The con man is the classic anti-hero of films and folk tales around the world. Always on the cusp of being caught, only his insurmountable cunning keeps the sly rogue out of harm's way. He may not ever make it big; but he'll never stop hustling just enough to get by.
On the other hand, there are also lazy idiots who go after insane sums of money with stunningly dumbass scams. While way less lovable, they apparently do quite a bit better.
Losing a Quarter Billion Dollars On a "Nigerian Prince" Scam
By now, everybody on the Internet is familiar with the "419 Nigerian Prince scam"--a "Prince" in Nigeria claims he has millions of dollars hidden away in some mysteriously locked account that may or may not be guarded by a fearsome dragon that only one of pure blood can open. The good news is he will gladly share it with you, and the even better news is that you only have to send him a few thousand dollars to get in on the action. Even though it's now become the Internet equivalent of the old cliche "bridge in Brooklyn" scam, occasionally a little old lady who keeps her money under her cat's mattress does get taken in and loses a few thousand dollars. That doesn't surprise us.
What does surprise us is when somebody like Nelson Sakaguchi falls for it. You see, Sakaguchi was director of the Bank Noreste, in charge of--you cannot make this shit up--its overseas accounts. While Sakaguchi presumably came armed with a vast array of knowledge from a lifelong career in bank management, he was no match for the Nigerians who probably came armed with a fax machine from a foreclosed-on Staples, some second-hand Hypercolor sweaters and a command of the English language only rivaled by Japanese t-shirts run through Babelfish a few times.
The spammers sent Sakaguchi an invitation from the Nigerian government to get in on a plan to build an airport, because the usual bag-with-money-sign was considered played out that season. Sakaguchi agreed to a meeting and met with a man who introduced himself as the director of the Bank of Nigeria. How did he fool a sharp-eyed real life bank director? He had a business card! That's seriously it. He promptly wired them $4 million dollars. We don't know off hand what the exchange rate is in Nigeria, but we're pretty sure that's enough money to buy the entire country and staff it with Diamond-encrusted whore robots.