At the start of the new millennium, a young, suave-looking gentleman wearing a sharp, black tuxedo is holding court with New York’s glitterati in the private dining room of an exclusive Hamptons bar. Sitting at the head of the table, he and his stunning model girlfriend are in fine form, ordering bottle after bottle of champagne for the group, and working their way through a never-ending supply of highly prized caviar.
When the bill arrives, the young man immediately picks it up, glances down at the $80,000 subtotal and signs for it without a second thought, handing it over to the waiter complete with a healthy cash tip for his trouble.
“Who on earth is this guy?” An attractive young lady wearing a tight dress, who benefitted from his extraordinary act of generosity, asks. “Rockerfeller,” he replies in a thick French accent, after overhearing, “but please call me Christopher.”
One would imagine that with such a glamorous lifestyle (and such an illustrious second name), Christopher Rockerfeller had spent his whole life up to that point ensconced in the opulent arms of a wealthy Los Angeles family upbringing. However, in actual fact, the man who now dazzled Hollywood’s A-list was born in the small city of Honfleur in France to a poor family, and spent most of his early life in an orphanage.
Born in 1967, Christophe Rocancourt, as he was then known, had a difficult and tumultuous upbringing. His family life broke down when he was just five years old after his father walked out and his mother turned to a life of prostitution, leaving Christophe and his sister in the care of an orphanage, where he lived until he was adopted at the age of 12.
After several failed attempts to escape his severely disciplinarian adoptive father, Rocancourt eventually managed to flee to Paris at the age of 18, where, homeless and penniless, he began to forge a life for himself out of nothing but his imagination, ingenuity and a relentlessly devious streak.
His first cons came under the pseudonym of Prince de Galitzine, a wealthy Russian nobleman dreamed-up in the mind of Rocancourt to serve his purpose as someone who’d be embroiled in kind of big-money exchanges he was planning to take advantage of. After a few minor scams involving forgery and petty theft, Rocancourt hit the big time when, under the Russian alias, he managed to forge the deeds for a building in the centre of Paris, and sell it for $1.4 million.