A conman duped a pair of fame-hungry Big Brother contestants into being followed by a camera crew for several months- by convincing them he was filming a new reality show.
Mario Marconi and Lisa Appleton were tricked into filming ‘Lisa and Mario: Their Journey’ by serial fraudster Selva Carmichael.
But it has now emerged that his TV production company, the World Screen Group, was a bogus front to lure in celebrities and investors.
Carmichael – who calls himself ‘The Silver Fox’ – also targeted X Factor singer Chico Slimani by posing as his manager when the pair had only met briefly on two occasions.
Mario and Lisa did not receive a penny for the filming and split with the 51-year-old when the promised TV series failed to materialise.
They have now learned he was jailed earlier this year for a £500,000 con involving Santander Bank and is currently serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.
Lisa said: “Knowing Selva Carmichael now, he’s a compulsive liar, lives in a deluded land and is a serial, serial conman.”
Mario said: “How low can someone go to get footage to convince people you have a television show?”
The couple shot to fame in series nine of the Channel 4 reality show Big Brother in 2008 but their celebrity careers have since failed to take off.
They were introduced to Carmichael by a mutual friend during charity work, when he introduced himself as the President, Director and Producer of World Screen Group.
Lisa said: “I thought I’d met the almighty god of the industry.”
Carmichael, who liked to be known as the Silver Fox, promised them he could reignite their flagging careers, and bragged that he was producing a clone of Miami Vice set in India, called Bombay Vice.
They signed a contract and began filming the documentary, opening their hearts and lives for several months.
The cameras captured their most intimate moments – including Lisa undergoing surgery – and the pair even recorded a charity record with Selva.
But Carmichael’s filming schedule pushed Mario and Lisa to the limit.
Lisa said: “Filming 18 hours a day, two to three hours sleep and all this pressure.
“He was pressuring us all the time.”
Once the promised deal with a national television station failed to materialise, Lisa and Mario decided to leave Carmichael’s agency.
Lisa said: “He said ‘you’re has beens and you’ll never work in the media again.’
“He was really horrible.”
Carmichael also offered Chico a children’s TV show at a charity bash.
Chico said: “He came up to me and he said: ‘Chico I just want to say if something comes off tonight business-wise, can you please tell them I’m your manager?’
“I said: ‘Yo, listen to me here, let me tell you one thing.
“‘First of all you’re not my manager. Secondly, you’re not my representative. Thirdly I have only met you twice and you and I are not entering a business venture or anything like that.’
“What he wanted from me was the friendship and the celebrity contacts and friends that I had, so he can build a roster of celebrity friends that he can actually use to lure rich, unsuspecting victims.
“This guy claimed the world and delivered absolutely nothing.”
An investigation by the BBC programme Inside Out West also revealed that Carmichael had duped the Five Stars Appeal charity.
He promised a £23,000 luxury yacht holiday as an auction prize and also made a £10,000 bid – neither of which materialised.
A spokeswoman for the Five Stars Appeal said: “We entrusted Selva Carmichael as we do with all of our good-willed supporters.
“We severed ties and took legal action against him, at no cost to the charity, to try to recover as much money as possible.”
Carmichael lives with wife Jashmir in a £725,000 home in Chackmore, Buckinghamshire, which has a posh Aston Martin on the drive.
Angry London-based Lisa took to Twitter to express her anger about Carmichael.
After the promised TV deal failed to materialise, an eight-minute trailer of ‘Lisa and Mario: Their Journey’ appeared online in December last year.
She tweeted: “My Life is upside down…NIGHTMARE!!! After serial conman Selva Carmichael used & conned me.”
Carmichael is currently being sued by one World Screen Group investor for £42,500 after promised profits failed to materialise.
In 2002, Carmichael was sentenced to four and a half years as part of a multi-million pound property scam.
He swindled huge sums of cash by offering get-rich-quick investment schemes buying property in Spanish holiday resorts, earning him the nickname ‘Costa Conman.’
Carmichael sold bogus holiday homes from the set of flop BBC soap Eldorado, under the banner of his crooked Carmichael Corporation.
Earlier this year he was caged for three-and-a-half-years for fraud, due to his part in a £500,000 con involving Santander Bank.
VIDEO: Conman’s trailor for ‘Lisa and Mario: Their Journey’