George C Parker: The conman who “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge
George C. Parker was a notorious con man who operated in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
He was known for his ability to convince people to part with their money by selling them famous landmarks and other high-value assets that he did not actually own.
Parker’s most famous scams involved ownership of the sale of the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York City landmarks.
About George C. Parker
Parker was born in 1860 in New York City, and he began his criminal career as a teenager, working as a pickpocket and a thief.
He quickly realized that more money could be made through elaborate cons and developed a reputation as a skilled and convincing con artist.
What was he famous for?
One of Parker’s most famous scams involved the Brooklyn Bridge.
He would approach unsuspecting tourists and tell them he owned the bridge and was looking for a buyer.
Parker would use various tricks and persuasive techniques to convince his marks that the bridge was for sale, and he would often demand large sums of money in exchange for ownership.
Incredibly, Parker successfully “sold ownership” of the Brooklyn Bridge multiple times. He often forged documents and used fake legal contracts to make his claims seem more legitimate. In some cases, he would even set up fake offices and use fake names to make himself appear more trustworthy.
What else did he do?
Parker’s other famous scams included selling the Statue of Liberty and Madison Square Garden.
He would use similar techniques to those he used with the Brooklyn Bridge, convincing his gullible victims he was the rightful owner and was looking to sell the property for a large sum of money.
The King of the Con Men
Parker’s scams were so successful that he became known as the “King of the Con Men.”
However, his luck eventually ran out. In 1928, he was finally caught and sentenced to life in prison for grand theft.
Even though Parker was a criminal and a fraudster, he remains an intriguing figure in American history.
His ability to convince people to part with their money speaks to a more significant issue of trust and gullibility.
Parker’s scams also serve as a reminder that not everything is as it seems and that people should be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers.
The scam was so successful it led to the phrase “I’ve got a bridge to sell you”, used to describe people who easily fall for the promises of con-artists and dubious politicians.
His legacy in American history
George C. Parker was a masterful con man who made a fortune by selling ownership of famous landmarks he did not own. His ability to persuade people to part with their money is a cautionary tale about the dangers of gullibility and the importance of scepticism. Although his scams may seem comical in hindsight, they were a serious matter at the time, and his legacy serves as a reminder to always be on guard against those who would seek to deceive us.