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Victor Lustig Lustig To America VideoThe Man that Sold the Eiffel Tower Twice - Victor Lustig
The air was as crisp as a hundred dollar bill, on April 27, A southwesterly breeze filled the bright white sails of the pleasure boats sailing across the San Francisco Bay.
Through the cabin window of a ferryboat, a man studied the horizon. His tired eyes were hooded, his dark hair swept backwards, his hands and feet locked in iron chains.
Behind a curtain of grey mist, he caught his first dreadful glimpse of Alcatraz Island. In a lengthy criminal career, his sleight-of-hand tricks and get-rich-quick schemes had rocked Jazz-Era America and the rest of the world.
In Paris, he had sold the Eiffel Tower in an audacious confidence game—not once, but twice. Finally, in , Lustig was captured after masterminding a counterfeit banknote operation so vast that it threatened to shake confidence in the American economy.
A judge in New York sentenced him to 20 years on Alcatraz. Lustig was unlike any other inmate to arrive on the Rock.
He dressed like a matinee idol, possessed a hypnotic charm, spoke five languages fluently and evaded the law like a figure from fiction.
Instead of theatrical, he was always the reserved, dignified noble man. He used 47 aliases and carried dozens of fake passports.
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. 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.
While both of his partners were responsible for the bills to be printed, Lustig was assigned with the job for it being circulated and to ensure the secrecy regarding both, production and the flow of the counterfeit money.
Their plan was successful and they managed to circulate the fake money, nearing thousands of dollars for around 5 years, but eventually, it drew the attention of the federal agents after the money started affecting the U.
Lustig had one other weakness, and it was his passion for the ladies. But Lustig had one last trick under his sleeves to pull off. Which he used just a day before his trial.
He played being sick and managed to escape from the medical wing of the detention center in New York. Nearly after a month, he was finally caught in Pittsburgh.
Lustig pleaded guilty of his crimes and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison plus 5 years for the escape. He was sent to the notorious Alcatraz Prison in California.
After serving 12 years in prison, Lustig came down with a bad case of pneumonia, and died 2 years later. William J. When we think of a serial killer, the first thing that comes to our mind is the body count and….
We often heard survival stories of people from around the world, sometimes these stories are so intriguing that makes us….
Well to answer that we have to go back in…. Test them often. Stare them straight in the eyes. You know better. A lesson in confidence is a lesson in confidence.
Some people use it for good, others for evil. Learning to spot tricksters and swindlers by paying close attention to behavior will always give you a leg up on people.
By All That's Interesting. Share Tweet Email. Report a bad ad experience. Referred to as the "money box" or "Rumanian Box", the scam involved a specially designed mahogany box, roughly the size of a steamer trunk.
The box's design featured two small slots designed to take in bills and the paper to "print" the duplicate on, and a compartment containing a false arrangement of levers and mechanisms that had to be "operated" to make the duplicates.
In order to convince the mark it truly worked, Lustig would ask them to give him a specific denomination of bill e. When it had, Lustig would take the mark with him to a bank to authenticate the note.
In reality, the mark would be unaware of the fact that Lustig had concealed a genuine note within the device; the choice of denomination was influenced by what he put into the box beforehand.
Once the mark was convinced, Lustig would refuse to sell them the box until they offered him a high price for it. Before it was sold, Lustig would pack the box with additional genuine notes, to buy him time to make a clean escape, before his mark realised they had been conned.
One of Lustig's most infamous uses of the device was upon a Texas sheriff, whom he convinced to buy it for thousands of dollars.
Upon realising he had been tricked, the sheriff pursued Lustig to Chicago. Upon meeting him again, the sheriff was conned into believing that he was not operating the device correctly, and was handed a large sum of cash as compensation, unaware that the money was counterfeit.