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Biggest Scams

Swindlers sell the Brooklyn Bridge

The phrase “If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you” has long been used to mock the gullible and naive. It is an homage to the long line of con artists who began “selling” the Brooklyn Bridge almost as soon as it was completed in 1883 to suckers who thought they had scored the deal of a lifetime. Con artist and future mayor Peaches O'Day sold the bridge for $200 in 1899, William McCloundy did two and a half years in Sing Sing prison for selling it in 1901, and George C. Parker sold it multiple times throughout his life. 1)

Charles Ponzi earns infamy for his name

Ponzi schemes are scams that borrow from Peter to pay Paul—that is, use contributions from new “investors” to fulfill promises made to prior victims. Charles Ponzi, the most renowned con artist in modern history, raked in $15 million over the course of 18 months by promising spectacular short-term gains of 50% to 100% when he was, in fact, just shifting money from one person to the next while keeping the majority for himself. Ponzi was convicted in 1920, imprisoned, paroled, continued operating additional frauds, was imprisoned again, and finally deported to Italy. 2)

Lou Blonger scams the West

The reign of a towering figure from the Old West was coming to an end at the same time Ponzi was operating his scheme in New York. Lou Blonger and his brothers toiled and scammed their way through the Western frontier, finally uniting all of Denver's leading con men, grifters, and scam artists into a single underground organization that lasted decades. The Civil War veteran, who socialized with Wild West legends such as Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, and the Earp brothers, was convicted and died in prison in 1924. 3)

Baker Estate Con

In December 1936, 28 persons were charged in the largest postal fraud scam in history. The scheme focused around the enormously wealthy Jacob Baker of Philadelphia, who died with his estate unprobated and so available to claims by anyone named Baker—or so the swindlers wanted Bakers across America to believe. The swindlers gathered $3 million from 3,000 persons who paid to stake their claims under the guise of representing the estate. In truth, there was no Jacob Baker, and there was no such estate. 4)

McKesson and Robbins scandal

Today, McKesson Corporation is one of the world's leading health-care firms, but back in 1938, when it was still McKesson and Robbins, it was at the core of one of the century's biggest scams. Philip Musica, a career criminal who used a pharmaceutical company as a front for bootlegging operations during Prohibition, purchased the drug company and promptly encouraged his siblings to build up phony associate companies. In a scheme that revolutionized America's accounting and auditing regulations, they inflated assets to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in today's money and pocketed millions, which they then transferred to themselves via the phony partner firms. 5)

Quiz show scandals

There were up to 24 Quiz shows at every one moment, and the rivalry was so strong that many people began to take shortcuts until the program became rigged by a long-time “Twenty-One” champion. He and many others that followed him never proved, but the criminal and Congressional investigations and so much public outrage were sparked that every show at the quiz was soon released — until 1963, when “Jeopardy” was given by Merv Griffin, a show which reassured the skeptical audiences by giving the contestants the answers before answering them. 6)

Payola radio scandal

After almost completing the Quiz Show Hearings, Oren Harris started a strong congressman investigating Payola, called for a widespread record business practice that President Dwight Eisenhower himself had previously publicly declared. In Payola schemes, the record business produced successful songs with enormous amounts of money for DJs to provide more time to their recordings. The 1960 Payola hearing examined the practice as an infringement of public faith since the airways were public. 7)

Catching Frank Abagnale Jr.

The first is Frank abagnale jr. from “Catch Me if You May.” Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed more than one fraudster on the list. When Abagnale used gas cards to spend thousands of dollars in dates, he spent millions in bad checks in his teenager's time posing as a doctor, lawyer, professor and a pilot even in the airline while delighting himself via many parallel lives in a succession of disadvantages all over the globe. A huge manhunt concluded in 1969 when he was captured in France but was released early on, providing he helps law enforcement agents with men and forgers like him. 8)

Equity Funding Insurance Scam

In the 1960s and 1970s, via its extremely successful and profit-based marketing of life insurance policies, the Equity Funding Corporation became a darling of Wall Street in America. Unfortunately, 60,000 of those policies were false to investors and policyholders, selling the fake policies to reinsurance firms on profit, selling other fraudulent premiums to original policyholders and even falsifying policyholders' deaths in order to receive benefits. In 1973 the firm filed bankruptcy and several senior managers went to jail. 9)

