Where is Wanna Marchi now?

Fortune Seller A televised scam is a biographical documentary series on Netflix. The direction is by Nicola Prosatore and the script of the series is signed by Alessandro Garramone. There are a total of 4 episodes with a duration of approximately 45-52 minutes respectively.

The official synopsis for the series reads: “Amazing saleswomen or devious scammers? Wanna Marchi and Stefania Nobile became the undisputed queens of shopping on Italian television — until they overdid it.” It is a detective documentary series, full of pop culture references, that explores the known and unknown elements of Wanna Marchi and a historic moment in the history of Italian television.

Wanna Marchi is an Italian TV personality who was very popular in the eighties and nineties, so much so that she was nicknamed the “queen of teleshopping”. Able to make billions of lire, with products of no value, from slimming products to charms to ward off evil, to lucky numbers. She was subsequently convicted several times for serious illegal acts connected to her business.

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She was born into a farming family and married at the young age of 18 to Raimondo Nobile, with whom she had two children – Maurizio and Stefania. Her married life was no better and turbulent, she had to start working as a beautician to support her family and children. She built up enough of a clientele and was able to set up her own beauty shop.

Between the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties, Wanna Marchi got the key to noisy telemarketing and thanks to her quirky, loud and flashy communication style, her slimming products based on micronized extracts of dandelion and algae, soon enjoyed a certain success. With each successful show, he gained the confidence to sell anything, even things that didn’t exist.

Still from Fortune Seller A TV Scam

In the beginning, all he did was sell the products that target people’s sensitive insecurities like body fat, skin, hair problems, etc. Whether they were really effective or not, her persuasive hospitality convinced people to buy a lot, with products starting at 100,000 lire at least. He would make millions of lire in a day.

However, her success also made her a target for organized crime, which ended with her store in Ozzano burning down, causing billions in damages. Consequently, in 1990 Marchi was arrested and sentenced to 1 year and 11 months in prison for complicity in the fraudulent bankruptcy of her company, through which she sold cosmetic products.

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But with some help, Marchi rebuilds her empire with better design and ideas. She returns to sell television with her daughter Stefania, to various local private broadcasters. But this time it was different, it didn’t just sell cosmetics but also played with superstitions and presents the mythological Master of life Do Nascimento.

Fortune Seller A TV Scam Netflix
Still from Fortune Seller A TV Scam

The spiritual guru named Mario Pacheo do Nascimento was actually a Brazilian butler whom Marchi turned into a psychic who would give you lottery numbers on special amulets. Together the mother, daughter and psychic would extract as much money as they could from tangible and intangible things. In addition to taking orders from their telemarketing, they had a proper plan to sell products over the phone.

Operators at her new company Ascié called customers and followed up every few days. If you were buying a slimming cream then they would ask about your height, weight and check your progress. And also, recommend more products to help in the process.

Likewise, if your personalized lottery numbers didn’t work, they would say it’s due to negative or bad vibrations and make you buy salts that didn’t dissolve in water or amulets for protection. It’s like bank tellers, who keep calling you to get a credit card. Their target group was usually women over 45 or retirees.

And one of many such calls to an elderly woman, caught her in a bigger fraud case. The callers had called the lady to tell her some lottery numbers that would make her a millionaire, but her children caught wind of the scam and wrote to Striscia La Notizia, an investigative program on TV.

Fortune Seller A TV Scam, Wanna Marchi
Still from Fortune Seller A TV Scam

The hosts of the show had the lady continue doing business with Marchi’s company and documented everything from how they would sell fake products for exorbitant amounts of money and basically threaten to pay up. One of the calls was immediately answered by Stefania Nobile, where she emotionally blackmailed and spoke very rudely when the lady refused to buy more products.

It was all televised and further developed into a full investigation by government authorities. Finally, in 2002 both Marchi and Stefania were sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay back their victims, the amount they extorted. Marchi served 9 years and 6 months in prison for fraudulent bankruptcy, aggravated fraud and conspiracy and was released for good behavior.

Right now, as seen in the Netflix documentaries, she’s back in front of the cameras to do what she’s always done best – sell herself. Last year she hosted a 100-hour live TV show, and her daughter also runs an online website under her name, where they sell their various products, from perfumes to t-shirts and tutorials.

Fortune Seller A televised scam currently streaming on Netflix.

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