Dear Facebook …

Dear Facebook,

I’ve been meaning to write you for a while about the large number of beautiful young women who want to “friend” me on Facebook. I get these requests on a regular basis. The ladies who send them seem fond of using pin-up glam photos in their profiles. Otherwise, their profiles are oddly barren of background details or notices about other posts. Stranger yet, when I don’t respond, these requests seem to vanish after a day or two.

While it might seem flattering so many attractive young women want to befriend a 50 year-old crime writer, I’m starting to suspect a ruse.

You see, I wrote a book called The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts and Swindles in American History that talks about this very thing.

Back in 2011, University of North Carolina physics professor Paul Frampton made an unusual match on an online dating site. Frampton, in his 60s, received an invite from a 32 year-old Bolivian bikini model named Denise.

Communication ensued between the smitten Frampton and the luscious model. Denise told Frampton she wanted a mature man in her life. Men her age only cared about her body (prominently displayed in her profile pictures).

Frampton agreed to visit Denise in Bolivia. So excited was he, Frampton didn’t even bother talking to his sweetie over the phone in advance of his trip.

Frampton arrived in Bolivia to discover Denise had left for a last-minute model shoot in Belgium. She left an apologetic note asking him to meet her there, and bring a suitcase she foolishly left behind. Frampton obliged and was promptly busted when customs officials discovered two kilos of cocaine in the suitcase. He served several months in an awful prison and no longer works for the University of North Carolina.

It’s safe to say he was set up by an international drug gang.

Frampton wrote about his experiences in a book you can buy here.

Now, Facebook, I’m not suggesting there’s any similar malarkey going on with all these invites I keep getting from lovely young women with come-hither profile photos.

Just don’t expect me to travel anywhere soon and pick up any suitcases.

The Big Con is available through publisher ABC-CLIO, Amazon and Barnes and Noble among other outlets.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto writer and author of several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website at www.natehendley.com offers more details about his professional and personal background).

Interview about Dutch Schultz for Hudson Valley Legends Podcast

By Nate Hendley

Dutch Schultz

I was interviewed for the podcast Hudson Valley Legends (which focuses on New York state lore) about NYC gangster Dutch Schultz, subject of one of books. The podcast went live March 6, 2017.

Here’s a link to the podcast: http://hvlegends.libsyn.com/ep-11-dutch-schultz-and-his-lost-treasure

Dutch Schultz (real-name Arthur Flegenheimer) was a highly eccentric, highly successful Jewish-American gangster. He rose to prominence peddling awful bootleg beer during Prohibition in the 1920s. His product was lousy but his sales methods were persuasive (when faced with a stubborn speakeasy manager, Schultz had the man kidnapped, hung by his thumbs from a meat-hook and tortured).

If beer made Schultz rich and powerful, it was ‘numbers’ that pushed him into the criminal stratosphere. The numbers racket was simply an illegal lottery. People bet on a three-digit combination, from 000 to 999. The gangsters who ran the racket selected winning digits on the basis of objective statistics, such as sports scores. Anyone who had bet on the winning numbers received a small cash payment. He also moved into drug trafficking, prostitution and labour extortion.

For all his success, Schultz did not last long at the top of the underworld.

Read my book to find out why.

Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, is available through Amazon.ca (Canada) Amazon.com (United States), Chapter’s, Barnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers.

The story of Dutch Schultz is also detailed in my book, American Gangsters: Then and Now which is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and publisher ABC-CLIO.

College & Research Libraries Magazine Reviews “The Big Con”

By Nate Hendley

the-big-con-cover

“[A] good overview and resource for public and academic libraries aimed at all levels of beginning students. Summing Up: Recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate students; general readers.”—Choice magazine, Association of College & Research Libraries.

The Association of College & Research Libraries is a division of the American Library Association . Choice magazine can be read here.

As published by ABC-CLIO, The Big Con covers everything from financial fraud to online scams, dubious medical remedies and famous con artists. Profiled are the likes of Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi (from whose name we get the expression “Ponzi Scheme”), professional hoaxer Alan Abel and other colourful folks. I explore everything from Internet scams to “para-abnormal” fraud (learn how the Fox Sisters became superstars on the supernatural scene by secretly cracking their knuckles), to funeral fraud, malware, psychic surgery and “short” and “big” cons alike.

The Big Con is available through publisher ABC-CLIO, Amazon and Barnes and Noble among other outlets.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto writer and author of several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website at http://www.natehendley.com offers more details about his professional and personal background).

Big Con Author Does Radio Interview

nate-big-con-2016

By Nate Hendley

On September 21, 2016, I did a radio interview with Talk Radio Europe about my latest book, The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts and Swindles in American History.

I had a great chat (it was quite insightful being the interviewee for a change). I talked about Joseph Weil (aka “The Yellow Kid”–a notorious old-school con man), the origins of the term “confidence man”, the Nigerian email scam (a modern version of the Spanish Prisoner letter scam), con artists portrayed in movies, etc. Take a listen. The interview was a lot of fun.

Here’s a link to an MP3 file of the interview: http://www.talkradioeurope.com/clients/nhendley.mp3

As published by ABC-CLIO, The Big Con covers everything from financial fraud to online scams, dubious medical remedies and famous con artists. Profiled are the likes of Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi (from whose name we get the expression “Ponzi Scheme”), professional hoaxer Alan Abel and other colourful folks. I explore everything from Internet scams to “para-abnormal” fraud (learn how the Fox Sisters became superstars on the supernatural scene by secretly cracking their knuckles), to funeral fraud, malware, psychic surgery and “short” and “big” cons alike.

The Big Con is available through publisher ABC-CLIO, Amazon and Barnes and Noble among other outlets.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto writer and author of several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website at www.natehendley.com offers more details about his professional and personal background).

The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts and Swindles in American History

the-big-con-cover

By Nate Hendley

I am very pleased to announce the upcoming publication of my latest book, The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts and Swindles in American History.

As published by ABC-CLIO, The Big Con covers everything from financial fraud to online scams, dubious medical remedies and famous con artists. Profiled are the likes of Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi (from whose name we get the expression “Ponzi Scheme”), “The Yellow Kid” and other miscreants. I explore everything from “The Nigerian Prince Letter” (infamous email scam based on a Victorian-era letter-based fraud called “The Spanish Prisoner”), “para-abnormal” fraud (learn how the Fox Sisters became superstars on the supernatural scene by secretly cracking their knuckles), to funeral fraud, malware, psychic surgery and “short” and “big” cons alike.

Also included are lengthy interviews with experts in the art of detecting “flimflam”–a term for fraudulent activity popularized by magician turned psychic debunker James Randi (who is included among the interviewees). Other interview subjects include Dean Jobb (author of a book on Leo Koretz, one of most brazen but little known con artists of the 20th Century) and Alan Abel, who has made a career out of pulling huge media hoaxes (such as setting up a school for professional beggars and an organization devoted to clothing naked animals).

ABC-CLIO is marketing The Big Con as a textbook, but it also makes for fun individual reading, for research or enlightenment.

The book took me nearly two years of research to put together, primarily spent on weekends and evenings as my daytime hours are normally devoted to magazine journalism.

The Big Con is available through publisher ABC-CLIO, Amazon and Barnes and Noble among other outlets.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto writer and author of several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. His website at www.natehendley.com offers more details about his professional and personal background).

Crime Writer on “American Lawmen” TV Show

American Gangsters

By Nate Hendley

I appeared on the TV show, American Lawmen March 2, 2016, on the American Heroes channel. I was interviewed about the wave of bank robbing desperadoes in the 1930s, such as Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Click here for the trailer (I come in at the 20 second mark).

I wrote about the FBI’s war on Depression-era bandits in my book, American Gangsters: Then and Now which is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and publisher ABC-CLIO.

I also wrote a separate book about criminal duo Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (better known as “Bonnie and Clyde”) who murdered police officers throughout the U.S. during their brief mid-1930s crime spree.

My book, Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and publisher ABC-CLIO.

(Nate Hendley is a crime writer based in Toronto, Ontario. You can find out more about his books and background at www.natehendley.wordpress.com)

Portrait of a Gangster: Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll

Vincent__Mad_Dog__Coll

Police mug shot of Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll

 

By Nate Hendley

Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll was a dangerous lunatic whose impulsive violence startled his own underworld peers.

Hot-tempered and unstable, Irish-American Coll initially made his mark as a henchman of Dutch Schultz (aka “the Dutchman”), a major crime boss in New York City in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Coll excelled as a thug but harboured dreams of greater things.

In 1931, Coll approached Schultz with a view to getting a promotion and more power within the Dutchman’s operations. Schultz turned him down flat. While Coll was terrific at maiming and killing people, Schultz had serious misgivings about his managerial potential.

Humiliated, Coll stormed off. In the spring of 1931, Coll was put on trial for carrying a concealed weapon. Schultz, who was famously tight-fisted, generously put up Coll’s $10,000 bail. When the case was called, however, Coll was a no-show and miserly Schultz had to forfeit his bail money.

In retaliation, the Dutchman murdered Coll’s brother Peter on May 31, 1931. Coll formed his own gang and began hijacking his former boss’s beer trucks and killing their drivers.

