No matter how wild and hilarious it sounds, Victor Lusting, one of the finest con men of history sold Eiffel Tower almost twice!
In order to sell the Eiffel Tower, Lustig tried to convince the biggest scrap metal dealers of Paris that he was the government director responsible for selling off the Eiffel Tower's scrap metal. To make the proper impression, Lusting rented limousines and gave tours to the landmark. He pretended like it's not only a serious government business but also he is the man who could control the outcome of a bid.
One dealer was convinced and paid him $20,000 in cash and additional $50000 to make sure his was the winning bid. Once Lustig got the money, he fled to Austria and kept low fearing the consequences if the story broke. But guess what, the dealer was too embarrassed to report to any authority!
Lustig got this unique scamming idea when he read an article how the Eiffel Tower was rusting and its high cost of repair and maintenance. In addition, there was a whisper among the dwellers of Paris that the tower should be taken down since it's supposed to stand for only 20 years. All these fueled this exceptional scamming idea in Lustig's mind.
Lustig later returned to Paris and gave it another try, but was worried that one of the scrap dealers had notified the police. Then he fled to USA and remained free until FBI caught him in May 1935 from Broadway from New York's Upper West side.