Eiffel Tower ScamHere is the story of the man who was audacious enough to sell the Eiffel Tower.
Post World War I, Eiffel Tower was in a poor state of repair and the cost of maintenance was huge. Also, when the tower was built it was not intended to be kept permanent and was to be moved elsewhere after 20 years.
Victor Lustig, who was posing himself as an agent of Ministry of Post and Telegraphy forged a few government documents and called up a confidential meeting with a few scrap metal dealers at Hotel de Crillon, one of the most prestigious hotels in Paris. He told the dealers that the maintenance of the tower was no longer affordable and the tower was going to be scrapped for metal and since it was obvious that the news would provoke public outcry, the meeting had to be kept confidential. Lustig even took the dealers on a limo trip to inspect the poor state of the tower for themselves. The dealers were asked to make sealed bids, though Lustig had already chosen André Poisson, who seemed gullible, insecure and keen to make a name for himself. To be more convincing, Lustig singled out Poisson and told him that if he was willing to bribe him, he could make him win the bid. Ultimately Lustig not only received the 250,000 francs that Poisson offered, but also a huge bribe from him.
After that, Lustig and his accomplice, Dan Collins, quickly escaped to Austria with the cash. Presumably Poisson was too embarrassed to admit what just happened and to go to the police.
Not being satisfied with that, Lustig returned to Paris after some time, and tried to pull the same stunt once again on a few other scrap dealers. But this time, the chosen victim was suspicious and went to the police. Lustig managed to escape anyway.