Gregor MacGregor: The Most Successful Conman in History


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Charles Ponzi. Bernie Madoff. Billy “Fyre Festival” McFarland. History is littered with the misdeeds of conmen who pulled the wool over the public’s eyes and made a killing. Some, like Frank Abagnale - the model for Leonardo Dicaprio’s character in Catch Me if You Can - pulled off cons so big they’ve become legendary. But not even Abagnale could compete with our subject today. Gregor MacGregor was many things: soldier, pirate, pathological liar. He was also the man who pulled off the biggest con in history. In 1821, MacGregor arrived in London with tall tales of a new Latin American nation where fortunes could be made. Using his deadly charm, MacGregor managed to not only swindle banks, investors, and ordinary people out of the 19th Century equivalent of billions of pounds, he indulged in fabrications on such a colossal scale that even Europe’s governments were fooled. But how did this Scottish nobody create a con so big it swallowed an entire continent? Join us as we explore the life of Gregor MacGregor, the most amoral adventurer to ever live. Birth of a Conman When he came to tell the story of his birth many years later, Gregor MacGregor would never let two details remain the same.