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Fiction: “Good teeth, she’s learned, are like a passport: they helped you cross borders.”
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- 101 Weg zu einem besseren Rücken, Zweite Auflage (German Edition)!
- “Count” Victor Lustig was America’s greatest con man. But what was his true identity?.
- The Lichen Symbiosis!
- Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo.
Product Details. Instead of theatrical, he was always the reserved, dignified noble man. He used 47 aliases and carried dozens of fake passports.
- Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo : BOOK III.
- Fiction: “Good teeth, she’s learned, are like a passport: they helped you cross borders.”.
- A Time To Die (Victor the Assassin, #6) by Tom Wood.
He created a web of lies so thick that even today his true identity remains shrouded in mystery. The con man had always claimed to hail from a long line of aristocrats who owned European castles, yet newly discovered documents reveal more humble beginnings. Lustig claimed he stole to survive, but only from the greedy and dishonest. In the early s, as a teenager, Lustig scampered up the criminal ladder, progressing from panhandler to pickpocket, to burglar, to street hustler. First-class passengers aboard transatlantic ships became his first victims. The newly rich were easy pickings.
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Records show that he was just five-foot-seven-inches tall and weighed pounds. These capers made him a public enemy and a millionaire. On November 3, , he married a pretty Kansan named Roberta Noret. The rest he spent on gambling, and on his lover, Billie Mae Scheible, the buxom owner of a million-dollar prostitution racket. Lustig arrived in Paris in May of that year, according to the memoir of U.
Secret Service agent James Johnson.
There, Lustig commissioned stationary carrying the official French government seal. From there, pretending to be a French government official, Lustig wrote to the top people in the French scrap metal industry, inviting them to the hotel for a meeting. The tower would be sold to the highest bidder, he announced.
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His audience was captivated, and their bids flowed in. It was a scam Lustig pulled off more than once, sources said. Amazingly, the con man liked to boast of his criminal achievements, and even penned a list of rules for would-be swindlers. Be a patient listener it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups.
Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them. Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones. On December 11, , businessman Thomas Kearns invited Lustig to his Massachusetts home to discuss an investment. Such a barefaced theft was out of character for the con man, and Kearns screamed to the police.
Next, Lustig had the audacity to trick a Texas sheriff with his moneybox, and later gave him counterfeit cash, which attracted the attention of the Secret Service. Yet it was Secret Service agent Peter A. Rubano who vowed to put Lustig behind bars. Rubano was a heavy-set Italian-American with a double chin, sad eyes, and endless ambition. Rubano delighted in seeing his name in the newspapers, and he would dedicate many years to catching Lustig. Teaming up with gangland forger William Watts, Lustig created banknotes so flawless they fooled even bank tellers. It was feared that a run of fake bills this large could wobble international confidence in the dollar.
Catching the count became a cat-and-mouse game for Rubano and the Secret Service. Lustig traveled with a trunk of disguises and could transform easily into a rabbi, a priest, a bellhop or a porter. Dressed like a baggage man, he could escape any hotel in a pinch—and even take his luggage with him.
But the net was closing in. Lustig finally felt a tug on the velvet-collar of his Chesterfield coat on a New York street corner on May 10, Lustig studied the circle of men surrounding him, and noticed Agent Rubano, who led him away in handcuffs.
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