Books on Crooks

July 27, 2009 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

Before there was Bernie Madoff, there was Charles Ponzi, the infamous swindler for whom the crime of bilking investors is named. The Lloyd Sealy Library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice recently acquired the original and never published manuscript, The Ponzi Story, which recalls the life of Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who stole $10 million from investors during the 1920s. Written by William H. McMasters, Ponzi’s personal publicist-turned-journalist, who helped break the Ponzi story, the manuscript is part of a collection of 2,200 books, manuscripts and pamphlets penned about hoaxes, con games and the criminals perpetrating them. “I don’t know of any other collection that has the depth and breadth on frauds and swindlers,” said Professor Larry E. Sullivan, John Jay’s associate dean and chief librarian, of the recently acquired collection, which can be seen by appointment. “We have just about every swindler and con (artist), going back to the 16th century.”
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