Crazy Eddie's

Crazy Eddie's, one of the largest retail companies ever generated in the region with some of the most notable shops in the 1970s, was supported by one of the most significant frauds in the modern period, and was one of the few electronics shops in the Brooklyn, NY. Eddie Antar, the founder, concealed money, files fake papers and gave staff cash before the firm went public in an attempt to evade payroll taxes. After it was made public, he put some money into the firm to make it seem lucrative so that his shares could be sold at an exhausted price. When the 1980s ended, the jig was up, its stores failed and Antar was imprisoned for six months. 10)

The Dale

During a height of the gas crisis, the 1970s saw the creation of the 20th century Motor Car firm by an artist named Geraldine Elezabeth Carmichael and the reveal of Dale, which the company laid claim to be a fuel crisis response. The futurist, 3-wheel drive automobile with an investment of 70 mpg soon won $ 30 million and advance sales of $ 3 million. A review by Car and Driver showed, however, that there were no plants, no research and development plants, no production plans and no automobiles. There were no cars. 11)


The FBI launched Abscam in the late 1970s, an in-depth and contentious investigation into government corruption that took down half a dozen congressional officials. Melvin Weinberg, who was in prison for a lengthy line of brilliant scams he and his girlfriend had perpetrated, was also the guy the FBI requested for the scheme, which involved phony Arab sheikhs proposing legislative bribes to lawmakers. On the basis of such swindle, the 2013 blockbuster “American Hustle,” won 10 nominations for the Academy Awards, among them Christian Bale, the best actor for Weinberg. 12)

ZZZZ Best Cleaners

In 1986, the founder of ZZZZ Best Cleaners Barry Minkow made his company's carpet cleaning public and the company soon got more than 300 million dollars. However, only seven months later, ZZZZ Best Cleaners was discovered as really a front for a Ponzi plan. The firm fell bankrupt, its assets were wiped off for only $64,000 and the prison sentence for Minkow was 25 years. Minkow set up the high school firm from the garage of his parents and soon began on a complex strategy that would disfigure investors and trick authorities. 13)

Jim Bakker

The 1988 federal indictment brought against Jim Bakker, the TV-Angel, was the last death of the world's largest Christian empire in the field of radio and television. Their followers, audiences, and investors were bilking Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye, a truth that only came out following a far more salutary controversy. After Bakker spent over $300,000 to chat about a controversial consensus sex affair to Church Secretary-turned actress Jessica Hahn, the world learnt of a financial assault, and Bakker sentenced 45 years and subsequently to 8. 14)

Ivan Boesky Trading Scandal

Ivan F. Boesky previously was a financial powerhouse, but in 1987 he was a symbol of the decade's excesses. For the buying inside knowledge and utilizing it to fraudulently sell stocks in excess of US$50 million in profit Boesky was sentenced to three years' imprisonment. 15)

Charles Keating Savings and Loan scandal

In the 1980s, Keating's offenses were discovered to cover Wall Street culture, which allowed the financial to make use of his Lincoln savings and loans as a basis for his crimes. Lose legislation and excessive political power. By the end of the decade, it was apparent that Keating had plundered its federally-supported bank, gambling with hazardous junk bonds and dumping huge money into political campaigns on the part of his investors. Following a $3.4 billion taxpayer expense scam, Keating was targeted by federal civil racketeering and fraud lawsuits which finally sent him into jail. 16)

Jordan Belfort

The wolf of Wall Street had not been written by Jordan Belfort, which has been adapted to the cinema for a blockbuster film with Leonardo DiCaprio once again, may have disappeared in darkness. After robbing more than $100,000,000 as part of the drug and sex-powered corporate thievery spree based on a so-called pump-and-dump scam, Belfort served 22 months in prison, buying big amounts of worthless stocks to drive his price up and selling his equities in one go. 17)

Financial Advisory Consultants By James Paul Lewis Jr.

In January 2004, officials arrested James Paul Lewis Jr. in a hotel in Houston charging him with a national fraud of $814 million that hit hundreds. During 20 years Lewis managed his company as a gigantic Ponzi scam, which never made any actual investments, but used money from new victims to repay previous investors, like in other Ponzi schemes. 18)

Sam Israel III

Bayou Hedge Fund Group, established by Sam Israel III in 1996, soon attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in investments. The Fund was nonetheless a Ponzi program, and Israel formed an incorrect accounting company to audit Bayou with the aim of reassuring investors in order to avoid disclosing bad results. The jig was up after his customers were tampered with $300 million. In one of the most strange turns in the history of fraud, Israel has feigned suicidality. Israel was detained, convicted and sentenced to 20 years. He ran and was arrested immediately. 19)

