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The Sunday Telegraph writes about a recent, literary hoax: the case of Michael "Gambino" Pellegrino, a man who conned Simon and Schuster out of $500,000 by posing as a mafia mobster and selling them a story based on his life experience. It turned out that he was a crook, but was no mobster. (Requires Registration)
In Australia a fake paraplegic faces charges of fraud. He walked into the court house unaided, using his fully functioning legs.
South African con artists recently set up a hoax website pretending to be the official website of the South African Reserve Bank. They used it to scam international investors out of thousands of dollars.
I remember when McDonalds was promoting its "Pick your prize Monopoly" game. I tried it and didn't even win a free fries. But this guy walked away with $20 million from games at McDonalds.
A bogus yellow pages scam.
For more info about the Nigerian Bank Scam, check out Douglas Cruickshank's article in Salon from August 2001 in which he delved into the strange, seductive poetry of the Bank Scam missives. David Emery also had a piece about them in SF Gate in March 2002, while Ian Kaplan has collected many examples of the scam. Finally, the Embassy of Nigeria actually has a statement on its website from the Central Bank of Nigeria warning people about the swindle.
Wired also had a good article yesterday about the Nigerian Bank Scam, in which they interviewed a Nigerian student who actually used to compose the letters that were sent out to potential victims. The student says that the letters were purposefully designed to read like offbeat soap operas.
Now this doesn't surprise me: Robbery statistics inflated by liars.
Fascinating update and background from the Guardian on Barry Minkow, famous in the '80s for his ZZZZ Best carpet-cleaning scam which he perpetrated when he was only 20. Served 7 and 1/2 years. I wonder if anyone from Enron will serve even a fraction of that time?