Conning the Rich: The Great American Fraud

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But after U. Koretz promised and delivered high returns, and this attracted more investors and money to keep his pyramid scheme afloat, Jobb says. He also managed to convince many of his investors to reinvest their paper profits in more worthless Bayano stock—in effect, conning them twice.

Florida, which attracted northerners who were eager to escape winter weather, also became a paradise for land speculators, who bought properties at cheap prices and sold them for large profits. Some of the speculators never actually went to Florida themselves.

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Instead they hired young agents who stood out in the hot sun and convinced buyers to put down a non-refundable down payment on a parcel. The growing demand for petroleum to fuel automobiles also led to oil drilling schemes concocted by promoters who mailed out literature and handed out flyers that promised a fabulous return. Some even chartered buses to round up potential investors and drive them out to the oil fields for a look-see. But after authorities began to suspect him of cooking the books and other improprieties, he sold his collapsing company and avoided a mail fraud indictment by fleeing to Shanghai, where he committed suicide.

Wall Street offered its share of get-rich-quick schemes as well. With stock prices rising, small investors were tantalized by the prospect of bigger returns on their savings than bank accounts would pay in interest. But they had no way of knowing that the market was being manipulated by wealthy investors. One infamous s scam was the Radio Pool, in which manipulators drove up the price of RCA stock, took their profits, and left other shareholders to watch helplessly as their shares sank. To make matters worse, many small investors were enticed into buying shares of companies on margin—essentially, with loans that they had to repay out of their pockets if the stock price went down.

That angst led to the rise of private-sector watchdog groups such as the Better Business Bureau , a nationwide organization formed in that investigated and alerted the public to unscrupulous operators, and increasing aggressiveness by government regulatory agencies. With the Wall Street crash of , the prosperity that had funded the rise of get-rich-quick schemes vaporized. The money may have dried up, but the allure of easy wealth had become a permanent part of the American psyche.

Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, got his nickname because of the 'The prize soap racket'. He would sell soap cakes for 1 dollar each to a large crowd claiming that one soap had dollars. A mole placed amongst the gathered audience would shout that he won. This made people buy more and more. He hid the cakes with the money and sold only empty ones. Source: denverpost. He seduced 5 women, promising he would marry them.

People refused to cooperate with the police thinking it was part of the loyalty test. His life sentence was reduced to 9 years as reported by BBC in Source: manchestereveningnews. Though his existence has been disputed, he is allegedly the man who masterminded the theft of the Mona Lisa. He paid several men to pull off the con at the Louvre. He also allegedly asked art forger Yves Chaudron to make 6 copies of Mona Lisa as he had 6 buyers lined up. After the heist, they all assumed they had the real one. Eduardo had no interest in the real painting which he paid Vincenzo Peruggia to steal, and never contacted him again.

Peruggia was later caught and the painting was restored at the Louvre.

Life behind bars

Doubts over the entire incident still exist. But if it is true, Eduardo truly was a mastermind. Source: snipview.

16 Of The Most Cunning Conmen The World Has Ever Seen

He is by far one of the most accomplished conmen in American history, especially when it comes to selling landmarks. Parker has sold the Brooklyn Bridge countless times to innocent foreigners. He used to set up fake offices for real estate dealings. He died in prison, where he narrated stories to guards and inmates. Source: vinh.

How an illegal immigrant pulled off the greatest wine scam in US history

Rocancourt is one of the most glamorous conmen. His first major con was selling a property he did not own for 1. He apparently conned a lot of celebs and even married Playboy model Pia Reyes, who claimed she was unaware of his activities. She had offered him a lead role in her movie Bad Love opposite Naomi Campbell. He was imprisoned for this in Source: ouest-france. David Hampton claimed to be the son of diplomat and acclaimed actor Sidney Poitier and swindled many people into giving him thousands of dollars. His story was converted to a play called Six Degrees Of Separation after the director met two people David had duped.

Hampton even gate crashed a producer's party and gave interviews to use the play's success to his benefit. He filed an infringement lawsuit for a USD million which was dismissed. He died of AIDS at the age of Source: time. Steven has a long records of cons but what is even more impressive is his escape from prisons multiple times. He once used civilian clothes and a walkie-talkie to impersonate a guard.

Once he claimed he had AIDS and even prepared reports, as well as a death certificate while in hospital. He once collected green markers and dyed his clothes green to look like a doctor and walked out the front door. He was finally sentenced to years in prison, with a 23 hour lock up. His release date is on 12th July, Source: theguardian. The American stockbroker and investment advisor is a convicted fraud. He admitted to be an operator of the Ponzi Scheme named after Charles Ponzi , which is one of the largest frauds in American history.

He had employed most of his family in the business. In , His son Mark committed suicide after their scam was exposed. His brother was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Madoff is currently in a correctional institute with a projected release date in After a war in South America, when Gregor returned to Britain in , he claimed to be the political boss of Poyais, a fictional country he invented. He said that the country covered an area of 8m acres and was rich in resources but only needed development.

He successfully scammed people into investing their savings for this non-existent country. When settlers finally reached the land by sea, many of them died over time due to the lack of resources. MacGregor was eventually acquitted of all charges after a trial. Sobhraj was used to a flamboyant lifestyle and he had to commit crimes to support it. His main weapon was gaining the trust of others.

He would rescue them from a situation he himself created and then either scammed them or murdered them. Charles evaded arrest many times.


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He used as many as 10 stolen passports when he was on the run. He became a celebrity in the eyes of the media and will be portrayed in a movie soon. Currently he is serving a second life sentence in Nepal. Source: gq-magazine.

True Stories: Six Million Dollar Conman

There was no doubt that Belfort was an extremely intelligent man. He became a multi-millionaire through stock market manipulation, money laundering and security fraud. He was running a boiler room as part of a penny stock scam. Jordan pleaded guilty and served 22 months in prison for testifying against his accomplices. He is now an author and a motivational speaker. We'd like to show you notifications for the latest news and updates. You can manage them any time from your browser settings. No Thanks Allow. Thank you for Subscribing to ScoopWhoop Notification.

Life sucks, we know. Once you are 18 we promise to show you this content but not till then! Connect with. Here are 16 of the most cunning con men the world has come across: 1.