American Greed season 14, episode 12: A Father’s Fraud

The next episode of American Greed will hit close to home—because this true crime story is about a father who won’t even let his family stand in the way of his ambitions.

“A Father’s Fraud” follows Karl Karlsen (no relation to the Simpsons character; that’s Carl Carlson), who seems like a grieving man. Both his wife and son have died in accidents decades apart. But eventually it comes out that those deaths aren’t accidents at all, and the CNBC series details the attempt to bring Karlsen to justice.

Any American Greed episode that involves a family being victimized is doubly compelling, because there’s not just a financial angle but also a human-interest angle. True crime fans can’t help but wonder why the perpetrator would hurt the people they claim to love. Was that always the plan or was it sudden? Were they that desperate or did they never care at all?

“A Father’s Fraud” takes that to another level, because Karl Karlsen’s family members have actually agreed to be interviewed for the episode. The best installments are the ones where viewers hear part of the story first-hand (see: season 13’s “The Fall of an Opioid Mogul”) and we’re getting this story from the people who were affected the most, including Karlsen’s brother Michael and his daughter Kati.

Naturally, the question savvy true crime fans will ask is how it took so long for people to catch on to Karlsen’s pattern of fraud, and the show makes a good effort to set up a timeline as well as an on-screen flowchart so viewers can understand the family connections. With just 42 minutes of airtime, and having to set up the exposition of how Karl Karlsen seemed like such a normal husband and father, there’s not room to go into exceptional detail. But audiences will still be stunned by how many people Karlsen hurt—all of them the ones closest to him that he should have been able to protect.

Watch the first ten minutes of this episode here and then see the full story when American Greed airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.

Article content is (c)2021-2022 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

American Greed

Brittany Frederick View All →

Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.

%d bloggers like this: