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10 Famous Fraudsters, Con Artists And Scammers

** FILE ** In this Jan. 20, 1935, file photo, Charles Ponzi is shown in the garden of his home in Rome, Italy, after being de
** FILE ** In this Jan. 20, 1935, file photo, Charles Ponzi is shown in the garden of his home in Rome, Italy, after being deported from the United States. Ponzi was an Italian immigrant who cheated investors in Boston out of about $10 million in 1919 and 1920 in a short-lived scheme involving the use of outdated exchange rates for European currency. Ponzi was convicted of mail fraud in 1920 and served time in prison before being deported to Italy in 1934. (AP Photo, File)

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines "fraud" as the "intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right."

But those who have engaged in fraud successfully probably would say there's a great deal more to it than that. Capable con artists combine psychology and magic to identify the right mark, devise the best deception and, most important, gain their victim's confidence (that, after all, is the origin of the term).

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