Sunday, October 14, 2007

Smart Con Men of the History

I received an e-mail about this guy, Victor Lustig, who did one of the biggest frauds of the history. He sold the Eiffel tower. He introduced himself as the deputy director-general of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs and invited six scrap metal dealers to a confidential meeting at one of the most prestigious old Paris hotels.
Lustig told the group that the upkeep on the Eiffel Tower was so outrageous that the city could not maintain it any longer, and wanted to sell it for scrap. Lustig took the men to the tower in a rented limousine for an inspection tour. It gave Lustig the opportunity to find the most naïve dealer. He finally sold the tower and the poor buyer was arrested few days later when he tried to scrap the tower. The irony is Lustig came back to Paris few years later and tried to sell the tower again.
Another person who really impressed me was Frank Abagnale, who used to forge cheques and deeds. He made faked identities for himself several times. First he masqueraded as a pilot to get free rides around the world. It took the police two years until they discover this. Then he pretended to be a Physician. He employed at a hospital as a temporary supervisor. He did not find the job difficult because the supervisor does not do any actual medical work. He lived with this identity for 11 months. Can you believe this guy!!
Guess what, after being physician he introduced himself as a Harvard law graduate and got a job at the office of the state attorney general of Louisiana. He resigned after 8 months since one of his co-worker who was a real Harvard graduate suspected him. After that he forged a Columbia University degree and taught sociology at Brigham Young University for a semester working as a teaching assistant. He finally arrested by the police and in 1974, after only serving less than five years, the United States federal government released him on condition that he would help the federal authorities against fraud and scam artists—without pay. There is a movie based on his adventurous life "Catch me if you can". Must be interesting movie!
These guys are con men, undoubtedly but I can’t help thinking they are also genius. :)))

1 comment:

Georg said...

Bonjour Hiva,

Yes, you are right. These chappies are kind of genius. They were certainly scoundrels but did never hurt anyone.

I imagine the guy teaching sociology, splendid.