Top Ten All Time Con Men

Wondering how to pull off a con job successfully? Here is the perfect inspiration as you take a look at the “jobs” pulled off by the top ten con men  of all times.


1. William Thompson – Mid 19th Century

William Thompson Mid 19th Century

Often known as “The Confidence Man”, William Thompson was the first of his kind, a con man. His appearance as a highly civilized gentleman was the most instrumental factor in pulling off his jobs successfully. His modus operandi would be to get acquainted with the target and take him into confidence to relieve him of his precious watches or jewels and then make escape.


2. Ben Marks – 1870s

Benjamin Marks

Highly skilled in card games, this man prepared the blueprint for the biggest con jobs in the recent times. A ‘shill’ (a disguised partner) was used by the dealer, who would bet and win therefore attracting big players to the ongoing game. Although it was not highly profitable, Ben Marks perfected it in his times and set the foundation for con jobs in card games.


3. Phillip Arnold & John Slack – 1880s

Phillip Arnold  John Slack

Responsible for the diamond hoax of 1882, these men claimed to have found a perfect diamond site by scattering some poor quality jewels at the site to lure potential investors. Many highly reputed firms including Tiffany’s were duped by this near-perfect scam and lost a great deal of money in it. Later apprehended, the matter was solved outside the court.


4. Charlie & Frederick Gondorf – Early 20th Century


Gondorf brothers upped the level of the “big store” scam by playing the “wire” job. They made the target bet on races after they had finished by making him believe that they could prolong the time between the end of race and announcing of results.


5. George C Parker – 1920s


This clever man devised an ingenious way to dupe people by selling those fake landmarks and famous monuments which included the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden’s and the Booklyn Bridge. His greatest assets were a smooth talking tongue and an impressive personality which made the target believe his ingenuity.


6. Charles Ponzi – 1930s

Charles Ponzi

Perhaps the biggest of the scams in the con history, the famous Ponzi scheme enabled Charles Ponzi to earn over a quarter million dollars by the time of his arrest. He offered high short term returns in his scheme for high investment which often attracted investors who wanted quick returns which would be two or three times their investment.


 7. Frank Abangale Jr – 1960s

Frank Abangale Jr

Between the tender age of 17 and 21, Frank Abangale Jr manage to write cheques worth half a million dollar across all the American States and 26 countries all over the world without getting detected even once. Also during this period he managed to pose as an attorney, paediatrician, airline pilot and a college professor which proves his excellence in the field of impersonation.


8. Robert Hendy – 2000

Robert Hendy – 2000

Maybe the heartless of them all, Hendy impersonated as a secret service officer to gain money along with power and influence over his targets. He was caught and convicted in 2005 with over 20 cases of kidnapping by fraud, theft and deception against him. His victims included women whom he duped with proposal of marriages, a psychologist, a solicitor etc.


9. Louis J Pearlman – 2007

Louis J Pearlman – 2007

Pearlman ran a ponzi scheme of his own duping over 1300 investors and earning around seven million dollars. He was the former manager of the boy bands N-Sync and Backstreet Boys. His victim included even his family members and elderly along with his friends. Later he was sentenced by the federal court.


10. Beranard Madoff – 2008

Beranard Madoff – 2008

He is famous for pulling off the biggest ponzi scheme of all times according to the federal authorities of US. His victims included Steven Speilberg and many more. He is supposed to have pocketed over a billion dollars. Currently he is sentenced to150 years of prison time.

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