4. George Parker Also Sold the Met Museum, Madison Square Garden & Grant’s Tomb
George Parker is most famous for selling the Brooklyn Bridge, but those are not the only landmarks he conned people into buying. Others include the original Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Grant’s Tomb. His Grant’s Tomb scheme is probably his most outlandish one, since he pretended to be the son of former general and president Ulysses Grant in order to sell it.
Additionally, Parker did extensive preparation for his scams which is probably why he was able to sell these New York City landmarks over and over again for about 30 years. He even went as far as to set up fake offices and documents to prove his “legal”ownership of the buildings and structures.
Parker targeted mainly immigrants coming in through Ellis Island who were very wealthy. Since America was seen as the land of opportunity, the poor victims of his scams did not see it coming. Beyond immigrants, Parker also targeted tourists, another relatively gullible group of people who were excited to purchase parts of New York City that Parker marketed as souvenirs.