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World's 5 Smartest Con Artists

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World's 5 Smartest Con Artists - as part of the news series by GeoBeats. Con artists come in all varieties - from the ones who sell you world famous landmarks to others who take away your retirement funds with a smile. Here are 5 of the world's greatest con artists: Number 5 is Frank Abagnale, a former con man who cashed phony checks worth $2.5 million in every US state and in 26 countries. In addition, he impersonated as a pilot, a college professor, an attorney, and a doctor. Steven Spielberg's film, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks is based on Abagnale's life story. After serving a prison time of 5 years, he has been working with the FBI on combating check forgery for almost 35 years now. Number 4 - Victor Lustig. Born in Austria-Hungary, his first con involved selling a fake 'money box' which could print $100 bills. He was able to fool the rich and wealthy into buying the box for a price as high as $10,000, sometimes even more. In 1925, Victor was even able to sell the Eiffel Tower to a French scrap dealer for $70,000. Number 3 - Gregor MacGregor posed as the ruler of a fictitious country in Central America called Poyais. He was able to convince investors and immigrants into buying land in his imaginary country. Gregor backed up his story with a guidebook containing details on Poyais. Between 1822 and 1833, over 200 settlers sailed for Poyais, only to discover that it was nothing but a fake country. Number 2 - George C. Parker. This con man made his living by selling New York landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Interestingly, he was able to sell Brooklyn Bridge twice. Parker convinced his potential buyers into buying the landmarks by producing impressive replicas of legitimate documents. Number 1 - Bernie Madoff - Madoff was an eminent figure in the security industry who also served as the vice chairman of NASD. It turned out he orchestrated one of the largest ponzi schemes ever, costing many large firms and thousands of individual investors $50 billion in total. According to SEC, "Madoff's investors' phony account statements showed moderate, but consistently positive returns — even during turbulent market conditions". He is currently serving a prison sentence of 150 years.
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Text Comments (169)
acajudi100 (24 days ago)
He made off with the money. A fool and his/her money are soon separated. Greed on both sides.
EveningWind (2 months ago)
Smart con-artists are the ones that don't get caught
Bob Marley (5 months ago)
First off the world's smartest are not caught, except for Frank he is among the best!
W C N (5 months ago)
The number one is Trump
Ivan Dmitry (5 months ago)
The DEMO-CRACKS NAZI are the number one con..
Ioulum (7 months ago)
Jewish Bankers
Tom Martin (7 months ago)
Gregor Macgregor lol
Bayonettamachinekill (7 months ago)
Smartest we have in the white house. Never getting caught thought the proof is there.
Tom Scott (8 months ago)
Is this a country of criminals? Why do you all look up to him?
patrick mcdonald (9 months ago)
Madoff is the man
anant madhukar (9 months ago)
Natwarlal from India is father of all. Do a google search
Henri C (9 months ago)
2:17 wrong... the largest Ponzi scheme going is Social Security😡
FETTSpence (9 months ago)
Where is Tito selling jugoslawia space program to the US?
are you sure bernie madoff and frank abagnale are two different people? they look the exact same..
Spaghetti Man (10 months ago)
If they were so smart they wouldn't get caught.
Thomas Paine (11 months ago)
Frank Abagnale is a fantastic guy now ! See his GREAT talks on Y T. What a man. Also of course he was very smart as a kid surviving on his own.
jim (11 months ago)
He's from Austria, Hungary? From England, Germany
Snezana Jovovic (11 months ago)
Born in Austria, Hungary?? Wtf is this person talking about???
“Sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal!” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 I just about fell of my bed laughing. There really is some stupid people about. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
bman342a (1 year ago)
the 5 smartest con artists are the ones who have yet to be caught.
kjlwn 23 (1 year ago)
l like Frank
joey alfaro (1 year ago)
I know a guy that prints his own money, ships oil to United States when we have oil here, ships off trillions dollars, starves out countries. he's king of earth you no him as your father the devil Lucifer
jav4444 (1 year ago)
Born in Austria, Hungry? These are 2 separate countries!
SepherStar (1 year ago)
Madoff wasn't unusually smart, he just took advantage of his reputation and complacent government regulators.
Harry Hill Hill (1 year ago)
Abignal u fucker
Riya (1 year ago)
Where is natwarlal?? Who sold taj mahal and red ford
Brett (1 year ago)
This list is impossible to make. The smartest con artists never get caught.
angela123 altintas (1 year ago)
Again, smart but made a CHOICE to stand on the wrong side of the fence.
