The 10 Most Ludicrously Expensive Cons Ever to Be Pulled Off
Being a con artist is all about restoring the natural balance between wealth and intellect. Sometimes people accumulate more money than sense. And con artists take care of that problem, simply by taking some (or all) of the money from their gullible hands. It’s one of the oldest art forms in the world and sure, it’s not exactly honest work, or even legal, but it’s pretty easy.
And while most of us are busy slaving away from 9 to 5 for a pittance, they’re living the good life, because honest work is for suckers!
But most victims tend to learn from their mistakes. So, as time goes on, the stakes of the con game get higher, and schemes become more intricate. And throughout history, some con artists have taken that game to the big leagues and became ridiculously wealthy.
They’re the ones who play to win and put the art back into being a con artist and even though most of them ended up getting caught, their success is simply baffling.
Frank-Abagnale You may have seen Spielberg’s movie Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks. Well, it was based on this guy’s life. While most teens are busy playing football or exploring their emotional phase and judging all the conformists, Frank Abagnale jr. spent his teen years committing capital fraud, by writing false checks under several fake identities. Frank had been a lawyer, a doctor, a university professor and a pilot, all before reaching the tender age of 18.
while most teens go off to college at that age. Frank spent his time getting locked up in various European prisons and almost escaping from a moving airplane when he got sent back to the US. He also managed to escape from jail by telling the guards he was an undercover FBI agent. Frank’s now working as a highly successful consultant.
Supervalu-Scam-Gang. Not many people get away with ripping someone off for 10 million big ones. But these guys did. In 2007, using a variation of the classic Nigerian prince scam, they sent not one, but two poorly written emails to the Supervalu supermarket chain. But the emails where not from fictional African royalty. The scammers created phony email accounts for two companies Supervalu was doing business with. And they became very rich, with very little effort.
Both identical emails simply stated that the companies had changed their bank account numbers. And the folks at Supervalu didn’t hesitate for a second to fork over some money, wiring $6.5 million to one account and $3.6 million to the other, without ever bothering to verify anything. Fortunately for them, the FBI was able to recover most of the money. But the scammers were never caught.
Benny-Hinn It wasn’t easy being a prophet in the old days, but they’ve come a long way. Nowadays, you get your own TV channel and a nice tax exempt status. And you don’t have to be a good prophet to get those perks either. Just look at Benny Hinn. His predictions about the 90’s were a little different from reality. Castro didn’t die, homosexuals never spontaneously combusted and the US east coast wasn’t destroyed by a massive earthquake.
Despite being a ridiculously inaccurate prophet and the subject of an investigation by the Senate Committee of Finance. Benny’s doing pretty well for himself. He owns a $36 million private jet and a $10 million mansion. That’s because he tells his flock that if they send him a thousand bucks, God will make them rich. He also cures people Jedi Master style, by using the Force and violently pushing them.
Antoni Muldoon committed many frauds over his fairly long life and eventually paid the price by serving an eight year prison sentence in his mid 60s. His biggest fraud was in the Timeshare industry and according to the Spanish authorities, was that if it was not the biggest scam in Spain, it wasn’t far off. The estimated figure was around 90 Million Euros. He was finally convicted of taking up front fee payments on a debt elimination scam, which was for him a small one, Approx 6million pounds.
Serving his first ever prison sentence, he had a lot of time to reflect on his life and realised that it wasn’t clever taking money from innocent people. He decided that once he was released, he would spend what time he had left making amends. That is how this website came into being. He decided to help people to avoid getting scammed by people like him. Yes this site was set up and is being managed by Toni Muldoon. It is a totally free service and will always be a totally free service. Having had all of his ill gotten gains taken from him by the criminal confiscation services, this site will have to grow slowly. But it will grow and it will help people. That is his promise.
