Con artist

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A Con artist (confidence man or con man) is someone that performs a confidence trick or confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, swindle or bamboozle) in an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.

The victim is known as the mark and any accomplices are known as shills.

Confidence men exploit human characteristics such as greed and dishonesty, and have victimized individuals from all walks of life.

Con artists use many magic related principles and applications and magicians have presented man con artists scams for entertainment and educational purposes.

Contents

Notable con artists

19th century

  • Lou Blonger (1849–1924) – organized massive ring of con men in Denver in early 1900s.
  • Helga de la Brache (1817-1885) - attained a royal pension by convincing the authorities that she was the secret daughter of King Gustav IV of Sweden and Queen Frederica of Baden.
  • Horace de Vere Cole (1881–1936) - organized the Dreadnought Hoax on February 7, 1910 tricking the Royal Navy into showing their flagship, the warship HMS Dreadnought to a supposed delegation of Abyssinian royals.
  • Canada Bill Jones and George Devol – riverboat gamblers and card sharps.

20th century

  • Bernie Cornfeld (1927–1995) – ran the Investors Overseas Service, alleged to be a Ponzi scheme
  • Richard Eaton (1937–1979) - con artist, saloon owner, and general manager of Moo Moo Vedda's dress factory and an associate of the Lucchese crime family.
  • David Hampton (1964–2003) - Inspiration for the play and film Six Degrees of Separation
  • Konrad Kujau (1938–2000) - German forger of the supposed Hitler Diaries
  • Eduardo de Valfierno – Argentine con man who allegedly masterminded the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911
  • Frank W. Abagnale (b. 1948) — U.S. check forger and impostor; his autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, was made into a movie.

Further reading

References

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