(Roughly) Daily

“In the old days, a con man would be good looking, suave, well dressed, well spoken and presented themselves real well”*…

 

Mug shot of “Count” Victor Lustig

“Count” Victor Lustig was America’s (and the world’s) most dangerous con man. In a lengthy criminal career, his sleight-of-hand tricks and get-rich-quick schemes rocked Jazz-Era America and the rest of the world. In Paris, he had sold the Eiffel Tower in an audacious confidence game—not once, but twice. Finally, in 1935, Lustig was captured after masterminding a counterfeit banknote operation so vast that it threatened to shake confidence in the American economy. A judge in New York sentenced him to 20 years on Alcatraz…

The story of the man who used 47 aliases and carried dozens of fake passports at “The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. Twice.”

* Frank Abagnale (the subject of Catch Me If You Can)

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As we reconsider confidence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that thieves disguised as police officers arrived at the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, claiming to have received a call about a disturbance.  They were in fact thieves, who subdued the guards and stole 13 paintings, including masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas, worth $500 million (then).  America’s largest private property theft, it remains unsolved, and the paintings, unrecovered.

After the robbery: the empty frame that had surrounded Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

source

 

Written by LW

March 18, 2016 at 1:01 am

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