Traveling Fraud Museum Celebrates the 15-Year Anniversary of Frankensteins of Fraud

Fraud is a crime with severe impacts of historical magnitude. Made up of artifacts, memorabilia, documents, and other pieces of fraud history collected by ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the Fraud Museum displays financial frauds committed by an educated society.

While the Fraud Museum’s permanent home is at the ACFE headquarters in Austin, Texas, each year a traveling exhibit featuring selected pieces goes on display in the Anti-Fraud Exhibit Hall at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference. For the 26th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference the Fraud Museum will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Frankensteins of Fraud, a book written by Dr. Wells, that looks at the history of 10 of the most notorious white-collar criminals of the 20th century.

One of the most interesting stories from the Frankensteins of Fraud compilation is the story of “the most notorious woman of her time,” Elizabeth Bigley (1857-1907). Bigley began her life of crime at the age of 14 when she was first arrested for forgery. She is most famous for her seven aliases. Her most successful alias was as Cassie Chadwick, falsely claiming to be the daughter of Andrew Carnegie, one of the world’s wealthiest men. As news of Cassie Chadwick grew, all the banks in the area lined up to give her loans. Over six years she successfully secured these loans and her debts totaled $5 million. Eventually on March 10, 1905, Bigley was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined $70,000 for conspiracy of bankruptcy.

Ivar Krueger, the “Swedish Match King,” held monopoly contracts throughout the world in order to sell his matches to entire nations. He eventually engaged in a large number of frauds in the 20th century, including embezzlement, using shell companies, transferring debt into subsidiaries and even counterfeiting $142 million worth of Italian bonds. In the Fraud Museum you can find a Debenture Certificate for 100 Kronor issued by Aktiebolaget Krueger and Toll of Stockholm.

These and more than 25 other pieces are on display for you to learn about the most notorious 20th-century criminals. While at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference walk through these timeless pieces of history and learn how to prevent future crime by using lessons of the past.

Bring this conference guide with you to the Fraud Museum exhibit and take the quiz on the next page. Be sure to submit your answer sheet in the submission box located at the Fraud Museum exhibit and you will be entered to win a $250 gift card (one answer sheet will be drawn at the end of the conference to determine the winner). Good luck!