BULL STREET - The art of the Con

A Brief History of Swindling

Artur Alves Reis

Reis was one of the most aggressive swindlers that ever walked the planet. He was born to a middle class family in Lisbon in the late 19th century. He believed that because of the fact that he had not had the money or upbringing to break into high society he still could create the tools that were necessary with his own hands. His first minor step in that direction was a magnificent forgery of an Oxford diploma, which therein proclaimed that he had graduated with high honors from Oxford University with a degree in engineering. Using this phony degree as a wedge, he was soon able to get a job as a government railway inspector, in the then Portuguese Colony of Angola. He was smart as well as dedicated to success and soon rose quickly up the management ladder at the railroad and before too long had been made Inspector of Public Works, technically this was the highest position in his falsely created field of engineering that he could attain while working for that employer.

Meanwhile Reis had traveled extensively throughout the colony and in spite of the fact that it was more than 10-times the size of his mother country, he became intimately aware of its geography and geology. He soon came to the belief that vast mineral riches were buried in this country and when he discovered that, there was a spare $100,000 in the railroad’s treasury, he masterminded a successful plot to takeover the company to get at the money. Once this had been accomplished, he pocketed the funds and began his mineral exploration search in earnest. Sadly, his efforts were in vain and his theft was soon uncovered. Reis was not at all remorseful over his failure but the disaster only made him more determined that this would never happen again.

 

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