By Matthew Goldstein

Tyrone Gilliams Jr. wanted to live a larger than life story–with much of it playing out last year in videos he had produced and plastered all over the Internet. A year later, Gilliams true life drama has him fighting to maintain his freedom.

On Oct. 5, federal authorities arrested Gilliams and charged him with wire fraud in connection with a $4 million investment scheme that Reuters chronicled in a Special Report in May. As noted in yesterday’s arrest story, U.S. prosecutors in New York didn’t begin looking into Gilliams until Reuters reported that he allegedly had used some of his investors’ money to reinvent himself as a Philadelphia-area philanthropist.

Some might dismiss Gilliams as the architect of bizarre but  small-time scheme–especially when so many people across the country are suffering economic hardship. But as I point out in the below video, which  our ace online production team put together,  the sage of TL Gilliams may say more about our culture than we’d like to admit.

All these years after Madoff and Stanford, investors are still seeking higher than normal returns. And with the stock market tumbling and Treasuries offering almost no yield, the odds are great that more investors will fall for too-good-to-be true investment schemes.

Also, Gilliams quest for online fame is a reflection of where our culture where celebrity all too often if prized over everything else.