Conspiracy to Commit 'Conspiracy' Conspiracy.
July 6, 2012 2:51 PM   Subscribe

'You Have a Smart Face': the $120 Million Wire Transfer, the Octopus, the Silencer, and the Corpse in the Alley. An infamous fake trader fakes his own death, gets caught, is released, gets desperate, and is offered entrance into an apparent world of secret government, secret agents, and secret accounts.

posted by darth_tedious (16 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
cliffs notes version: "con man gets conned".
posted by mrbill at 3:26 PM on July 6, 2012

I wonder if many con men are not themselves ideal marks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:33 PM on July 6, 2012

I'd watch this movie.
posted by justkevin at 3:35 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Statham as Nichols?
posted by aramaic at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2012

This whole thing reads like a bad acid trip or a psychotic break.

I'd like to think that I'm immune to this kind of con because I've heard a few too many conspiracy theories, but more likely I'm immune because I have roughly 1/1,000,000 that amount money in the bank.
posted by poe at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2012

The 250 billion dollar bond does sound ridiculous. But strange things have happened in international finance before:
On orders from Washington, Lansdale supervised the recovery of several Golden Lily vaults, inventoried the bullion, and had it trucked to warehouses at the US Naval base at Subic Bay or the Air Force base at Clark Field. According to the Seagraves, two members of Stimson’s staff, together with financial experts from the newly formed CIA, instructed Santa Romana in how to deposit the gold in 176 reliable banks in 42 different countries. These deposits were made in his own name or in one of his numerous aliases in order to keep the identity of the true owners secret. Once the gold was in their vaults, the banks would issue certificates that are even more negotiable than money, being backed by gold itself. With this seemingly inexhaustible source of cash, the CIA set up slush funds to influence politics in Japan, Greece, Italy, Britain and many other places around the world. For example, money from what was called the ‘M-Fund’ (named after Major-General William Marquat of MacArthur’s staff) was secretly employed to pay for Japan’s initial rearmament after the outbreak of the Korean War, since the Japanese Diet itself refused to appropriate money for the purpose. The various uses to which these funds were put over the years, among them helping to finance the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries in their attacks on the elected government in Managua (the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan Presidency), would require another volume. Suffice it to say that virtually everyone known to have been involved with the secret CIA slush funds derived from Yamashita’s gold has had their career ruined.
I bet you're thinking "wuwei, that's some crazy conspiracy theory nonsense written by a crank on a ported geocities website."

If by "crazy conspiracy theory website" you were thinking of The London Review of Books, then you'd be right. Life is strange.
posted by wuwei at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2012 [15 favorites]

I bet you're thinking "wuwei, that's some crazy conspiracy theory nonsense written by a crank probably a Neal Stephenson novel
posted by hattifattener at 4:34 PM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

Uh, wuwei, that story deserves a post of its own.

posted by notyou at 5:44 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Love this kind of post... fascinating read....
posted by ph00dz at 6:23 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I will be naming my first album "More Negotiable than Money", just as soon as I acquire some musical talent.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:34 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, after RTFAing, I'm unclear where/when the conmen actually laid their hands on Israel's dough.

What'd I miss?
posted by notyou at 7:25 PM on July 6, 2012

i believe buying the author's forthcoing book may possibly answer your question.
posted by mwhybark at 8:43 PM on July 6, 2012

>Also, after RTFAing, I'm unclear where/when the conmen actually laid their hands on Israel's dough.

According to the article, Sam Israel wired the $120 million just after the gunplay in the alley.

Incidentally, Robert Booth Nichols was reported dead and then swiftly cremated in 2009.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:54 PM on July 6, 2012

Yeah but he had previously wired $150M to Europe and Nichols et al...
posted by notyou at 9:16 PM on July 6, 2012

Somehow, I immediately recalled this as the "suicide is painless" guy.

As I mentioned on the earlier thread today, it's fascinating to see how lumpy an actual con artist can be. That "heart trouble" trick? He fell for a pure cold reading like that? Of course a middle-aged guy in finance has had heart trouble! And yet he'd already built his own house of cards by then --
posted by Countess Elena at 9:22 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The sales guy at the dress factory I used to do Accounts Receivable for (high end mother of the bride, bridal: Saks, Bergdorf, Neiman's, etc) used to pester the controller about this or that great deal he wanted to move on. Deals for phone service, or whatever, all obviously terrible.

I asked the controller, who was a very wise man, about it one day. "I mean he's a sales guy, too. Why can't he see through the pitch?"

"He believes it."

"But all of them?"

"Even his own. He has to."
posted by notyou at 10:38 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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