All of this led to Mad Dog Coll’s most reckless act. On a steamy summer night in late July 1931, Coll and his crew drove listlessly around New York. As they neared the Helmar Social Club on East 107th Street, Coll’s men spotted Joey Rao, one of Schultz’s friends, on the sidewalk. In front of Rao were a bunch of kids, playing.

Without hesitation, Coll and another goon drew their weapons and began to shoot at Rao, through the crowd of terrified kids. The bullets fatally wounded a five-year-old boy and injured several other kids. Rao escaped unharmed.

After this incident, Coll was dubbed “Mad Dog” by the press. Even other hardened gangsters were appalled at his behaviour.

Coll met a fittingly violent end in February 1932 when his enemies tracked him down as he made a phone call in a pharmacy.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York , describing what happened next:

About ten minutes into Coll’s conversation, a limousine containing three men pulled up outside. Bo Weinberg, who was rapidly becoming Schultz’s top enforcer, was driving. He stayed at the wheel and left the motor running as the two other occupants got out. One man stood watch by the curb while his partner sauntered into the pharmacy with a Thompson machine gun. The gunman told customer to “keep cool” as he approached Coll’s phone booth.

Standing only a few feet away from his target, the gunman leveled his weapon and sprayed the phone booth with automatic fire. Mad Dog Coll didn’t have a chance. As the U.S. military experts who developed the weapon noted, the Thompson machine gun was fantastically lethal at close range. It literally cut its victims apart.

The heavy slugs tore through Coll’s body and gouged huge holes in the wall behind him. By the time the shooting ended, the phone booth looked as though it had been hit with an artillery barrage.

With shell casings littering the floor, the machine-gunner raced out of the pharmacy. Corn plasters, cough syrup, and bandages fell from the shelves as he brushed against them in his haste. Horrified clerks and customers stared gap-jawed as the man ran past, still gripping his smoking Thompson.

Needless to say, no one in the New York underworld was too upset by Coll’s death.

Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, is available through Amazon.ca (Canada) Amazon.com (United States), Chapter’s, Barnes and Noble and publisher Five Rivers.

The story of Dutch Schultz and Mad Dog Coll is also detailed in my book, American Gangsters: Then and Now which is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and publisher ABC-CLIO.

(Nate Hendley is a crime writer based in Toronto, Ontario. You can find out more about his books and background at www.natehendley.wordpress.com)

TV Show About a Brave New York Cop

Joe_petrosino

By Nate Hendley

I will be offering commentary on tonight’s episode of “American Lawmen” on the American Heroes Channel (AMC, formerly the Military Channel).

The episode, which airs February 24, 2016 at 10 pm, looks at Joseph Petrosino, a brave turn-of-the-20th-Century New York City cop who fought the Black Hand extortion racket in the United States and the Mafia in Sicily.

I was interviewed about Petrosino for this episode.

My book, The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture, is dedicated to Petrosino, still the only New York City policeman killed on a foreign mission.

My crime blog offers some background details about Mr. Petrosino and his ill-fated mission against the Sicilian Mafia.

This newspaper article has information about a Petrosino exhibit in the New York City Police Museum.

For further reading, my book The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture, is available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon directly from publisher, ABC-CLIO.

Click here to see a trailer about the Petrosino episode.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based author and writer. Click on this link for information on his books. Click here for his website)

 

Doomed Daltons

By Nate Hendley

Dalton_Gang_memento_mori_1892

(Photo: The Dalton Gang, after the raid)

The Dalton Gang were a group of Old West bandits doomed by their own daring.

The Gang consisted of brothers Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton, augmented by additional outlaws, Bill Doolin, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers.

By the early 1890s, the Dalton Gang had established quite a reputation for successfully robbing trains and raising mayhem. The bandits were tough and violent, and often compared with the James-Younger Gang, headed by Jesse James and his brother, who terrorized the West in the 1870s.

In 1892, Bob Dalton came up with an audacious plan: the Dalton Gang would rob two banks at the same time, in broad daylight. The banks Bob had in mind were the First National Bank and the C.M. Condon Bank in the boys’ old hometown of Coffeyville, Kansas.

In later interviews, Emmett stated that Bob was motivated by a burning desire to outdo the James-Younger Gang. Jesse James and his crew had pulled off many daring feats, but never did they try to rob two places in the same town at the same time. And for good reason, as it turned out.

On October 2, 1892, the six members of the Dalton Gang set out on horseback. The men wore long coats and were heavily armed, with revolvers and Winchester rifles. They reached the vicinity of Coffeyville after two days of riding. On the morning of October 5, 1892, they set out for Coffeyville. Doolin discovered his horse had gone lame and left the group to find a replacement. This turned out to be an incredibly lucky break for the outlaw.

