Stories of Great Swindles

It seems that no part of the world is free from swindles, stings or rip-offs.  Every day someone is getting duped, here are some of the highlights.Police and Thieves

Great Swindle - Tax Service

I wonder what the little notice on the bottom left says? Great Swindle tax firm

Fortune Tellers

Unforeseen crystal ball mishap 'I've gone into hundreds of fortune-teller's parlours, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policeman getting ready to arrest her.' New York City detective.

Unforeseen Crystal Ball Mishap

A crystal ball caught the setting autumn sun and started a fire.  Margaret Padwick, left crystal ball on a window ledge and while she was out it focused the sun's rays on to her curtains.  Mrs Padwick said: 'The funny thing was my friend was asking me to stay to watch Neighbours on TV, but for some reason I didn't want to'.  Instead she returned to her home in Poole, Dorset, to find her lounge full of smoke.  She immediately called the fire brigade and they came quickly and saved her house. Dave Cooper, of Dorset fire service, said: 'It was most unusual. The conditions were just right with a low, strong October sun.'

There is a Sucker Born Every MinuteThe Great Swindle - Citibank

Just when Will and Guy assumed that everyone in the world had heard of the N*g*rian bank swindle, a new sucker gets taken for a ride.  And this is not just anyone, but none other than Citybank.  Moreover this great global swindle did not happen in 1999, but 2009. Paul Amos decided that instead of trying to dupe an ordinary person into giving bank details, he duped the bank.  Rather than swindling individuals, he tried to rob a country of $27 million. To carry out the elaborate sting Paul Amos, 37, a N*g*rian citizen who lived in Singapore, worked with others to create official-looking documents that instructed Citibank to wire the money in two dozen transactions to accounts that Mr Amos and the others controlled around the world. The money came from a Citibank account in New York held by the National Bank of Ethiopia, that country's central bank.  Prosecutors said the conspirators, contacted by Citibank to verify the transactions, posed as Ethiopian bank officials and approved the transfers. In the end Citibank had to reimburse the Bank of Ethiopia for this great global swindle.  Will and Guy wonders what sort of bonus those Citibank bankers received? ** Just using the full name of this country causes some Phishing Filters to freak out and ban our site!

High Price - Great Global Swindle!Great Swindle - High price

$1 Million Great Swindle Attempt

A US woman has been charged with forgery after trying to use a fake $1 million bill to pay her check at a supermarket. Alice Pike, 35, pulled out the note at a Wal-Mart store, in Georgia, to pay for $1,672 worth of goods and asked for change, police said. The cashier immediately noticed the bill - bearing the picture of the Statue of Liberty - was fake and called her manager who alerted the police. Alice claimed it was all a misunderstanding - she thought the bill was real.  'You can't keep up with the U.S. Treasury,' said Alice Pike, speaking from jail.  Pike also told police that she got the bill from her estranged husband, who is a coin collector.  Over here in the UK, Will and Guy are hoping that the case features on Judge Judy.

Million Dollar Bank Note - Funny Money Swindle

In Pittsburgh, USA a man tried to get change of a $1m bank note.  In this real life case, a man handed over a counterfeit million dollar bill to the cashier at a supermarket in Pittsburgh, and asked for change.  Police told the BBC that the man became abusive when a manager at the Giant Eagle store confiscated the fake note. He broke an electronic funds-transfer machine at the counter and reached for a scanner gun, said police.  Consequently the police arrested the villain and he was later held in Alegheny County Jail. Million Dollar Note Swindle Of course, there is no real US bank note worth $1m; in fact since 1969, the $100 note has been the highest denomination in circulation. Police are investigating whether the bogus note was among a batch distributed last year as a publicity stunt by a Dallas-based religious ministry.  Actually, Will and Guy can help the police, there are prank websites that sell funny money; indeed you can openly buy ten Trillion dollar notes for less than $7 at

The Real Deal - A Genuine £1,000,000 Banknote£1 Million Pound Banknote

This is a real £1 million pound banknote.  But today it's only worth £50,000.  Can this be true?  Could it be another of Will and Guy's hoaxes?  Fact is always stranger than fiction, this is the real deal. Genuine stories always have verifiable facts, spoofs, you can check at  This real £1 million banknote was issued on 30th August 1948 and cancelled 6 weeks later on the 8th of October 1948. You can see that this Treasury Note was number 8, in fact nine were issued as part of the Marshall Plan.  Seven of the nine were destroyed once they were cancelled.  We are assuming that they were paid to the USA as part of the UK's contribution to the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. Somehow this £1 million banknote survived, and while it has clearly been cancelled, and therefore has no face value.  However, it is of considerable value to collectors, hence the auctioneers Spinks' valuation of £50,000.

Perfect FiversPerfect £5 forgeries

During World War II Adolf Berger produced near perfect £5 forgeries for the Nazis.   Their dastardly plan was to destabilise the British currency, and also to make a small fortune for themselves.  Mr Burger was instrumental in creating £120 million fake notes.  He not only forged £5, but also £10, £20 and even £50 notes.  Trusted German agents laundered the fake notes all over Europe.  There was even an intriguing plan to destabilise the pound by bombing England with fake notes! This forgers' story has been adapted as a screen play 'The Counterfeiters'  It won and Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008.

More Great Swindlers, Fakers and Forgers

Catherine Murphy clipped off pieces from gold coins in order to forge into valuable gold coins and other objects.  She was discovered and executed in London, England by burning in 1789. William Chaloner was another forger of coins; interestingly it was Sir Isaac Newton who discovered his counterfeiting.  In those days the Royal Mint took now prisoners and he was hanged, drawn and quartered in 1699. Perhaps the most unbelievable, but never the less true story is that of Victor Lustig who tried to sell the Eiffel Tower in 1935.  It seems with fakery the more outrageous and outlandish the plot, the greater chance that people will suspend belief and fall for the ruse.  Another feature of forgers is that they can never retire on the fruits of the con, they have a compulsion to keen on forging. Between 1964 and 1969, Frank Abagnale cashed $2.5 million in bad cheques, assumed eight identities and passed himself off as a Pan American pilot, paediatrician and a lawyer.  Perhaps you have seen the film 'Catch Me if You Can' starring Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can in 2002Gangster quotes

Gangsters - Great Swindlers

It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are. O. Henry Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies. Woody Allen I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so. Stephen Leacock
Zopa Loans
In archaeology you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy you cover the known Thomas Pickering Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears. Robert W. Sarnoff No one can earn a million dollars honestly. William Jennings Bryan Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too. Richard M. Nixon Footnote: Please send us your stories of great swindles.

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