BSV STORY: Today I will tell you the story of how the "Victor Lustig" scammer sold the Eiffel Tower twice
Victor was born in 1890 in the present Czech Republic, like every swindler he was a kind and charismatic person but not only that, also from a young age he studied the habits and customs of people to be able to lie to them better; at 20 years old he was already fluent in several languages.
At 30 he became the most wanted man in the world. But let's see how his story begins:
Lustig was the son of peasants and since childhood he began his criminal life with small robberies.
Little by little, he perfected the technique and in his spare time practiced card tricks to steal people, he developed a skill that years later would help him and an ability to read people and know their weaknesses, ambitions, fears, etc.
His first scams occurred on the ships from Paris to New York.
And he always claimed that he was directing his deceptions to people who had a lot of money and never to the working class.
His first known big scam was "The Romanian Money Machine", a device that supposedly printed money.
Victor met with the possible victims and asked for a $ 100 bill, the machine supposedly copied the bill and in 6 hours gave them another one.
He sold several machines for more than 30 thousand dollars, but what his victims knew us, is that Victor put 3 real bills before starting.
His demo started and one came out, he sold the machine and after 2 tickets and 12 hours, only white paper came out but he had already fled.
He was so good that he dared to swindle one of the most feared men of his time, Al Capone himself.
Victor met him and invited him to a business, asked him for 50 thousand dollars and Capone gave them to him saying "God help you if he deceives me."
Victor fled with the money and kept it hidden for several months, until he returned to confront Capone, who had already given up on the money.
Victor told him that the business had not gone out but he, being a man of his word, did not return until he had his money and gave it to him.
Capone didn't know about Victor's fame, much less that his own money was being returned to him.
Pleased, he gave Lustig $ 5,000 and said that if the business had not gone well he understood it, but that he was glad to know that he met an honest man.
That day Victor managed to win $ 5,000 but more importantly, the title of friend and therefore protected by Al Capone. (That would help him years later)
But what made him a legend was none of those scams, it was the sale of the Eiffel Tower
Just as they read it, and also sold it 2 times!
One afternoon, Victor reading the newspaper found out that the government that had been coming out of the 1st war had problems maintaining the tower.
Even painting it represented a huge expense so he came up with the master scam, he asked a forger to copy documents.
From the government, he gathered businessmen at the luxurious Crillon Hotel and told them that he was deputy director of the post and telegraph ministry.
Remember that the Eiffel Tower was not permanently planned, it could be said that the world wars saved it from being dismantled...
Another day I tell you the story of the Eiffel Tower, but the point is that the idea was not so farfetched and the businessmen believed him.
Lustig told them that the sale was secret and then he took them for a walk (in a limo he had rented earlier) and there he chose his victim
The chosen one was Andre Poisson, a man who wanted to enter the elite of the business world in Paris, but his wife suspected the deal.
Victor organized another meeting with the couple and told them that the tender had not been decided yet, that he also needed to be motivated because as an official he did not earn much, so Poisson was sure that he was a corrupt official.
Not only did he pay for the tower, he also bribed him to win the alleged tender. You can imagine the surprise when Poisson went for his tower.
Surprisingly nothing happened because Poisson never denounced him for fear of going down in history as the fool who bought the Eiffel Tower.
So time later, Victor Lustig repeated the scam and this time he was reported, but he managed to flee to the United States.
Finally there he was arrested in 1935 because his girlfriend was jealous of another girl with whom she thought that Victor was having an affair ...
The woman charged him with the police in an anonymous call, and Victor was arrested in possession of plaques for making fake money.
Again his legend was present and with tricks he managed to escapein prison before trial, although almost a month later he was captured
He was sentenced to 20 years in Alcatraz, the same place where his friend Capone was detained, so it did not go so badly.
He died in pneumonia in 1947, and while they were filling out the death certificate, his friends were asked if they knew about Victor's profession.
They all turned to see each other, started laughing and said "Salesman" at the same time.
And indeed so says his death certificate 😅