a gripping work of investigative journalism, Mark Seal reveals how German native Christian Gerhartsreiter came to the United States, where he stepped in and out of identities for decades, eventually posing as a Rockefeller for twelve years, married to a wealthy woman who had no idea who he really was. Fast-paced, hypnotic, and now updated with more stunning details, The Man in the Rockefeller Suit chillingly reveals the audacity and cunning of a shape-shifting con man.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452298033
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/25/2012
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 488,185
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Seal is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where his piece on Gerhartsreiter was a finalist for a 2010 National Magazine Award. He is also the author of Wildflower. He lives in Aspen, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt

When the fingerprints came back from the lab, one thing was finally clear: the kidnapper was definitely not a Rockefeller. He was Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a forty-seven-year-old German immigrant who had come to America as a student in 1978. Shortly after his arrival, he disappeared into what the Boston district attorney would call “the longest con I've seen in my professional career.” The elaborate, labyrinthine nature of Gerhartsreiter's shapeshifting adventures, from the time he set foot in this country as a seventeen-year-old student right up to his disappearance, makes his story more bizarre than any gifted writer of fiction could possibly invent.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Foreword xiii

Prologue 1

Part 1

Chapter 1 Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter: Bergen, Germany 15

Chapter 2 Strangers on a Train 30

Chapter 3 Becoming American 43

Chapter 4 Christopher Chichester: San Marino, California 52

Chapter 5 The Secret Mission 81

Chapter 6 Christopher Crowe: Greenwich, Connecticut 95

Chapter 7 Wall Street 111

Chapter 8 Missing Persons 122

Chapter 9 Clark Rockefeller: New York, New York 133

Chapter 10 Sandra 152

Part 2

Chapter 11 "San Marino Bones" 167

Chapter 12 The Last Will and Testament of Didi Sohus 178

Chapter 13 The Country Squire 202

Chapter 14 Snooks 211

Chapter 15 The God of War 221

Chapter 16 The Boston Brahmin 236

Chapter 17 Peach Melba Nights 250

Chapter 18 "Find Out Who He Is" 263

Chapter 19 Chip Smith: Baltimore, Maryland 277

Chapter 20 The Manhunt 296

Chapter 21 One Last Con? 309

Afterword 321

Acknowledgments 343

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