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10 Con Artists who sold things they did not own

Con artists, short for trust artists, are deceptive maneuvers. They lure their victims into a false sense of trust before stealing their money.

It takes a lot of self-confidence and lack of guilt to lie, cheat and manipulate people to give away everything they have. And some scammers like Victor Lustig have taken their craft to a whole new level. He became famous because he sold the Eiffel Tower twice.

Although Victor Lustig is the most famous example, he was neither the first nor the last to sell something he did not own. Many other scammers have successfully sold land, buildings and modern technologies that may not even exist. Here are just a few examples:

Brian Kiddell

The 75-year-old leaseholder Brian Kiddell sold his landlord's house in Devon, UK. The rightful owner learned that his property was on the market as he drove past the building and noticed a "For Sale" sign. But Kiddell had already sold the house online for 90,000 pounds and made off with the money.

Later it was discovered that Kiddell had rented the house with the name and passport of Paul Stevenson – a man who died in 2004. Kiddell, who leases for four months, puts the house up for sale and poses as owner David Ayton ,

According to a bank, Kiddell had also tried to transfer £ 18,000 under a false name. He claimed to be the account holder's brother and presented a bill of exchange. The bank blocked the transfer when the real account holder showed up alive.

Kiddell was arrested when he appeared on a fake name under a different name after claiming a £ 25,000 loan. He claimed that an organized crime gang had forced him to participate in fraud to repay the money he owed.

In 2013, Brian Kiddell was sentenced to six years in prison after nine counts of fraud, theft and unfair use of a dead man's passport. [1]

9 Rodrick Samuel

Scammers often sell houses because most people would never expect fraud and do not recognize the documents required for sale. The Jamaican Rodrick Samuels is another example of this type of con.

He was the rightful owner when he sold a one-room concrete structure in 2013 for $ 55,000. In 2015, Samuels earned another $ 70,000 by selling the house for a single second time.

Unlike some scammers, Samuels did not stay with him for long. He appeared two months later at the Resident Magistrates Court in the Corporate Area. Asked why he should not go to jail for the crime, Samuels said, "I have an eight-year-old son who goes to school, and I'm sorry for what I did." [2]

Having children is no excuse, no time to spend. The court ordered him to pay either $ 100,000 or spend six months in jail. 19659004] 8 Gregory B. Bartucci

A man was looking for a second boat on Craigslist in 2013 when he noticed that someone had listed his boat for sale. It was the same boat he stored for the winter in Linden, New Jersey. The man arranged a meeting with the person who was trying to sell it.

The seller turned out to be 49-year-old Gregory Bartucci using the name Chad. After meeting with Bartucci, the boat owner contacted the police. They arrested Bartucci, who was held for $ 10,000 in bail by a court hearing. Then he was sentenced to five years probation.

Later, the police discovered that Bartucci had not for the first time tried to sell something he did not own. In 2015, he was found guilty of selling two bulldozers. The scam had occurred in 2011 when a company agreed to buy the equipment for $ 42,500 from a counterfeit company founded by Bartucci.

When someone picked up the bulldozers, the rightful owners stated that the machines had never been sold. Records also reported that Bartucci had been convicted of theft for deception in 1999 and fencing in 2007. [3]

7 James Symons

In 2014, James Symons cheated on over 1,000 Amazon customers by offering non-existent televisions, computers and cameras. The 32-year-old cheated more than 1.1 million pounds with an advertisement that guaranteed the Christmas delivery. Customer complaints revealed the fraud when the electronic goods never arrived.

To gain confidence, Symons had increased its feedback rating by selling cheap items. He claimed that Amazon had wrongly kept his money and planned the fraud as a lever against him. Further investigation revealed four more reports that sold items never delivered between 2011 and 2013.

In 2017, Symons was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after being found guilty in five cases. Amazon refunded all the money back.

Robert Hutchinson, Crown Prosecution Service attorney, said, "He offered inexpensive goods like televisions at bargain prices without having to deliver them. The timing of the fraud before Christmas each year was also no coincidence, as it was aimed at finding anyone looking for a bargain. [4]

6 Nicolae Popescu

Nicolae Popescu is a Romanian refugee who sold non-existent cars. Boats, motorcycles and other expensive items. He mainly used popular websites like Cars.com and Autotrader.com to capture American buyers. Popescu stole more than $ 3 million from a team of other men.

