A bankrupted con-artist from Oregon was able to purchase a bank license and opened a offshore bank in Grenada by claiming to own a 4 pound ruby worth $20 million dollars and a appraisal document proving its worth. The ruby was owned by a man in California who didn’t know the scammer.
Before he was caught, Charles Ponzi the namesake of the Ponzi scheme successfully sued a newspaper for libel and won $500,000 in damages after it suggested there was no way Ponzi could legally deliver such high returns in a short period of time.
A con artist asked Al Capone for $50,000, claiming he could double it in two months. However, he did nothing with the money and after the two months gave it back to Capone, who, impressed by his integrity, gave him a tenth of the loaned money. That $5,000 was what he wanted in the first place.
Helga de la Brache, a Swedish con artist, grew up in lower class circumstances but successfully posed as a Swedish princess for years. Convincing even the Swedish royal family who gave her a pension and “furniture befitting a princess.”
In 1935, a con man was arrested for selling his victims a “currency copier”, purportedly capable of reproducing $100 bills. The day before his trial, he fashioned sheets into a rope and slipped out the window, pretending to be a window washer as he shimmied down the building.
Steven Jay Russell impersonated a prison guard to simply walk out of prison. Upon recapture Russell lowered and paid his bail by pretending to be a judge, escaped his next capture by impersonating a doctor, and did so AGAIN by faking his death, eventually landing him a 144yr sentence.
Steven Russell escaped from prison by using laxatives to fake the symptoms of AIDS. He then called the prison, posing as a doctor, asking for prisoners interested in an experimental treatment, and volunteered. Once out of Texas, he sent death certificates to the prison stating he had died.