Princess Susanna Caroline Matilda was a convicted thief who escaped to America in 1770 and lived like a queen after she convinced everyone she was royalty.
In 2013 an angler won £800 in a fishing completion with a 13lb Bass, he then sold it to a fishmonger. However he had stolen it from a local aquarium, another competitor recognized it, and tipped off police. He was arrested and admitted theft and fraud.
In 1940, an insurance agent sold an $800K policy on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and secretly pocketed the premium, believing the new bridge to be indestructible. The bridge collapsed spectacularly 4 months after opening, and the agent was jailed for fraud.
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.
The operation of the largest fraud in US history was fairly simple. Bernie Madoff deposited all his investors’ money into his Chase bank account and paid them off as necessary. At its height his account balance was over $5 billion. The scheme collapsed when he ran out of money.
In 2015, Neil Moore, a prisoner serving time for a $2.7 million fraud conviction, walked out the front gate of a high security prison by forging his own release papers.
Executives at McGraw Hill were curious to find out why their accountant was on television racing a Mclaren F1 GTR, chartering Concorde trips and showing up to work in a Ferrari. Turns out he had been embezzling £2.8 million from them the past 5 years since he was recruited.
A man created a fake restaurant that became the #1 restaurant in London. On opening night he served microwaved food. Eventually, he got sick of being interviewed about it. So he sent people that looked like him to the interviews, and told them what to say.
John C. Beale pretended to be a CIA secret agent, flew around the world on first-class flights, stayed in high-end hotels and cost the taxpayers almost US$900,000.
In 1840’s New York, a man would walk up to strangers, acting as an old acquaintance. Gaining their trust, he asked, “Have you the confidence to trust me with your watch until tomorrow?” He would never return. When arrested, he was dubbed the “Confidence Man”, the origin of the term “Con Man”.