The fake cops of Santa Monica.
The fake cops of Santa Monica.
One of the most valuable cars in the world crashes going 200 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway. Its owner claims to be an anti-terrorism officer. In fact, he’s a former executive at a failed software company—and a career criminal. The unraveling of an epic con.
James Regan swindled his way through the city’s monied classes. The problem was, he seemed to believe his own lies.
Did a school for spies get conned by a fake spook who molested students?
How pop-up tax preparers make billions off the poor.
Donors all over America opened their wallets for his United States Navy Veterans Association. Politicians all over Washington posed for grip-and-grins with him. But not only was he not a legitimate fundraiser for military families—he wasn’t even Bobby Charles Thompson.
When Clark Rockefeller snatched his daughter during a custody dispute, what the D.A. called “the longest con I’ve seen in my professional career” came unraveled, and the trail led to bones buried in a California backyard.
Alan Young has been running the same scam for years: posing as a member of The Temptations and smooth-talking his way into luxury hotel rooms and prostitutes. Despite his clear charm, he admits he has “no skills other than being a con man.”
How a card-counting former meteorologist from Las Vegas made the first perfect Showcase bid in the 38-year history of The Price Is Right.
A trip to Râmnicu Vâlcea, a town of 120,000 where the primary (and lucrative) industry is Internet scams.
Henry Heimlich saved untold choking victimes when he invented his maneuver in 1974. Since then, he’s searched in vain for another miracle treatment—pushing ethical boundaries along the way. Now at the end of his career, Heimlich has hired an investigator to find an anonymous critic working full-time to destroy his legacy.
Alben Sagan got his name from the U.S. Marshals. Then he got a fortune from a woman he’d only known for a few years.
With Just Mayo, Josh Tetrick wanted to build the first sustainable-food unicorn. He’ll need to fend off the feds first.
When the music was real, but the bands were fake.
Before ending up in Rikers, Jeremy Wilson — if that’s his real name — had portrayed himself as a Scottish-born DJ, a Cambridge-trained thespian, a Special Forces officer, a professor at MIT, an Apple executive, a soldier seeking asylum in Canada to escape anti-Semitic attacks in the United States, and an Irish mobster. Among others.
Arno Smit bilked millions out of Tulare County dairy workers (and at least one wealthy widow). Then he disappeared.
Celebrated doctor Paolo Macchiarini was not all that he seemed.
An investigative reporter goes undercover at a dealership to learn the tricks of the trade, of which there are many.
The story of Aiden Sinclair, the “grifter magician.”
The men whose profitable (and self-serving) antics preserved what we know of the Brontë sisters.
Australian Rocky Perone, age 21, made his minor league baseball debut with a stolen base in 1974. Except he wasn’t Australian, wasn’t named Rocky Perone and most definitely wasn’t 21.
The story of a lawyer-turned-money launderer, stolen evidence, and a bunch of comics selling at outrageously high prices at auction. And Mussolini.
Al Seckel held legendary parties in the 1980s and 90s, with attendees ranging from Slash to Francis Crick. He later became a collector of optical illusions and gave a TED talk on the topic. He may have also misled and defrauded many of the people he came into contact with.
Frédéric Bourdin was an imposter. His "trail of cons," for which he used five languages and dozens of identities, extended for years across Europe and America.
A 23-year-old living in Chile was suddenly attacked and buried alive by her roommate. She later learned she wasn’t his first – or last – victim.