Crime History: Rogue detective arrested in swindle of D.C. heiress

|
Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Crime History

On this day, May 5, in 1932, police in D.C. arrested Gaston B. Means, the so-called Conman of the Century, after he persuaded a wealthy Washington heiress to give him $100,000 to help track down Charles Lindbergh's kidnapped child.

Means was a former FBI agent who worked both sides of the law.

Means asked Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, the owner of the Hope Diamond, for $100,000 to pass to the kidnappers in exchange for the baby.

After disappearing, Means returned with a wild tale, then set up an elaborate handoff for the baby. The baby was never produced.

Means later told McLean that the ransom had been raised. She called police.

He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in Leavenworth, where he died in 1938.

-- Scott McCabe

View article comments Leave a comment