Around 9 am, Grat Dalton, Powers and Broadwell entered the Cordon Bank while Bob and Emmett Dalton entered the First National Bank.

Things began to go wrong almost right away. For a start, the townspeople of Coffeyville were not easily intimidated. Shortly after the Dalton Gang took over the two banks, Coffeyville residents armed themselves and began shooting at the bank windows. Gang members stole what they could then raced outside, exchanging gunfire with the locals.

Here’s an excerpt from my book American Gangsters: Then and Now, describing what happened next:

Bob and Emmett raced north, then went west on Eighth Street, past a grocery store. Looking south, they saw Coffeyville residents peppering the Condon Bank with gunfire. Figuring the townspeople might not notice them in all the confusion, Bob and Emmett hit the open street, racing with the money-sack to their horses. A resident named George Cubine, armed with a pistol, spotted the two brothers. Cubine was standing on the street with Charles Brown, an older man who did not have a gun on him. Cubine fired at the two Dalton brothers and missed. Bob and Emmett both fired back and killed the man. Brown tried to retrieve Cubine’s revolver but was shot dead by Bob.
The gunplay with Cubine and Brown drew the attention of the townspeople who had been concentrating on the Condon Bank. Cashier Ayers and his son and a third man ran into the hardware store and grabbed weapons. Ayers secured a rifle, which he positioned through the door jamb, aiming at Bob and Emmett down the street. Bob spotted the cashier and reacted first. He fired a shot that hit Ayers in the head, seriously wounding him.

Bob and Emmett kept running. A clerk named Mat Reynolds jumped out from the front door of the hardware store. Looking south, he missed Bob and Emmett (who were heading north). Reynolds aimed his rifle at the three men rushing from the Condon Bank. He levelled his weapon and fired, hitting Bill Powers. Critically wounded, but still on his feet, Powers cursed and shot back at Reynolds, wounding him in the foot.
Grat, Broadwell and the badly wounded Powers raced down the alley where they had left their horses. There was a livery stable connected to the alley owned by Coffeyville resident John Kloehr. Hearing the commotion, Kloehr grabbed a rifle and began rushing towards the spot where the Dalton gang had tied their horses.

Skipping ahead a bit, things continue to go poorly for the Gang:

By this point, Emmett was the last man standing. He had managed to mount his horse, but didn’t realize his brother, Bob was dying. The horses next to Emmett, belonging to Bob and Powers were both shot and killed, but Emmett stayed mounted. Emmett took a round in the arm then another bullet pierced his hips. It was only as he started to ride out of town that he noticed Bob wasn’t with him. Emmett turned his horse and raced to where Bob lay by the shed. He leaned over his critically injured brother just as Seaman let loose with both barrels of his shotgun. Emmett was hit in the back and fell off his horse, landing next to his dying brother.

In the end, everyone in the Dalton raiding party except Emmett were killed. Emmett somehow managed to survive to bear witness to the spectacular failure of the Dalton Gang’s double-bank robbery.

American Gangsters is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and publisher ABC-CLIO.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based author and writer. Click on this link for information on his books. Click here for his website)

Solving the Century-Old Mafia Murder of a New York Cop

American Mafia

By Nate Hendley

Police in Italy claimed to have solved the decades-old murder of New York City police officer Joseph Petrosino in Sicily.

Petrosino was one of the bravest law officers ever to walk a beat. He’s also the man I dedicated my book, The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture, to.

Here’s what I wrote about Petrosino:

“At the turn of the twentieth century, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino headed up an “Italian squad” that dealt with issues in that community. One of the biggest issues facing Sicilian and Italian American immigrants was the presence of “The Black Hand.” A forerunner of the Mafia, the latter was a loose band of Italian Americans who used the (largely fictitious) specter of an underworld gang called “The Black Hand” to extort money from their countrymen. The fearless Petrosino made hundreds of Black Hand arrests and wasn’t above beating up suspects in the street for added humiliation.

In March, 1909, Petrosino traveled to Palermo, Sicily, to investigate Black Hand links with the Sicilian Mafia. On March 12, 1909, he was murdered, almost certainly by Mafia assassins. He remains the only New York City police officer killed while on assignment in another country. When his body was returned to the United States, an estimated 250,000 people viewed his coffin as it passed by on the streets of New York, mourning a brave cop.”

And now, over a century later, Italian police claimed that the long-standing mystery of who killed Joseph Petrosino has been resolved at last.

For further reading, my book The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture, is available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon or directly from the publisher, ABC-CLIO.

(Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance writer and true-crime author. His website is located at www.natehendley.com)