Polina Z Ralte (1 year ago)
omg😂😂 selling effil tower, country etc lol
Oshiomhole Ugly_Ape (1 year ago)
Uso Indevido (1 year ago)
Steve Jobs
Aceee (2 years ago)
Real life Neal Caffrey... (I've been rewatching White Collar recently)
abbyT (1 year ago)
SuperAceMan55 HD me too I'm on season 3
Play Store (2 years ago)
bra. how you sell the statue of liberty
Wm Wanna Be (2 years ago)
No one will be as Good as Neal Caffrey :)
Hamlet telmaH (1 year ago)
Not too many people know this but it's true that Neal Caffrey character is based on/inspired by Frank Abagnale.
abbyT (1 year ago)
Wm Wanna Be so true
Wm Wanna Be (2 years ago)
i don't think you have any sense of humor kido
DKT (2 years ago)
neal caffrey = frank abagnale you fucking belland
ameerul aqmal (2 years ago)
ummm.. jordan belfort??
Manoel Pinto (2 years ago)
The biggest offender and supporters of these fraud scams are the Attorney Generals, FBI, FTC, etc who treat crime and fraud as civil cases and do not adequately investigate complaints filed and prosecute the bastards. I recently filed a complaint with all these Gov bodies about being ripped off of $22,500 across interstate lines, fraudulently. FBI & FTC failed to even respond to my complaint. AG of Phoenix, AZ just said they will treat it as a civil consumer complaint. THIS WAS CLEAR FRAUD with all proof in B&W that was provided to all the Gov bodies above, The perpetrator got me to wire funds and then went in to hiding. Criminals know they can get away with crime and that is why millions of dollars is lost to these con man because law enforcement spend more time and money issuing speeding tickets and bullying innocent motorist and drinking free coffee all day. They make most easy money in literally thousands of $$$ with detail!!! Tax payer ripoff........
maddielovelee (2 years ago)
Manoel Pinto a few years back I had no home so this guy I knew who liked me was leaving his apartment and told me I could stay there if I gave 600 which I did. he kept acting shady though and wouldn't write it down on paper that I gave the money and I knew right then it was shady but I had no where else to go and ignored my gut. he was angry I didn't like him like that and wouldn't hook up with him i was freaked out by him he would literally stalk me and come on really strong. so he saw I had nowhere to go took advantage of that bc he also saw that I was making money and he was about to lose his place bc he was a bum. so he later stole the few things I had there like my blankets and few things of clothes and stuff and when I freaked out he came there with his guy cousin and beat me up all around apartment tearing the place up then threw me down three flights of stairs and out onto street and my dad came and called police and guess what they did? nothing. they didn't even get out of their car or write a report bc the guy lived in that area his whole life and apparently talked to them before I did and told them some story about me I'm not sure what it was exactly they just said they already knew about me or something but if I was a cop I'd find it a little shady for someone to call me and tell me not to believe someone if they were to make complaint and then have that person they just talked about come and tell me they were robbed and beaten by them. but that's how it is and nothing ever happened I never got my money back either. the guy turned out to be a druggie fiend and spent all of my hard earned money I needed to survive on drugs. so I learned to never trust ppl when it comes to money. and I mean nobody. the more the money the more you got to lose but ppl will rob you for 20$.
maddielovelee (2 years ago)
Manoel Pinto why would u give someone 22k and think it was a good idea? jeez that sucks that's why u gotta b smart and know when something sounds fishy. sucks that u had to lose so much to learn that lesson though.
EricEbac22 (2 years ago)
Don't forget about Jordan Belfort, who ran a pump and dump scheme at his own brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont.
YouthFreedomFighters (2 years ago)
You left out Barry Minkow.
Ricardo AM (2 years ago)
what the video doesn't tell you is that victor lustig ripped off al capone in an investment scheme!!
EricEbac22 (2 years ago)
I'm surprised Capone didn't have Lustig rubbed out.
Stefan Popescu (2 years ago)
And where on this list is Ponzi himself?
Fabio LeYva (3 years ago)
What about malachi love robinson?
Arvizo92 (3 years ago)
nope if they were really that smart none of them would do time in fact I'm sure the real top five are not in this list cuz that's how good they are
Steven Nix (3 years ago)
Free Bernie Madoff
Flintlox (3 years ago)
These are not the smartest con artists, you will never see the smartest ones on a top 5 list.
Yannick (1 year ago)
i clicked on this video only to see this comment. thank you sir.
Lee Mac (2 years ago)
+Flintlox And at number 1,oh, he's serving 150 years in jail,smart man..
AmericanNinja85 (3 years ago)
+Flintlox I don't know I don't consider the Nigerian or Indian con artist that great most people can see right through them but the reason they are not caught because of their lack of laws that protect them.
Flintlox (3 years ago)
+saringaclose Exactly my point.
