Where Is William Baekeland From Generation Hustle Now?
William Baekeland (formerly known as Jesse Gordon) is one of the subjects featured on “Generation Hustle,” the new crime docuseries from HBO Max that shows how these scammers gained national — and sometimes international — attention for their various schemes.
Baekeland’s scamming began when he wanted to become the youngest person to visit every country in the world. He was able to finance his expeditions because he referred to himself as the son of Leo Baekeland, “The Father of the Plastic Industry,” per Decider. Once he established himself in the extreme travel community, he started to organize pricey trips but canceled them after he got money from his unsuspecting victims.
Baekeland’s showboating was a lie and he was the furthest thing from the sophisticated world traveler he presented himself as. According to a 2018 New Zealand Herald report, he lived with his parents in a 130,000 euro home near a Mecca Bingo hall in Great Barr, a Birmingham, U.K. suburb. However, Baekeland impressed his travelers with his “status, encyclopedic geographical knowledge and cut-glass accent.”
Is Baekeland still swindling travelers today? Keep reading to see what he’s up to.
William Baekeland is out of the spotlight
It does not seem that William Baekeland (depicted in “Generation Hustle” above by James McCallum) is taking any more trips. According to Rolling Stone, he owes approximately $835,000 to around 20 people. Baekeland has reportedly not been charged for his crimes.
His family is allegedly still living in their Birmingham house where he visits occasionally. Baekeland’s sister opened up about her brother’s mysterious deeds, saying their parents assumed he was a stockbroker in London. “We are not particularly wealthy,” she told the New Zealand Herald. “We always stayed in England for our holidays. He was always travelling for months at a time and we did not understand how he could afford it.”
Although Baekeland is laying low, his friend Joshua is speaking out. “I think he got a bit ahead of himself. He flew too close to the sun, he started to organise trips costing £40,000 to £50,000 instead of £3000 to £4000. If you pay so much for a chartered yacht and then don’t sell enough tickets, you lose the deposit,” Joshua explained. “He should have been more upfront about his background, then he could’ve explained the situation. These are wealthy, entitled people who have looked to paint it all in a sinister light and I think it’s unfair. He will pay the money back.”
A spokesman for the City of London police said they’ve received complaints about Baekeland and they have been “disseminated by our National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to West Midlands Police,” but so far no actions have been taken.
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