Jordan-Belfort Leonardo Di Caprio also played this famous fraudster in The Wolf of Wall street. Before becoming the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort wanted to be a dentist. But when the dean of Baltimore College of Dental Surgery told him there was no money in dentistry anymore, Belfort decided to drop out and become a professional con artist instead. And, just like in the movie, he turned out to be very, very good at it.
He started his own company, called Stratton Oakmont and got rich enough to support a lavish lifestyle and an expensive drug addiction. Belmont used the so called ‘pump and dump’ scheme, where you buy very cheap stocks and then lie about how crappy they are. You then sell those stocks (for double the price) to gullible people with no knowledge about the stock market. And of course after the sale, those not so savvy investors lose a lot of their savings.
Credit-Fraud-Ring Imagine a whole neighbourhood with people starting out with a very good credit score, getting deep into debt and never paying anything back. And here’s the plot twist: imagine all those people never existed and the money just vanished in thin air. That’s what these con artists did. They created 7000 false identities, set up 80 companies, 1,800 mailing addresses and applied for 25,000 credit cards. It’s a lot of work, but 18 people got away with $200 million.
The con men created fake identities and applied for small loans at first, while making small purchases (just like a real person). Then they would make Mr. and Mrs. Fake seem rich and slowly built up credit their credit score. The fictional couple would then go on a spending spree and simply vanish along with their crushing debt.
Charles-PonziYou may have heard of the Ponzi scheme or pyramid game. Now meet the inventor: Charles Ponzi. This guy became insanely wealthy by letting other people do the work for him. All he had to do, was come up with one brilliant idea, sit back, watch the cash roll in and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.
Ponzi started to buy and sell international reply coupons, buying them cheap in Italy, selling them in the US for market value and making a 400% profit. But this was all theoretical, because he never bought or sold anything. He promised investors insane returns and paid them with money from other investors. It’s basically robbing Peter to pay Paul, and then convince Paul to reinvest his profits. He never had trouble finding new investors and became ridiculously rich, until the whole thing collapsed and Ponzi went to prison.
Albanian-Government When they introduced democracy in the mid 90s. The new Albanian government decided it was also a great idea to introduce the Ponzi scheme to its citizens. If you can let the whole country invest their life savings, you stand to make a lot of dough. So, the new, democratic government worked together with the mafia and actively endorsed and promoted the nationwide scheme.
And there’s no actual profit. Because the money is never invested in anything (other than a luxurious lifestyle for the people running the scam). So, like all Ponzi schemes. It eventually collapses. But when you run a nationwide scam, that means the whole country collapses along with it and falls into chaos and anarchy. That happened to Albania in 1997, and resulted in a ten day civil war and almost 4000 people lost their lives in the fighting and rioting.
Enron Speaking of scamming people on a ridiculously large scale, let’s talk about Enron. This multinational corporation took their scam to a global level in 2001. Before filing for the largest bankruptcy case in human history, the company’s stock was considered to be a real good investment, with stock prices at an all time high. And that was mainly because of creative bookkeeping, money laundering and insider trading.
As it turns out, the Enron had been haemorrhaging money for nearly a decade. They just never bothered to tell the investors. With some creative accounting, a little laundering here and there and making a few key financial documents disappear, it looked like the company was doing great. And just half an hour before their scam went public, the CEO jumped ship and made his wife sell all 50.000 of his shares in the company.
Bernard-Madoff Good old Bernie is responsible for creating the biggest and most elaborate Ponzi scheme in history, as well as the biggest case of accounting fraud in US history. And he got away with it for almost 50 years, before getting a whopping 150 year prison sentence. In the course of his professional scamming career, he suckered investors into forking over a total of $65 billion.
Almost all of his victims were charity funds and institutions, because they had less government oversight. He never offered the unrealistic profit returns you would normally expect from a Ponzi scheme. Instead he offered modest returns, but he was very good at marketing his company and making it seem incredibly exclusive. In fact, he was so good at it, investors were actually afraid to withdraw any profits from their fund, because they feared they couldn’t get back in.