There’s a saying in America that goes: ‘If you can believe that, then I’ve got a bridge you might like to buy’. The phrase is based on one of the most cunning con artists of the 20th century: George C. Parker. This New Yorker was ballsy. He didn’t just con people out of a few bucks by selling them faulty goods. Nope. He went all out, ‘selling’ famous New York landmarks to unwary immigrants. Some of the landmarks he got cash for include, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge, but also Madison Square Garden, the Statue of Liberty, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There’s no formal amount on how much Parker was able to swindle (after all, he sold these landmarks more than once!) – sometimes $5,000 and others $75 – but usually however much ‘he could talk you into spending‘. He was arrested three times for fraud, but that third time put him away for life, in the infamous Sing Sing prison.