Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering, . . .

William Thompson (confidence man) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "William Thompson was an American criminal whose deceptions caused the term 'confidence man' to be coined.

Operating in New York City in the late 1840s, a gently-dressed Thompson would approach an upper-class mark, pretending they knew each other, and begin a brief conversation. After initially gaining the mark's trust, Thompson would ask 'Have you confidence in me to trust me with your watch until tomorrow?' Upon taking the watch (or, occasionally, money), Thompson would depart, never to be seen again.[1]

Thompson was arrested and brought to trial in 1849, in a case that made newspaper headlines across the country. The New York Herald, recalling his explicit appeals to the victim's 'confidence,' dubbed him the 'confidence man."

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