We all know about Florida’s sun, surf, and senior citizen population, but what do we know about its seedy underbelly? It is a fact that Florida’s loophole-laden tax laws and laissez-faire attitude have attracted all kinds of swindlers, from the garden variety con man to criminals as infamous as Al Capone. It is also a fact that Vic Knight knows virtually all there is to know about every one of them.
As a tenth-generation Floridian, Knight has abundant personal knowledge of Florida history, which augments his wealth of research on scams. Taking the immortal words of his Papa Johnson and Papa Knight, he has compiled a set of Grandaddy’s Rules that can help a person see through the “smooth-talking jaspers” who over the years have bamboozled victims out of billions of dollars.
Witty, informal, and sprinkled with down-home Florida vernacular, Knight’s tales of the strange educate as they delight. Shady characters like mayor/preacher/convicted felon Oyster King Willie Popham, the fictitious Prince Michael of Austria, and “the mysterious fifty-dollar tipper” carry off a potpourri of scams involving everything from luxury cars to ostrich eggs to phony tax returns. Knight explains how Boca Raton is a city based on the scam, like Treasure Island, whose very name comes from the scam that put it on the map. These cons attract scores of people because they seem fool-proof; but remember Grandaddy’s Rule #3: “Nobody ever pulled a rabbit out of a hat without carefully puttin’ one in there first.”