Fun

5 Con Artists Who Ended Up Saving The World


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About a year before the Ebola outbreak, Pane persuaded a dead cleanup specialist’s grieving sister into believing they had been close friends. He then talked her into selling him her brother’s truck, permits, and company. After that, he stole the guy’s identity, claiming all of his experience in hazmat work, including the 2001 anthrax cleanup.

Here’s the extra twist: Pane turned out to be pretty good at cleaning up after Ebola outbreaks. After Buzzfeed broke the story, the NY Department of Health apologized, but said they had “vigorously reviewed all of [Pane’s] cleanup work, and determined it was successfully performed.” They promised an investigation, but it apparently didn’t go anywhere, and Pane was still working in cleanup as of 2015 … when he was accused of illegally paying coroner employees to tip him off about crime scenes that might need cleaning.

Oh Sal, never change!

Wait, on second thought, do change immediately. Change everything.

1

A Serial Conman Posing As A Monk Founded A Legitimate University

Over the course of his life, Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. pretended to be a doctor of psychology, a law student, a zoology graduate, a teacher, an assistant warden at a Texas prison, and many other people, none of whom shared his birth name. We’ve covered the time he successfully bluffed his way through several surgeries while posing as a Royal Canadian Navy surgeon, but that wasn’t his greatest accomplishment. This was:


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Walsh University“Ha ha, you got Punk’d! Here’s an actual diploma.”

While posing as “Brother John Payne of the Christian Brothers of Instruction,” Demara came up with an idea to found a college that would help raise the profile of the religious order. Demara succeeded in getting the school chartered by the state, and LeMennais College opened in 1951 … but its founder didn’t last long there. He threw a fit because he wasn’t named chancellor of the college, and more importantly, he thought “LeMennais” was a stupid name for an institution. The remaining brothers apparently agreed with that much at least, since they later renamed LeMannais College to Walsh College, and eventually Walsh University.

Today, Walsh University still provides spiritually focused education to thousands of students who probably have no idea their beloved alma mater was founded by a conman, since they don’t even mention him on their website.

Abraham is your friendly Mexican writer. He doesn’t like to brag, and he also got named top writer 2018 on Quora. You can follow him there here, say hi to him on Twitter here, or check his terrible drawings here.

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For more, check out The 7 Most Heroic Con Artists Of All Time and 6 People Who Turned A Life Of Crime Into Legitimate Careers.

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