JTR VLOGS (3 years ago)
John D (3 years ago)
The real crime are the CEO's of all MLMs being allowed to continue operations!
IWillObeyForHeIsMyGod (3 years ago)
So con artists get 150 years but more serious criminals get less?
ClassicExampleBand (3 years ago)
If you believe this list is accurate, I have a bridge to sell you...
Smit Joshi (3 years ago)
what about Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava
Riya (1 year ago)
Smit Joshi natwarlal
Chris Brown (3 years ago)
The #1 should be Neal Caffrey!
Hamlet telmaH (1 year ago)
abbyT (1 year ago)
Chris Brown yess
richard kent (4 years ago)
im imagining saling to a new homeland starting a new life you get there and find out its a con hahahahahahaahaha im chuckling at that
Mark Schifo (4 years ago)
What about Steven Jay Russell
Honorable Nat Turner (4 years ago)
The White Man...buff said
The guy who made this video is an IDIOT. Madoff is NOT smart. He is a moron.
one lonely Dude (4 years ago)
dude frank abaknale is the number 1 cone artist of all time...end of story
stripes (4 years ago)
Just read about Lusting, he was amazing.
Robert St. Estephe (4 years ago)
Where's Bill Clinton? He's better than any of these. Madoff was small time. Try Jamie Diamond, the real article.
+Robert St. Estephe madoff small time? he was the start of the 2008 crash lmao
NuclearPotato (4 years ago)
what about D.B Cooper? should have at least an honourable mention. who knows how much was lost from the drag created when all Boeing 727s were fitted with an aerodynamic airstair lock designed to prevent the airstairs from opening in flight as cooper did to escape with 200,000 dollars in flight. lol
Touchミ (4 years ago)
oh well your crime wasn't drastic enough to sentence you to life in prison, so we'll just give you 150 years, jolly good :)
YoTube (4 years ago)
....and where is the father of all con "Mithilesh Kumar Srivastav-The Natwarlaal"
Charles Brandy (4 years ago)
why is he called smart a 4 year old could act more intelectual?
JejeBabe (4 years ago)
150 years? Wtf thats not fair.. Let the man out
Max Anae (1 year ago)
Lol yeah let em out
He stole over 50 billion dollars
Elijah cesspoole (4 years ago)
You need to a video on the most ignorant people who are the victims of massive scams. Those are the idiots who fall prey to Farrakhan´s fairy tale cult. The nation of phony islam claims that they have 1501 spaceships built in 1929 in Japan with the sole purpose of killing the white race. Flip out by what filth waits around the corner in your neighborhood. Let´s give them a one way ticket to Liberia before they get ebola under control.  
Julien Boucher (4 years ago)
Number #1 is unknown .
sranjesuper (4 years ago)
The #1 con artist is the government as far as i'm concerned
sranjesuper (3 years ago)
+Rodonal Ducuate I agree, and the pyramid of "power" which is directly influenced by money. It is why the "elites" are evil and corrupt. Once you have unlimited amount of money and have all the materialist things, you become evil and start going against the bottom of the pyramid because all that greed makes you feel like you are more of a human, even though you are not at all and we are all equal. It's a false perception
Quick Jack (3 years ago)
+sranjesuper Money and religion are the two biggest scams this world has ever seen.
Pierre Blanchette (4 years ago)
What about Joseph Smith? His scam is still going on today as we speak!!!!
Elijah cesspoole (4 years ago)
Farrakhan´s scam eclipses all of these scams put together.
Pierre Blanchette (4 years ago)
+Shea Barnes Do you wear magic underwear?  
Shea Barnes (4 years ago)
Get your facts straight.
rachiepooos (4 years ago)
If he's serving 150 years then he's really not that smart, is he?
Prashan Dassanayake (4 years ago)
where is Jordon Belfort?
Dharmendra Yadav (4 years ago)
Name-Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava Born-1912 Death-1996/2009 Birthplace- Bangra Village,Siwan,Bihar Profession-Lawyer/Conman  Most notable events in his conman career was selling repeatedly the Taj Mahal thrice, the Red Fort twice, and the Rashtrapati Bhavan and also the Parliament House of India along with its 545 sitting members once respectively.Can you guys believe that,Someone selling these monuments in Real Life–He was a Living Legend and I will not be wrong to call him a Legend after his death.He was arrested several times and each time he just con the Police and The Police were left with no idea where he vanish.According to reports he was last seen on 24th June 1996 while he was being transported from prison to hospital for treatment.He vanished from custody that day at the New Delhi Railway station when he was being taken on a wheelchair from Kanpur to AIIMS for treatment. He was 84 of age at that time.He was a master of disguises,used more than 50 aliases and used novel ideas to cheat and was master in forging signatures of famous personalities.His cheated list include Birlas and Dhirubhai Ambani and he cheated them by posing as Social Worker,He even cheated many shop-owners lakhs of rupees,paying them by cheque or demand drafts which were usually forged.
