Here's a good rule of thumb for all potential con men out there: If the profession has the word "surgeon" in the job title, holy shit please please don't attempt to fake it. There are no winners in that situation. Take Carlos Guzmangarza, who somehow managed to fool several San Francisco residents into believing that he was a legitimate cosmetic surgery assistant, despite having literally no idea what he was doing.
"Nurse, the slice-y, poke-y knife-thing please."
While cosmetic surgery is one of those things you wouldn't think you'd want to cut corners on, Guzmangarza's low, low prices did manage to attract clients to his shady operation. One such patient, who prefers to remain anonymous for reasons you'll understand in a moment, contacted Guzmangarza seeking liposuction. After setting up an appointment, Guzmangarza personally drove to her house and picked her up, because it's completely normal that a medical professional who's about to charge you $3,000 acts as your chauffeur beforehand.
Contrary to what he may say, if your doctor asks to borrow money for gas to get to his clinic, he is not "totally good for it."
At Guzmangarza's makeshift clinic, the patient inquired where the rest of the staff was. Guzmangarza cheerfully informed the poor lady that she would be his assistant for the day, slapped an IV drip into her hand, and presumably took a moment to admire the growing terror in her eyes. As he was messily draining six pounds of fat from her midsection while she was under local anesthesia and completely conscious, he did what any self-respecting doctor could do in such a situation: He lit up a cigar mid-procedure and sat back to count all his givable fucks. Seeing as he still had far too many, he later dropped by the recovering patient's house, carrying the great big bag of fat he had removed from her. Then he flushed it down her toilet. Hey, gotta put that fat somewhere.
Try explaining that clog to the Roto-Rooter guy.
Amazingly, the patient was still cool with this, and in fact sent her daughter to Guzmangarza to receive a mysterious acne treatment injection (the nature of which is unknown, and we're too scared to speculate). It was not until the liposuction wound became infected that a real doctor was brought in the game and Guzmangarza's hack ass was promptly thrown into jail.
The people on the list above are, by their very nature, opportunists and con artists -- they're all seeing cash, attention, or cheap thrills. However, the man who went by the name Sergeant Bill played a different game altogether.
No, but close.
Arriving in the small Missouri town of Gerald in early 2008, Sergeant Bill identified himself as a DEA agent on a mission to help the town's five-strong police force spin-kick the area's (surprisingly sizable) drug problem in the meth-nads. And boy, did the man know how to kick: During the next five months, he took part in 17 meth raids. He single-handedly made several arrests, paying little attention to stuff like "warrants" and "procedure," because everyone knows DEA agents don't need that shit. And sure enough, he cleaned up the goddamn town.
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You'd think a city full of meth heads would already be pretty clean. Give those guys a sponge and they can go.
It was only when a curious reporter from the local newspaper ran a background check that the real facts began to emerge. It turned out that Bill hadn't arrived from Washington, DC, as he initially claimed, but Washington, Missouri -- some 30 miles down the road. Oh, and also, he was actually a former convict with huge debts. For some unexplained reason, he had just decided to pimp himself and his ride into full DEA-field-agent mode, drive to a neighboring town, and start purging meth labs, like some kind of reverse Walter White.
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Although we imagine the police might have had some stricter uniform standards.
The inevitable arrest of Sergeant Bill and the shitstorm that followed resulted in three of the town's five police officers losing their jobs, and the mayor got laughed out of office. Several multimillion-dollar lawsuits have since been filed, including one from an elderly woman who was wrongly sent to a psychiatric facility for refusing to cooperate with the fake agent.
However, it was not all doom and gloom. Remember what we said about the town's drug problem? It wasn't just a case of a couple of coke heads and the occasional meth lab. Until Sergeant Bill came around, Gerald was known as one of the "meth capitals of the United States." In just five months, the fake DEA agent managed to tame that shit -- in fact, some speculate several of the town's police officers knew that their hero wasn't legit, but they kept quiet because he was just so damn good at what he did. Hell, they probably should have just hired the dude.
If you were planning on evading politics by burying yourself in holiday flicks, guess what? You can't! In our latest podcast, Jack O'Brien and David Wong complain like a bunch of old ladies about how every Christmas movie is actually just a load of political garbage. You can download it here and subscribe to it on iTunes here.
Related Reading: We all love a good con. Click here to learn how Benny Hinn made millions slapping old people in the face and pretending to heal them. If you prefer your con artists have some redeeming quality, read about Raoul Wallenberg, who conned the Nazis out of killing tens of thousands of Jews. Still need more? Read about these crazy lies that fooled the whole world.