5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

Olga Nagornyuk

5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

The scam from the point of view of the Criminal Code is a crime and entails punishment. However, it does not stop those who want to profit at someone else’s expense, and they invent combinations that strike even the guardians of order with their audacity. About what the largest fraud of the last century went down in history thanks to a brilliant plan and filigree execution, we will tell in our article.

What tricks do scammers use?

Fraudinterpreted as a crime of seizing other people's property by deception. As a result, the victim herself transfers the money or rights to possession of her property to the attacker.

Gives money

No one likes to know with fraudsters, if he himself is not a crook.J. J. Rousseau

It sounds dry, but in reality any scam is a talented deception based on the ability to manipulate the human mind. An example of the most common frauds are the game of thimbles, cheating in cards, taking a loan on forged documents, financial pyramids, phishing.

Most often, scam artists use standard psychological techniques, masterfully playing them off:

  • offer favorable conditions for income. This principle formed the basis of the well-known financial pyramids;
  • provide psychological pressure, forcing the victim to quickly make rash decisions. An example of such fooling can be calls to close relatives when it is proposed to bail out a son / brother / husband from the police by transferring a certain amount of money to the courier or by transferring them to a bank card;
  • pretend to be well-known, reputable and credible individuals. To such people, the victims are handed money without fear. For example, Viktor Lusting, posing as a representative of the municipality, managed to “sell” the Eiffel Tower.

Removes the mask

Whatever types of crime are committed - responsibility follows the criminals' heels, and fraud is no exception. According to the Criminal Code, in the Russian Federation for such violations can be paid imprisonment up to 5 years.

Top 5 largest scams of the XX century

The largest frauds that went down in history are distinguished by simplicity and genius.

Remedy for male power

The fifth line of the rating is occupied by John Brinkley - a false doctor who made himself a fortune by selling distilled water, dispensed as a remedy for impotence, and transplanting goats to the genitals of people.

Born into a poor family that lived in a small American village, from a young age, Brinkley began to wonder how you could earn money by playing on human weaknesses. Having bought a medical degree in 1918, he took up the "medical" business - he began selling a stimulant of potency to his patients, which turned out to be tinted water.


Further more. The con artist offered his clients a transplant of the goat's genitals as one of the ways of getting rid of impotence. The idea turned out to be super-profitable: about 50 such operations were done monthly at the Brinkley clinic. For money, the scammer even acquired his own radio station.

In the 1930s, after receiving several claims for the death of patients, the deceiver's shop was shut down. And ten years later, he himself was declared bankrupt.

Falsification of banking documents

In the fourth place of our TOP is the legendary AmericancheaterFrank Abagnale, who masterfully forged the documents and eventually became an expert in document security and an FBI consultant.

Frank began his criminal activities at the age of 16, beginning to forge checks and cash them not only in the United States, but also outside the country. The total amount of forged checks was $ 2.5 million. At the same time, Abagnale talentedly reincarnated into a pilot, lawyer, doctor, and university professor.

Smiling solid man

Catch the ingenious engineer could only in 1969. At that time, Frank was 21 years old, and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. True, he served only five of them, since he went to cooperate with the FBI, becoming a consultant to expose scams. According to the biography of a talented crook, even nowadays Steven Spielberg made a film, the main role in which was played by Leonardo di Caprio.

Financial Pyramide

“Bronze” in our ranking, where we have made the largest fraud of the last century, received Charles Ponzi. The future creator of the first financial pyramid came to the United States in 1903 with two dollars in his pocket. Having borrowed $ 200 from a friend, he built a financial pyramid, promising his investors a 50% profit in three months.The company in which funds were invested allegedly engaged in buying and selling goods abroad.

The man in the hat

The Ponzi affair flourished until a friend who lent him funds for a startup demanded half the income of a financial fraudster. This was followed by a trial and bankruptcy. Ponzi returned to his homeland, to Brazil, where he died. They buried him for the last $ 75 he had left.

Two dutch

Khan Antonius Van Meegeren went down in history as a man who deceived Göring himself. Born in Holland, Van Meegeren was fond of painting, but the talented artist had no pathological luck: the rich were in no hurry to buy his paintings. And then the Dutchman made a brilliant move: he decided to impersonate the collector of paintings by Vermeer. He himself skillfully faked the painting style of a famous portrait painter, giving his paintings as his.

Impeccable reputation is the first thing that a scammer needs.Agatha Christie

Thus, the swindler managed to sell five of his creations in an expensive way. Selling the sixth was in the artist's life sign. The “Unknown” painting by Vermeer “Christ and the Harlot” wished to buy Goering himself, who promised in return to return to the museums of Holland 200 canvases exported during the occupation.

After the end of the Second World War, Van Meegeren was blamed for this deal. To dismiss the charges, the artist in the presence of the court drew the next, the seventh "masterpiece" of Vermeer, thereby proving that he did not sell the national wealth to the Nazis.

As a result, he was declared the hero of the Resistance and received the whole year conditionally for his previous "art".

Eiffel Tower for sale

Victor Lusting took the first place in our ranking, which included the largest fraud. He won not because of the amount of the proceeds from the fraud, but for the genius of the idea. This man managed to "sell" the Eiffel Tower twice.

A man in a suit

A future conman in Bohemia was born in the family of a big bourgeois and received a good education. He knew five languages ​​and had the gift of persuasion. These skills helped him to deceive the very godfather of the underworld Al Capone. Having come to the leader of the mafia, he introduced himself as an aristocrat and asked for a loan for two months for 50 thousand dollars, promising to double the amount during this time.

After receiving the money, he put them in the bank, and after the deadline he withdrew from the account and returned Al Capone, explaining that the matter could not be turned. Surprised by the “honesty” of the falsegraph, the gangster rewarded him with five thousand greens, which Lyust was counting on.

Wickedness and treachery are tricks of fools who lack the intelligence to live honestly.B. Franklin

In 1925, this genius of scams turned the main business of his life - he sold the Eiffel Tower. Presenting himself as a representative of the municipality, he offered the ragman Andre Poisson to pay for winning the tender for acquiring the main attraction of Paris, which allegedly decayed and was subject to demolition.

Having received 50 thousand francs, Lyusting disappeared, and the deceived Poisson, out of a sense of shame, did not even declare to the police. A few years later, the swindler made another attempt to sell the tower, but this time he was caught and put in prison, where he died of pneumonia.

More about the ingenious engineer who headed our TOP-5, in which we collectedlargest fraudsee in the video:

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  • 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century

    5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century 5 brilliant frauds of the XX century