Update on the Curious Case of William Baekeland

02 June, 2024 | Blog, News

In 2017, there was a scandal in the travel community. The up-and-coming idol of many, the then 24-year-old billionaire William Baekeland, was, in fact, not who he said he was. After intensive efforts, our very own founder, Harry Mitsidis, discovered that his real name was neither William nor Baekeland, that he was very far from a billionaire, and that his entire persona and most, if not all, of what he alleged were lies. This included the supposed deaths of his two sisters and father – who in reality were alive and well to the best of our knowledge.

William Baekeland


One Million Dollars Fraud?

Perhaps most sinister was the fact that it was calculated that almost one million dollars had been sent to ‘William’ by a number of travellers for promised trips that never materialised – money that ‘William’ probably used on himself and that has never been refunded to the numerous international victims that we know of.

Multiple newspaper articles were written. Ric Gazarian’s Counting Countries had a special podcast on it all. Harry wrote a book about the case.

William Baekeland
And eventually, even HBO filmed an episode called ‘Baekeland’ for its series Generation Hustle.


Where is William Baekeland?

Years later people would still ask ‘where is William Baekeland?’ He would be the subject of speculation, the mystique of the case, of ridiculous ideas such as sending a teddy bear first class for his sister’s funeral, proving too enduring for this ever to die.

It appears it may never die. Changing his name once again – which is incredibly easy to do in the United Kingdom – Baekeland is now known as William Gordon. He has been employed as island secretary on the distant island of Pitcairn at least from October 2023 to March 2024, obtaining an official government e-mail address.

Pitcairn - William Baekeland

Only in the current shambles that is the United Kingdom can we believe that a person who has been the subject of so much negative media attention with so much money still unaccounted for, as well as at least three police investigations being initiated, not only be totally free, but also take a role of public office in what is essentially government.

A number of travellers who have recently travelled to Pitcairn saw and spoke to William, not having a clue who he is. The very person who from the beginning suspected that there was something amiss actually slept in a room right next to him for four nights. On that occasion, William was conveniently ‘ill’ and never appeared because obviously he knew he would be recognised.

William Baekeland



Why are we writing this now? Because it seems he is up to his exact same tricks of 2012/2013 when he was just a beginner. Back then, before he was globally known in the travel community, he offered trips to Chagos (British Indian Ocean Territory), which predictably never materialised. A number of people lost money after buying in to these offers.

And now, one of our biggest friends, and host of our September 2023 meeting in Slovakia, Lubos Fellner, almost fell for exactly the same story. We saved him in the nick of time before he handed money to William for a ‘dream trip’. We have seen an email by William requesting  a staggering 15,000 euros for a proposed ‘scientific’ trip to the islands in 2025 which remains ‘compliant’. We also have reels and thus photographs of now 31-year-old William; he sports a beard and put on his sunglasses as soon as he realised he was being filmed.


William is extremely intelligent. He fooled an entire community of experienced travellers continuously and repeatedly. A fantastic actor, he knows how to approach people and tell them exactly what they want to hear. We ask everyone in the travel community to please be extremely vigilant. Let everyone know about him. Share the photographs above, taken back in 2015 and 2016 and widely available, with your communities.

And whatever you do, when planning your travels, double check the credentials of everybody you are dealing with. If you receive emails from people, make sure it is really them and not someone else pretending to be them; similarly with all online interactions from all ‘new’ email addresses. Do not send your passport data unless you are certain who you are sending it to. There is nothing we don’t expect from William and it is apparent that his exposure in 2017 was just a bleep in his ‘career’.