Since the dawn of humanity, there have been some who would take advantage of their fellow man. Therefore, it should not be shocking to hear that many con artists, including a fair proportion, have become legendary for their audacity. 

Let’s read about the three most popular examples among them. Do you know about these biggest con artists from history? On many, movies have been made. Keep reading.

Charles Ponzi  

Through the now-famous “scheme” that holds his name, Charles Ponzi scammed investors out of an astounding $32 million in the 1920s.

The first step in any Ponzi scheme is a seemingly lucrative investment opportunity that is actually a fraud. Ponzi promised his backers a return of twofold within three months by trading “international reply coupons,” which prepaid the overseas postage of mail.

The early investors who trusted Ponzi’s vague explanations ended up getting rich. For this reason, many otherwise intelligent people fall for Ponzi scams. It seemed like a very lucrative venture for them. 

Money from Ponzi schemes, and variations on them like Bernie Madoff’s massive investment fraud, never makes it into real securities. Ponzi and Madoff simply repaid their initial backers and themselves with the influx of cash they had generated.

Countless investors lost their houses and entire savings when Ponzi’s scam got uncovered by The Boston Post.

Gregor MacGregor

European financiers sought fresh investment opportunities in the early nineteenth century, and Latin America was a tempting prospect. Since there was so much buzz about investing in Latin America, MacGregor made up a country on the coastline of Honduras and named it Poyais. 

Many Scottish folks actually came on board and went to this crafted nation after MacGregor convinced thousands of investors to buy Poyais government bonds.

However, the plan was unsuccessful.

When the settlers arrived, they expected to find friendly locals and fertile land, but instead, they encountered malaria and hunger. The initial 250 Scottish immigrants lost about two-thirds of their population, and the British Navy was called upon to intercept and return other vessels bound for MacGregor’s proclaimed land.

MacGregor was undeterred by his failure in Britain, so he attempted the same con in France, where he was promptly arrested.

MacGregor was able to raise £1.3 million ($5 billion) by selling counterfeit government bonds. While outraged investors tracked him to Venezuela, he ultimately passed away there.


Natwarlal, an Indian con man, gained notoriety throughout the country. 

Some of his deeds were very standard, such as faking checks or taking money by posing as a needy individual. Other exploits, such as the instance he marketed and sold the Parliament House of India, including the house members, were far more remarkable. 

In addition to all that, Natwarlal has escaped prison nine times out of nine; the very last occasion he was captured, at age 84 and confined to a wheelchair, he still managed to walk away.

Since time immemorial, con artists have always found loopholes in the human societal systems and exploited them to the fullest, mostly with selfish motives, and will continue to do so. It’s good to learn about them and understand their history, and we hope this post helps with that.

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