Ni tin (5 months ago)
And riya you're my darling
Riya (1 year ago)
Dharmendra Yadav thats our natwarlal
Number 6 Aaron Pelley. Google seattles best snitch.
tobi oshin (4 years ago)
The real number one should be unknown
Leonard Nicholas (4 years ago)
Wow... he Madoff with the money!
neetrab (4 years ago)
How is Bernie # 1?  I mean, I could understand that if he didn't get caught, but he did.  Ponzi schemes never work for the person that creates it.  
neetrab (4 years ago)
Some think the best con artists are greedy preachers because they can continue doing it without jail time. 
Und34d Army (4 years ago)
what about jordan belfort
Und34d Army (4 years ago)
what about jordan belfort
Deadshot-kw (5 years ago)
where the hell is Neal Caffrey ?
Robin Banks (5 years ago)
I've just bought the Eiffel tower!! WHAT A IDIOT
bisquitnspanky (5 years ago)
Gregor MacGregor!!! I love that name!!! Should be a sit-com or a series of movie comedies. "Gregor MacGregor Runs for President" "Gregor MacGregor,  Secret Agent"  But, who should play Gregor? 
DeSurkrit (4 years ago)
Ewan McGregor
leroy jackson (5 years ago)
Nefarious Cookie (5 years ago)
2 things they can't steal; youth and hope.
kidavid (5 years ago)
Number 1 should be the US government.
Sven Lima (9 months ago)
+wishenfishen2 Interesting comment. However so far only blah blah blah. It seems that you made the research already that you tell us to do. Why don't you just share your proving information and post the links instead of talking like an expert without anything substantial? :-)
İnsan (4 years ago)
+wishen4fishen2 The American founding fathers were satanists, you know that right ? Ever heard of freemasons ? The whole country of USA is literally a satanic product.
Rigon Sierra (4 years ago)
+wishen4fishen2 These "world smartest con artists" are not even that smart. They got played by those who know how to "con" the conman. They use them as distractions so that the real con artists continue to con the world.
mnsman1 (5 years ago)
I vote for the federal reserve as the number one con/ponzi.
marco adamo (5 years ago)
How do you get upset watching you tube and expecting 100% pin point accuracy. blame yourself for watching. moron's
RDB1890 (5 years ago)
#4 sold the tower twice, also conned Al Capone.
Amine Nhari (5 years ago)
They forgot Neal Caffrey, the most charismatic con man that ever lived !!
Jeff Wright (5 years ago)
Bad list because the smartest con artists still haven't been caught
Shawn Cookson (5 years ago)
Someone bought the Brooklyn Bridge and Eiffel tower?...I think the title should be World's dumbest victims
not2tees (5 years ago)
The smartest ones are currently at large and in operation.
FilthyFridaysPodcast (5 years ago)
Yeah like the UK Government 
MercerPhotography (5 years ago)
Don't know that obama is 'the smartest' - but he has Capone & Madoff beat, and better protection from his lies & scandals than Clinton!
rey mysty (5 years ago)
I’m over the junk spammy links on here. Surely individuals need to see verification that cash is now being created with these strategies. I’ve not seen that anywhere except for the Zutore Cash System site (Google it!) Am I a millionaire? Hell no… Although I did manage to resigned from my job to attempt this web marketing thing. Does all the bullshit aggravate anyone else?
Vidoes4Less (5 years ago)
Vidoes4Less (5 years ago)
Lol, getting your sources of wiki? DaFuq
guyfroml (5 years ago)
Abagnale never impersonated a lawyer. He actually studied and passed the Louisiana Bar Exam - it was all straight and on the level. The movie actually mentions that.
geobeats (5 years ago)
True...thanks for watching!
J.A. Peleski (5 years ago)
Seems prophetic though that his name is pronounced "made-off".
Regz Zuse (5 years ago)
Actually if there is some famous movie about Victor Lustig, he would be considered as the best. But I would add Charles Ponzi on this list.
TheZyNkZ100 (5 years ago)
wtf wheres Neal Caffrey?
geobeats (5 years ago)
Thanks for all the great comments!
yxoxuxxtxuxbxe (5 years ago)
Smart con man or dumb victims... i guess smart con man search for dumb victims. The circle of life.
rhastaman1960 (5 years ago)
Well actually the 5 greatest con men you never heard of because they never got caught. This is more like the 5 largest cons of all time.
volkeea (5 years ago)
Frank W. Abagnale is by far the most interesting story if you read his Wikipedia page.

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