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November 29, 2021

November 29, 2021
con artist concept image
CON ARTISTS
CON ARTISTS When thinking of the term con artist, famous ones probably come to mind, like Bernie Madoff, the American financier who bilked billions of dollars from unsuspecting investors in the late 90s and early 2000s. Or Frank Abagnale, the check forger and scamb artist made famous in the 2002 movie Catch Me if You Can. But con artists aren’t a recent phenomena; they go back centuries. In the early 1900s there was Victor Lustig from Austria-Hungary who sold the Eiffel Tower−twice! Or the Italian swindler from the 1920s whose greatest claim to fame isn’t the money he stole from trusting investors or the headlines he made when he was caught. Rather it’s that history has immortalized him by lending his name to the entire genre of cons that made him famous—the Ponzi scheme, named after Charles Ponzi. Even men of the cloth aren’t exempt from the temptation of conning trusting souls, as is evidenced by televangelist Jim Bakker who spent nearly five years in federal prison for his misdeeds. But there’s a type of con that doesn’t get much attention, probably because it’s so commonplace and doesn’t involve violence, politics, or crime. It’s the con game many of us