And we thought the dudes from Enron were a piece of work!!
Andrew Dexter, Jr. 'bought' (read swiped) real estate property left behind by Tory sympathizers heading back to England after the Revolutionary War. Then he flipped them - using banks that were printing paper money for the first time. It is a tale of a confidence man and capitalism versus the Puritans and conservatism set in New England. Dexter parlayed his pyramid schemes into the 7 story 'skyscraper' (this was the 1800s, remember?) known as the Exchange Coffee House in Boston. Just as the building was about to open, the pyramid collapsed and Dexter escaped to Canada.
This is a fascinating look at the first banking scandal in the infant USA.