BEGGARS, CHEATS AND FORGERS: A History of Frauds


BEGGARS, CHEATS AND FORGERS: A History of Frauds

DAVID THOMAS    Book Number: 85595    Product format: Paperback

"The greatest cheats have hit upon some great truths about human nature". Sooner or later all of us are going to fall victim to some scam or fraud, though most are wise to the African millionaire with money to deposit or the car discount only available that day. This fascinating book uses the National Archives, where the author was Director of Technology, to expose some of the most ingenious frauds in history. He starts with the big conmen, including Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff, and also discusses their fictional counterparts such as Mr Merdle in Dickens's Little Dorrit. Ponzi schemes depend on new investors to finance the interest paid to the old investors and to conceal the fact that the capital has disappeared. Madoff, a recent example, kept his interest rates believable in order to survive 14 years without being rumbled, but in the end his returns were just too consistent to be genuine. Forgery was punishable by death in the 18th century and a colourful example was the philanthropist William Dodd, who forged a bond in the name of the Earl of Chesterfield and was hanged in spite of a high-profile campaign on his behalf by Samuel Johnson. In the 19th century fraudsters would insert pathetic notices in the personal columns of newspapers, for instance the wholly fictional "Miss M" who had been seduced by a base villain and needed money to support her child. 161pp, paperback, photos.
Published price: £12.99
Bibliophile price: £3.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9781781593271
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