Violet Charlesworth was worth her weight in gold. Or, at least, so she said.
The infamous British ‘girl-swindler’ swore she was heiress to an outlandish fortune and faked her own death when the jig was nearly up.
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Indeed, Violet had a very interesting run in Britain before her fictitious death, flaunting her fake future fortune of $2,500,000 with relative impunity.
She managed a daring career in stocks trading at the time, with money she didn’t have, of course. Her quiet, demure demeanor put people’s suspicions at ease and leases on money and life itself fell in her favor.
Before it was all over, she owed the London Stock Exchange roughly $50,000, persuading them to loan her more money with her swindled jewelry as collateral.
“The daring and extent of her speculations often surprised the members of the firms with which she dealt, but as her credentials were always unquestionable their suspicions were not aroused.” – New York Times, 1909
Violet faked her death with a car crash in which she was reported to have flown from car over sea wall and into water. Naturally, her body was never found, but her living person was. Seized in Scotland, she was soon put on trial for her crimes.
As it turns out, her real name was May, and after serving a sentence of 3 years imprisonment alongside her mother, May Charlesworth went off into the world without much of a trace left behind. A mystery as always, perhaps her subsequent swindles were more successful.