Criminals come in different forms. In today’s time, some people will be willing to do anything to gain the upper hand. People will lie and cheat in order to get what they want. These people are more commonly called Con Artists. Con Artists lie and cheat in order to persuade another in order for them to get what they want or to control another. It is not an easy crime to perform. One need wits and charms to gain someone else trust for a short amount of time. There are many Con Artists and Cons, but only a few were really worthy to be called as “Great”. Here are a few of the greatest Con Artists in history.
- Charles Ponzi
An Italian immigrant, also known as, Charles ‘The Ponz’ Ponzi, have pulled a great stunt during his time, 1918. During this year, there was a coupon where you can exchange for stamps in other countries. Ponzi then took advantage of the fact that these coupons were cheaper in Italy than the stamps in America. Ponzi bought a lot of coupons in Italy and redeemed them as stamps in America. Aside from this scam, he used this idea for a business and took money from people who wanted to invest in him and his idea. He received money without giving anything in return. He then negotiated with his investors, offering the investors cups of coffee and money. Eventually, he was sent to prison. He posted bail and moved to Florida where he started another scheme. He was discovered some years after and went to jail. Charles Ponzi is where the term “Ponzi scheme” originated.
- Frank Abagnale
One of the most famous Con Artists is Frank Abagnale. He was a Con man even at a young age. Using the Mobil card of his father, he bought car parts where he would then sell to the gas station for a lower price. His father answered for his actions. His mother later discovered it was him who did the scheme and sent him to a juvenile correction facility. Franks Abagnale later lived in New York where he executed one of his famous schemes. He printed his account number in fake deposit slips of a bank and when clients deposit their own money using this fake deposit slips, it would go straight to his account. He earned around $40000 and has left New York before this was realized by the bank. Abagnale have used different personas which helped him with his schemes, he pretended to be a pilot to gain free travel privileges, a doctor, lawyer and a teacher. He was caught multiple times but also has escaped multiple times. In the end, he was caught in New York and was jailed for five years, he was then offered by the government to use his special set of skills to help the government against scams and frauds in return for his freedom. He run the Abagnale and Associates which is a consultant company for financial fraud.
- Gregor MacGregor
The 1800s is the time for new discoveries. Everything was new or was just newly discovered. Gregor MacGregor was one of the most earned Con man during this time. MacGregor claimed that he was a prince of a country called Poyois. He encouraged people to invest their money in his fictional country and be a colonist of Poyois. He created a guidebook which shows the location, resources and other details the investors would like to know about Poyois. When the investors tried to follow the directions to this country, they discovered it was non-existent. During those times, expeditions were dangerous and only few have survived the travel to Poyois. Upon the return of the survivors, they went after MacGregor. MacGregor then blamed the island for not being where it was supposed to be.