The Current

'Empire of Deception' tells story of master swindler Leo Koretz

We hear the story of Leo Koretz, the Ponzi scheme artist who was so good, you've likely never heard of him — despite the fact that he finished out his swindling days right here in Canada.
"Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation" tells the story of con man extraordinaire Leo Koretz. (Harper Canada)

The name of Charles Ponzi lives on in infamy all these years later — whenever a villain with the chutzpah to pull off his dastardly scheme is exposed.

Ponzi is credited with the pyramid ploy of defrauding investors, but in a suitably ironic historical twist, credit may not be being given where it's due.

In the early 1900s — before Ponzi — there lived a con man named Leo Koretz. He too bilked investors out of millions, by selling investments that were wholly fictitious.

It was a career in swindling that started in Chicago, but had its final chapters in Nova Scotia. His fascinating story is finally being told in a new book by a professor of journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax. 

Dean Jobb is the author of Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation.  

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.

Have you ever been caught up in a similar scheme? Let us know.

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