Home » James Reavis: The Man Who Stole Arizona (Part1)

James Reavis: The Man Who Stole Arizona (Part1)

the-greatest-scams - James Reavis: The Man Who Stole Arizona (Part1)

James Addison Reavis’s affair hits scales. Declaring himself the son of the Spanish Crown aristocrat and the owner of considerable land in the United States, he took charge for the permit to build on the land he didn’t own. the affair brought him 300,000 dollars (60 million dollars worth now).

James Addison Reavis, the so-called Baron of Arizona, was born in Missouri in the family of a worker and an heiress of an impoverished noble family from Spain. It is due to his mother’s stories about old times that small James truly believed that he had to live in a magnificent castle and luxuriate.

the-greatest-scams - James Reavis: The Man Who Stole Arizona (Part1)In his youth Reavis volunteered for the Confederate Army. while serving in the army, he discovered his talent of a fraudster forging leave passes and documents for ammunition and food.

In 1863 Reavis deserted to the Union army. There he wanted to continue his fraud, but he was immediately disclosed. He had to flee again.

In 1869 escaping to St. Louis, Reavis began working as a tram driver. He was not satisfied because of the small income, and he was making up a new plan to get rich.

He opened his own real estate agency. Things were not going very well until the fall of 1871 when Dr. George Willing came to his office and told an amazing story, which marked the beginning of a great affair.

Dr. George Willing said that he had the rights to a large Spanish land grant over 5,000 square kilometers, located in what is now Arizona. He purchased it from a Mexican named Miguel Peralta for huge money.

adventurous Reavis bought Miguel Peralta’s documents which turned out to be faked. But James didn’t get disappointed, as he had outlined a plan of action long before, which did not foresee the use of Willing’s documents. In the story with Miguel Peralta he was interested only in the idea in the pure form. In other words, James Reavis decided to totally mystify the entire project from the beginning to the end. the world history of fraud had not seen such a scam!

Continue to the Part 2

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