Charles Forbes

While his fraud soon looks normal in the tide of corporate crime, Charles Forbes mastered what may have been the biggest accounting scandal in history back in 1998. Forbes, CEO of Cendant, a travel and real estate business that became Avis Budget, had been convicted of weaving a web of corporative falsehoods, which fooled investors and destroyed 14 billion dollars in a single day, and sentenced them to 12 years in jail. 20)

Centennial Technologies

In 2000, a man called Emanuel Pinez received a jail term of five years and was forced to repay $150 million for the swindle by his firm, Centennial Technologies Inc. It was the lead performer on the New York Stock Exchange just four years earlier in 1996. Among other scams, earnings were exaggerated from a PC memory cardmaker, who once even sent fruit baskets at Christmas and gave the clients the gifts. Approximately 20,000 investors have lost 50 million dollars. 21)

Reed Slatkin

In 2002, Reed Slatkin pled guilty to fifteen charges for a 15-year Ponzi regime that snapped 800 rich investors who had deposited about $600 million. EarthLink's co-founder and ordained Minister of Scientology, Slatkin had high-level ties in both Hollywood and the world of technology, including major figures like Greta Van Susteren and Giovanni Ribisi on his list of victims. He was imprisoned for fourteen years.22)


Like Keating in the 80's, the Enron brand has been used to represent Wall Street's corporate greed, white-collar thievery and powerless regulation in the early 2000s. The top brass of the energy company has built a vast network of accounts aimed at inflating earnings, covering debts and fooling regulators and investment companies alike. Once a Wall Street boy, the Enron stock peaked at $90.75 and fell to barely 26 cents per share. The stockholders lost 74 billion USD as a result of what was the greatest bankruptcy in history at that time. 23)


Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco CEO) and a number of key employees in 2002 were accused with fabricating reports using Enron-esque accountancy, lying to authorities and scamming hundreds of millions of dollars at its investors. They utilized the savings to support the prolific life of a $6,000 shower curtain and umbrella stand, including cartooning. Kozlowski was imprisoned for 61⁄2 years and freed in 2015. 24)


In 2002, the WorldCom telecom company filed bankruptcy on account of its participation in the Enron crisis only one month after its auditor, Arthur Andersen LLP, was convicted. With simple but successful deception, the firm collapses and loss for investors after Tyco and Enron even faded. CEO Bernard Ebbers was condemned to 25 years' imprisonment by WorldCom executives who exaggerated revenue and cash flow with a list of costs for investment. 25)


HealthSouth was formerly one of the world's leading healthcare corporations but was a sticky bank for its leaders between 1996 and 2002. Top managers have carried out $2.8 billion in fraud based on the same accounting techniques that have been permitted to hide for so long by Enron, WorldCom and Tyco. For their part in covering up debt, exaggerating revenue, reporting fraudulent reports and, like their contemporaries, making unrecovered gains to fund abominably prickly lives, Richard Scrushy and other key officials were condemned to jail. 26)

Fannie Mae

At the height of the 2006 housing bubble, the mortgage giant Fannie Mae was forced to pay $400 millions for its leaders' shares, including the handling of the company's accounting, payment of undeserved maximum bonuses and conspiratory cover-up. During the next several months, Fannie Mae would play a major part in America's perhaps worst swindle – the recession in 2008 and the lending and investment practices it prompted. 27)

War Dogs

At the time of their massively $300 million government bidding for acquiring more than 100 million rounds of weapons to supply the US-backed rebels of Afghanistan, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli were two ambitious young arms merchants in the early 1920s. By breaching their contract, and buying cheap Chinese-made ammunition, the duo drastically enhanced their earnings, a fact which the couple understood and had been covering up. 28)

Bernie Madoff

In 2008 Bernie Madoff fell by grace following the plan of Ponzi that ended all Ponzi schemes, little less than 90 years after Charles Ponzi became renowned for his name. Madoff, on the other hand, managed for decades to maintain his financial juggling action beginning in the 1970s. Formerly regarded to be one of the largest investors in the world, Madoff pled guilty in 2009 to designing the world's largest Ponzi scam, which raised $19 billion, much of the savings of his close family and friends, with Madoff now in prison serving a 150-year sentence. 29)

Fyre Festival

In recent news, the Fyre Event was a disastrous documentary by Netflix that reveally shows the interior workings of the disaster in 2017, which was charged for industry elites and VIPs as a costly and ultra-luxurious music festival. Instead, visitors were stuck in the Bahama in filthy and raw lodges with severe supply shortages and, most memorably, cold cheese sandwiches, because of misleading advertising, overpromising marketers and a comedy of mistakes. Billy McFarland, the founder of the event, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. 30)

biggest_scams.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/13 04:41 by eziothekilla34