Sunday, October 18, 2009


Whatever Entrepreneurs Can Dream Up...

...con-men have thought of first.

Wandering through Old Bailey records, I found an 1889 investor scam worthy of a dot-com:

I live at 3, Maidment Road, Burdett Road, Bow—four years ago Krantz called on my father, a schoolmaster, and stayed to tea—that was the first introduction—he was not a man of means then—on 7th September this year I went with my father to an office in Leaden hall Buildings, where I saw him—he took us into a private office, and explained a scheme he had for buying a building near the Mansion House for the purpose of displaying advertisements, which were to continually revolve on a sheet inside the building; as I understood—by the side of it was to be a free correspondence company, where anybody could write a letter free—there were also to be tables for eating purposes, with an invention by Krantz by which you touched a knob, and a dinner would appear under a desk—you touched different knobs for different dishes—this was all under Bogaerts Free Correspondence Company—I went to Leadenhall Buildings every morning—I saw Bogaerts there—he and Krantz had meetings and conferences there, sometimes for many hours, in another room—he mentioned to me the Bogaerts Reunited Developing Company, to assist other people in bringing forward their patents—he said the capital was £3,000, which was subscribed abroad, and that the company was very vast in its extent...
For anticipating ad-supported e-mail by over a century, Mssrs. Henri Boegaerts and Bruno Krantz were made guests of Her Majesty and awarded twelve months hard labor.

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