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"Lady Catarina Pietra Tourmei," with an address in Rancho Santa Fe, goes on trial tomorrow, (Monday, Sept. 19) in federal court in Manhattan. She is one of three persons charged with trying to peddle valuable goods while falsely claiming to be representatives of the famed Guggenheim family. Today's (Sept. 18) New York Times has a long takeout on the Guggenheims and the alleged impostors. The bleached blonde, thrice-married Tourmei says she was given the title "Lady" by crowned heads of Europe because of her charitable works, says the Times. "In reality, Ms. Tourmei was a some-time journalist with a long resume and a home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. At one point, according to prosecutors, she claimed to be the wife of John Ratzenberger, the actor who played Cliff Clavin on 'Cheers.' (A spokeswoman for Mr. Ratzenberger said the two had a short-lived relationship.)" A potential customer noted that in trying to peddle diamonds, Ms. Tourmei seemed to be selling more diamonds than DeBeers sells. Tourmei "assured him that the Guggenheims were severing their ties with DeBeers and liquidating the diamonds in their vast private collection," says the Times. Suspicious, the potential customer then went to the Guggenheims, and the alleged scheme began to unravel.

As reported earlier in the Reader, Lady Catarina penetrated San Diego's high society — for example, in early 2009 she attended an exclusive soiree put on by David Copley and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The New York Post reported last February that she claims to have run big ad/PR campaigns for major companies, and worked as a reporter for CNN and KUSI-TV. Her real name appears to be Catarina Kim Nastopka, born in Maryland, according to the Post.

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Comments

Ponzi Sept. 20, 2011 @ 10:48 a.m.

She is - Rina K Nastopka, age 46

Here is a good story about her schemes in the New York Observer.

http://www.observer.com/2011/daily-transom/ersatz-aristocrats-undoing-lady-catarina-toumei-0

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2011 @ 1:06 p.m.

That's a wonderful New York Observer story. Incidentally, I couldn't bring it up with the address you gave but found it by googling new york observer + lady catarina. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2011 @ 7:24 a.m.

I don't think she looks different in that photo. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Sept. 21, 2011 @ 8:38 a.m.

Surfpup, do you mind sharing how you make a hyperlink active in the reader comments? I cut and paste, but there must be some tags you have to add. Is it just " and " or what?

How's it going my Reader blog buddies? On into the Fall and Winter we go....

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2011 @ 2:09 p.m.

I'll let SurfPup handle this one. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Sept. 21, 2011 @ 2:50 p.m.

If I may "speak" for the Pupster, this is how he explained it to me:

The key to posting hyperlinks; Period space link space space period

(. www.link.com .)

And it's worked every time.

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2011 @ 4:47 p.m.

If something electronic works every time for you, you are far ahead of me. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Sept. 22, 2011 @ 10:29 a.m.

I should have qualified it: "...it's worked every time, except when it doesn't".

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 23, 2011 @ 5:36 p.m.

"Surfpup, do you mind sharing how you make a hyperlink active in the reader comments? "

Dubya was correct-need to get the periods in before and after the link.

Put a period before and after the hyperlink, with a space between the periods. Like this;

Period space hyperlink space period.

Without the www or dotcom ending it loosk like this;

. hyperlink .

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tomjohnston Sept. 23, 2011 @ 7:12 p.m.

actually surfpuppy619, you don't need the periods. just 1 space before and after the link:

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Twister Sept. 21, 2011 @ 3:33 p.m.

If t'were not for delusions with respect to "valuable goods (as t'were), where would the crumbs that trickle down to the breadless masses come from? Poof! . . . and 's all gone. 'Tis written on the wind . . .

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2011 @ 4:48 p.m.

That's another way of saying that trickle-down economics is a bunch of b.s. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Sept. 21, 2011 @ 5:15 p.m.

Feed the horses so the sparrows can eat.

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2011 @ 8:51 p.m.

I think that metaphor was used by John Kenneth Galbraith in Congressional testimony. Best, Don Bauder

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