Counterfeit passports allowed members to open US bank accounts. The team used fake bills from major brands such as PayPal and Amazon Payments to encourage buyers to transfer money to American accounts. Then the money was sent to Europe through money transfers and the purchase of luxury watches.

To this day, Popescu, along with several members of his crew, has been the subject of Interpol's "red announcement" – an international arrest warrant. Six of the co-conspirators were arrested in 2012 in a co-ordinated international takedown.

Popescu even landed a place on the list of the ten most wanted refugees of the FBI. The US State Department's Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program is offering a $ 1 million reward for information leading to its arrest. [5]

5 Craig Stevens

A California man was accused of fraud by fake In-N-Out Burger franchise in the Middle East. According to the prosecutor, 55-year-old Craig Stevens approached investors in 2014 who demanded $ 150,000 per site and $ 250,000 per year in royalties.

Stevens outsmarted 10 investors in just over a year. And the fraud could have lasted even longer if he had not e-mailed the fraudulent agreements, which made him guilty of wire fraud. That was the reason for his arrest and led to a two-year prison term in federal penitentiary with three more years of supervised release. [19459011[6]

What particularly impresses this scam is the lack of care given to investors In-N-Out has been privately owned since 1948, has no partnerships with third parties, and does not enter franchise agreements.

Anyone could have reached the company directly and received more information. Even spending a minute on a Google search would have exposed the scam immediately.

4 George C. Parker

Since the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, many scammers have attempted to sell them to gullible strangers. Some of them were successful. At the turn of the 20th century, then-20-year-old George C. Parker brought more sales than anyone else.

Parker turned to people who looked like they were falling in love with his scam and made a conversation about a planned plan for a toll booth on the newly built bridge. He pretended to be a busy engineer, who had other things to build and needed help managing the stand.

The victims believed they could make a big profit by collecting fares from anyone who crossed the bridge. If the goals seemed to be interested, Parker distracted the conversation on his lack of time and offered to sell the bridge. [7]

This trick worked many times. Parker sold the bridge for only $ 50 if the target was bad. He received up to $ 50,000 from wealthier people. Even those who could not afford the purchase were offered loans and immediately received monthly interest.

The police had to intervene when several bridge buyers erected barriers and imposed tolls. Fake documents played an important role in gaining the trust of the target, and contributed to Parker's other sales, including Grant's Tomb, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Statue of Liberty.

3 Emmanuel Nwude

Most People are familiar with the Nigerian phenomenon of Internet fraud. A Nigerian artist named Emmanuel Nwude had gone through a much bigger fraud in front of the internet in the late 1990s. He sold a whole airport that did not even exist.

The unfortunate buyer was Nelson Sakaguchi, a Brazilian bank director. Thanks to his own position as director of the Union Bank of Nigeria, Nwude had access to various documents and information that could help him end the fraud.

Nwude, as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, made contact with Sakaguchi and informed him of a plan to build an airport in Abuja, Nigeria. Offering a $ 10 million commission to the completed airport was too sweet for Sakaguchi.

Nwude and his five accomplices received $ 191 million in cash and the remainder in the form of outstanding interest, equal to $ 242 million. It is still the third largest banking scam in the world.

An investigation began when a Spanish bank wanted to take over the Brazilian bank in 1997 and missed two-fifths of its total value. The bank owners had to pay the bill of $ 242 million themselves to drive the sale.

In 2004, Nwude and his accomplices faced a Abuja High Court with 86 fraud cases and 15 bribery cases. Despite being warned to stop bribing court officials, Nwude attempted to bribe the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission for $ 75,000.

The chairman refused to accept the money. Nwude was charged with attempted bribery and a kidnap attempt by a prosecutor. He was sentenced to five five-year jail sentences and fined US $ 10 million to the federal government. [8]

2 Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava

Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava, better known as Natwarlal, is considered the greatest fraudster in India. And for good reason – he sold the Taj Mahal three times, along with other scams and several jailbreakings.

Natwarlal was a lawyer before cheating on people. His arsenal consisted of more than 50 pseudonyms and masterful signature blacksmiths. It was enough for him to watch another person's hand move to imitate her signature.

