The nineteenth century was the golden era of riverboat gamblers, crooked railroad contractors, and filthy-rich medical quacks. These crooks made a living deceiving people who took a stranger at face value and left their doors unlocked. Throw in some get-rich-quick schemes and a generous mixture of whiskey and there was never a shortage of suckers. Conman George Parker was able to stay in business for forty years by “selling” public structures such as Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty. He even “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge as often as twice a week.
Most of the popular cons of the time were simple. Anyone with an honest face, a believable story, and a lack of morals could do quite well. For most, the Salted Gold Mine or the Magic Wallet cons were enough to satisfy their greed. However, the more ambitious grifters tried the Big Store, an illegal, underground betting parlor such as the one seen in the movie The Sting.
About Laurence J. YadonSee more books from this Author