There are a lot of unique and interesting ways to con people out of money. Convincing people that you have connections to important and influential people isn't paticularly interesting, but it'll get the job done.
Earlier this year, a man in Ontario was convicted of three counts of fraud when he cheated people out of over a hundred thousand dollars by forging documents, pretending to be a wealthy doctor, and claiming to be in contact and conducting deals with North America's elite. Here is a list of the people he said he had conducted deals with or was in close contact to:
The Prime Minister of Canada;
The former Premier of Ontario;
The senior members of the Tory political party;
The President of the United States;
The Mayor of Mississauga;
the Mayor of New York;
Paul Allen - the co-founder of Microsoft;
The founder of Google - Larry Page;
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys; and
The founder of Biovail – Eugene Melnyk
The last name might stick out to you. Yes, among various political leaders and founders of some of the biggest companies in the world, this man decided to say he knew Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. And hey, why not? If this sucker's impressed with you knowing Barack Obama and Larry Page, wait until he hears about how you've orchestrated deals with the guy who pays Jim O'Brien's salary!
You can read the tragic-yet-hilarious decision here -- tragic in the sense that ordinary people were swindled out of large quantities of money, but hilarious because the man's lies are entirely outrageous. As an example, in order to convince people that he's a doctor, the fraudster sets up an email with "dr" at the front of it. When questioned about it in court, he insisted that it was a typo, and it was supposed to be "dir", as in "director" of a company, but he simply never got around to changing it.
It's also important to note, of course, that there was no evidence to suggest that Eugene Melnyk actually knew the accused in the case, and in fact, the judge found that the accused had lied about his business connections (along with pretty much everything else). When Melnyk was informed of the man using his name to deceive people, he was likely pretty ticked off with the whole thing.
Yet at the same time, I can't help but wonder if he was secretly proud, because let's face it -- if there's any true indication that you've really made it in this world other than a huge stack of money, it's probably that people are pretending to know you in order to amass their own stack of money.