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October 03, 2023

Pat Pespas, star in HBO's 'Telemarketers' series, reported missing in Pennsylvania

The show's co-director, Adam Bhala Lough, says Pespas may have been spotted at a bar in Pittsburgh

Investigations Missing People
Pat Pespas Missing Source/Easton Police Department

Pat Pespas, 54, was reported missing in Pennsylvania. Pespas was featured prominently in the HBO docuseries 'Telemarketers.'

Pat Pespas, one of the stars of the HBO docuseries "Telemarketers," has been reported missing by his family in Pennsylvania and may have traveled across the state in recent days. 

Pespas, 54, was last seen by loved ones Friday, the Easton Police Department said Monday. Pespas has a residence in Easton, but previously lived in New Jersey. He's believed to be driving a white 2002 Ford Mustang with the New Jersey license plate number "N74KUB." Easton police said they're "concerned for his well-being."

Pespas has a leading role in "Telemarketers," a limited series about the unraveling of a shady telemarketing scam. In the early 2000s, Pespas worked at a New Jersey call center run by a company called Civic Development Group. He and his co-worker there, filmmaker Sam Lipman-Stern, sought to expose the deceptive tactics CDG's owners used to funnel millions of dollars of charitable donations into their own pockets.

News of Pespas' disappearance was first shared online Saturday by filmmaker Adam Bhala Lough, who co-directed "Telemarketers" with Lipman-Stern.

"Pat is missing, and (his wife) Sue, his family and friends are very worried about him," Lough posted on X, formerly Twitter. "Please put out the word that Pat is missing and help us find him."

In a series of updates, Lough said Pespas may have been spotted Saturday night at a bar in Pittsburgh. On Monday, Lough shared a photo of Pespas with the white hat he may be wearing.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Pittsburgh police had not shared any information about Pespas being missing.

In "Telemarketers," Pespas is depicted as a legendary employee and salesperson at CDG. He excelled at getting people to donate to what he and his co-workers believed were charities supporting police, veterans, firefighters, cancer survivors and other groups.

Lipman-Stern, who got a job at CDG after dropping out of high school, started bringing his camcorder in to the company's New Brunswick office to document its free-wheeling work culture. Over time, he and Pespas grew suspicious about where all the money raised at CDG's call centers had been going. They learned that only fractions of the donations they solicited were actually given to charities, despite what CDG employees were instructed to tell the people they called.

Footage from the series — filmed over a period of 20 years — shows Pespas struggling at one point with drug addiction. In later years, he had gotten clean and discussed taking methadone. Lough said Tuesday that Pespas left without his essential medications and his phone. 

Pespas' charm, charisma and sense of humor provide some of the standout moments in "Telemarketers," which was co-produced by the Safdie brothers and Danny McBride.

CDG was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission in 2010 following an investigation into its business practices, with owners Scott Pasch and David Keezer required to pay $18.8 million and permanently leave the industry. After the company was shut down, Lipman-Stern and Pespas continued their investigation and tracked down former colleagues for interviews about their experiences at CDG. They wanted to turn their disillusionment with the industry into a valuable lesson for the public.

Authorities have not shared any other information about Pespas' disappearance. Lough is encouraging anyone with serious leads to send an email to