The notorious trickster stole an unknown amount of money into the millions of different celebrity business people. In addition to three Taj Mahal sales, he also sold the Red Fort, Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Parliament House of India. [9]

More than 100 cases in eight states of India were associated with Natwarlal and earned him 113 years in prison. Although he was arrested nine times, he escaped each time and spent a total of only about 20 years in prison.

Once he stole a police uniform and left the prison. A security guard who helped with his escape later learned that the bundle of notes Natwarlal had given him consisted only of paper.

Another escape took place when the fraudster was taken to a hospital and treated for kidney failure and urethral stricture. The police accompanied him as he left the hospital at midnight, but he disappeared on the way again.

Natwarlal was released for the last time in 1996 at the age of 84 when he was wheelchaired for treatment. He disappeared at New Delhi Railway Station and has not been seen since.

Even his presumptive death raises questions. Natwarlal's brother claimed to have cremated him in 1996. However, 13 years later, his lawyer filed a lawsuit dismissing over 100 pending charges against the fraudster, recently claiming his death in 2009.

1 Gregor MacGregor

Gregor MacGregor was a spiky Scottish military leader with a tendency to exaggeration. At age 25, he left home after the death of his first wife. MacGregor traveled to South America, where he studied fluency in Portuguese and Spanish.

Venezuela had just declared independence under General Francisco de Miranda, who had previously met MacGregor in London. Although MacGregor presented some fraudulent credentials, Miranda desperately needed support in 1812 and appointed him colonel of a cavalry regiment.

MacGregor's reputation quickly grew after a successful battle against royal armies and led several other battles within the next few years. In 1820, he even persuaded George Frederic Augustus I, king of the Miskito Sambu and ruler of the Mosquito Coast, to give him land 32,375 square kilometers (12,500 mi 2 ).

Although the land was not completely under King's control, he claimed it as part of its territory. MacGregor called his country Poyais. The name derives from a native tribe called Paya, who inhabited part of the territory.

In 1822, MacGregor returned to Scotland and made an announcement that was too good to be true. He claimed to be a local banker son and the prince of the country Poyais.

According to MacGregor, Poyais was an island slightly larger than Wales. His land was so fertile that it could bring three crops a year. The trees were full of fruit and the woods were full of animals for hunting. The water was so pure that it could quench any thirst, and the riverbeds were lined with gold pieces.

MacGregor said Poyais has only missed enough settlers and investors. It sounded like a paradise – in sharp contrast to dark, rainy and rocky Scotland. It was even more attractive because Scotland did not have its own colonies.

To gain confidence, the fraudster put forward all the evidence. He made a Poyais painting under a pseudonym, wrote a book on the virtues of the island state under the pseudonym Thomas Strangeways and even designed a false currency, which was allegedly used in fictional land.

He also published interviews in National Newspapers and highlighted the courage, steadfastness and intelligence of everyone who has invested in Poyais. Those who were not convinced pointed out the elusive Dr. Strangeways, who clearly knew what he was talking about. Only a fool would refuse such an opportunity.

The fraud was more than successful. MacGregor directly raised £ 200,000 and the bond market value reached £ 1.3 million. Soon after, seven ships with hundreds of passengers sailed for Poyais.

Two months later, the first two ships with about 250 colonizers and investors reached an abandoned part of Honduras. They found none of the promised ports, developments and resources. The fictional land was a wasteland.

Two-thirds of the settlers died before a passing ship rescued them. The British Navy remembered the remaining five ships before they reached their destination.

MacGregor was just beginning. He fled to France, where he set up Poyais again. Within months, another group of settlers and investors was ready to colonize the imagination of MacGregor.

Fortunately, France had stricter passport requirements. The government was investigating when it noticed a pile of applications in a country no one had ever heard of.

The fraudster was imprisoned for less than a year for successfully charging a partner in the Netherlands with a crime. He then spent ten years less successful Poyais plans and returned to Venezuela after the death of his second wife.

The then Venezuelan Defense Minister was a veteran of the same battles as MacGregor and helped him get a military pension. Gregor MacGregor died after seven years of retirement. He was buried in 1845 as a hero with full military honors. [10]

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