16 Most Famous Con Artists

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The most famous con artists in the world are those who manage to trick, scam, or otherwise fool the American public. Unfortunately, at the time they were considered helpful, they were at their best, and their worst.

Charles Ponzi


Most people have heard about this guy since he’s one of the most famous con artists of all time. The Italian swindler was known to operate in the USA and Canada in his time, and he’s responsible for a scam that’s still in use today.

George C. Parker


Have you ever heard the saying “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you”? This guy helped that sentence gain notoriety since he continually “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge to unwitting individuals, along with other properties he didn’t own.

Matt the Knife


This guy started as one of the most famous con artists in America. Thankfully, he turned things around and used his skills to entertain people instead of conning them.

Frank Abignale Jr.


If you’ve seen the movie Catch Me If You Can, then you have a good idea of what Frank Abignale Jr. is about. Even with Hollywood exaggerations running wild over the true story, his life as one of the most famous con artists is well-documented.

Billy McFarland


It’s tough to think that Billy would even say the words Fyre Island again after the first fiasco. Unfortunately, con artists have to maintain a lie to make it convincing, and he fell on his face in a big way.

Anna Sorokin


What’s truly disturbing about this woman is that to this day she doesn’t feel she’s done anything wrong. If there was ever anyone who believed in their lies without fail, she’s the prime example.

Simon Leviev


Do you know how some con artists get started? They watch other con artists and run with their ideas. Using a Ponzi scheme, this man secured millions from unwitting victims.

Elizabeth Holmes


Trying to fake it until you make it does work sometimes with a little luck. But this time around, Theranos was trying to climb the mountain even as its legs were crumbling beneath it, and Holmes was doing her best to hide this fact from everyone.

James Arthur Hogue


While he’s not one of the worst, James is the type of con artist who defrauds others for the thrill of it. The guy attended Princeton as an alleged self-taught orphan. Who does that?

Anthony Gignac


If you’ve ever seen an email in your spam file that states how a Saudi prince needs help with one thing or another, you’ll recognize this scam. Defrauding people using the Saudi prince angle netted Anthony millions, but thankfully someone saw through him eventually.

Gina Marks


Preying on people’s sensibilities while claiming to have psychic powers is sad and pathetic, but a lot of people have tried. Some have succeeded, and Gina Marks is just one of the more notable fraudsters who was finally caught.

Ed and Lorraine Warren


These two were great for a host of stories dealing with the supernatural, but much like the world of martial arts, they were exposed once the internet came along. Despite their insanely large following, these two were debunked in more than a few ways.

Christophe Rocancourt 


Hopping from one scheme to another, this French con artist managed to convince some folks that he was more important than he was. At one point the lies had to topple, and now he’s known simply because of his fraudulent actions.

Steven Jay Russell


From selling fake watches to escaping from prison, this guy didn’t sit still and tried to do whatever he could to get ahead. Hollywood even made a movie of his life, in a way.

Steve Comisar


Out of all the cases of fraud this guy is guilty of, the solar-powered clothes dryer, a clothesline, was one of the most laughable. Like most con artists, he’s found immortality by as one of the worst people to exist.

William Rockefeller Sr.


William Rockefeller Sr. aka Dr. William Levingston, the father of the renowned oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, was a controversial figure with a reputation as a snake oil salesman. He traveled as a self-proclaimed physician selling herbal remedies, which were often considered to be of dubious efficacy. This practice earned him the moniker “Devil Bill” and his activities were part of the larger phenomenon of medicine shows, a common occurrence in 19th-century America where various concoctions were sold with grandiose claims about their health benefits. His life was riddled with accusations of deceit and wrongdoing, which contrasted sharply with the legacy of his son, who became synonymous with the oil industry and philanthropy.


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