This is the final installment of the "fraud breakers" flavor review, continuing from Demara and Lustig. This card's name refers to Frank Abagnale, an American security consultant known for his history as a forger and impostor. His past identities include airline pilot, physician, U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer, though he claims to have assumed at least 8 roles in his time. After his eventual capture, he served time in prison before starting work for the federal government. He currently works for the FBI, as well as running a financial fraud consultancy company.

His first con took advantage of his father, who had given him a credit card for gasoline and a truck to help Abagnale commute to his job. At only 15 years old, he used the credit card to buy tires, batteries, and other items, and would then return them for cash. In the end, his father owed $3,400 on the credit card.

He was also involved in bank fraud, writing checks that would overdraw his accounts. To keep this going, he would open new accounts with different identities. He would also print forgeries of checks, convincing banks to advance him the money for them. Finally, he would print his account numbers on bank deposit slips, distributing them among real deposit slips. Any customers that used these fraudulent slips were actually depositing money into Abagnale's accounts. He also got into the habit of scamming businesses that used bank deposit boxes. Utilizing a security guard's outfit, he would place an "out of order" sign on the deposit box, with instructions to leave deposits with the on-duty security guard. Funnily enough, he later expressed amazement that this worked, saying, "How can a drop box be out of service?"

Later, desiring to travel the world for free, he contacted Pan American World Airways, claiming to be a new pilot whose uniform was lost by hotel staff. The company provided him with a new uniform, as he produced a fake employee ID and Federal Aviation Administration pilot's license. Between the ages of 16 and 18, it is estimated that he flew 250 flights and visited 26 countries, also staying at hotels for free due to his employee status. This is also the source for the card art, as it depicts a plane.

After a close call in New Orleans where he was nearly arrested, he took on the role of supervising physician in a Georgia Pediatric clinic. Listing his occupation as "doctor" on a rental application, he soon befriended another doctor in the building who offered him the position until the local hospital could fill the role. As a supervisor, he wasn't involved in actual medical work, but he eventually left, not wanting to risk endangering someone's life.

During another time posing as Pan Am First Officer "Robert Black," at just age 19, Abagnale forged a law transcript from Harvard, passed the bar exam, and found employment with the Louisiana State Attorney General's office. He says this was possible because Louisiana allowed applicants to retake the bar unlimited times, which allowed him to merely correct what he had previously gotten incorrect. However, after a real Harvard graduate in the same office began investigating Abagnale's background, he left to seek other opportunities.

He was eventually arrested in 1969, when an old flame recognized him and reported him to authorities. At the time of his arrest, 12 countries in which he had committed fraud sought his extradition. He served 1 year in inhumane conditions (no clothes, toilet, mattress, or blanket, with limited food and water) in France, before being extradited to Sweden, where he served 6 months. After this, he found he was to be tried in Italy, but as a Swedish judge had revoked his passport, the government had no choice but to deport him to the U.S., where he served 12 years. However, his prison time was marked by several escapes, including once being mistaken for an undercover prison inspector (due to misplaced paperwork), and he convinced a friend to slip him a fake business card, identifying him as "Inspector C.W. Dunlap," working for the Bureau of Prisons. His friend then posed as an FBI agent, and they worked together to allow him to escape, albeit temporarily.

His eventual release was part of a deal from the U.S. government, on the terms that he assist them, without pay, in investigating scams and con artist crimes. His past, however, would haunt him when seeking honest work upon his release. Eventually, he approached a bank, revealing his colorful past, and offering to advise them on scamming and fraud techniques. This worked in his favor, eventually leading to his current financial fraud consultancy company.

Finally, the flavor text is an actual quote from Abagnale, believing that advancements in technology just make committing fraud and scams easier.

Thanks for that insightful comment, I was wondering why this card has a plane on it! It seems that the movie "Catch me if you can" is actually based on Abagnale's life (based on his autobiography by the same name) —

Part 2 of the "fraud breakers" flavor reviews. Starlight Crusade's review already referenced the nod to famous con artists, but I'll give just a little more information on Lustig, for those who, like me, love the flavor tie-ins.

Victor Lustig was famously known as "the man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice" (hence the artwork, a depiction of a cyber-space Eiffel Tower). Fluent in several languages, he began at an early age scamming passengers aboard ocean liners between France and New York. A more famous con of his involved "money-printing machines," whose function is as it sounds. However, when showing these to potential marks, he would make a show of complaining that the machine took 6 hours to print a $100 bill. Clients would buy these machines for exorbitant sums (possibly $30,000 or more), expecting to reap the benefits of printing money. However, after printing 2 bills, the machines would only produce blank paper. Of course, by the time clients discovered this, Lustig was long gone.

However, his namesake con, the Eiffel Tower, came to him in the 1920s, while France recovered from WW1. Lustig read a number of articles stating that the city was struggling to maintain the Eiffel Tower, resulting in it becoming somewhat run-down. Lustig recruited a forger to produce false government stationery for him and invited various scrap metal dealers to a secret meeting at a prestigious hotel. At the meeting, he introduced himself as the Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, explaining the dealers were selected due to their positive reputations. He told those in attendance that the Eiffel Tower was too costly for the city, and they were seeking to sell it for scrap. However, due to the potential for public outcry, he said the project was top-secret until details were finalized. Lustig rented a limousine to take the men to the tower, using this time to gauge which would be ideal targets. He chose Andre Poisson, a dealer who experienced insecurities about not being high enough on the social ladder and believing the Eiffel Tower deal would boost his social status.

Poisson's wife was suspicious of the haste and secrecy, however, and to calm her worries, he made a false "confession," stating that part of the profits from the sale of the tower would supplement his income, as his governmental position didn't provide as much as he'd like. Ironically, assuming the role of a corrupt politician abated Poisson's concerns, as dealing with such individuals was commonplace. Thus, the sale was successful, and once Poisson realized he had been duped, he was too ashamed to go to police. Lustig's downfall was his return to the same scam. A mere month later, Lustig contacted new scrap dealers, almost completing another false sale. This time, however, the victim reported the fraud, and it was never finished, though Lustig escaped before being arrested.

In his later years, he even scammed Al Capone, convincing him to invest $50,000 in a stock deal, one that didn't actually exist. Lustig actually stored the money away, waiting until Capone grew impatient before returning it to him, claiming the deal had fallen through. Lustig also expressed disappointment because he "needed the money." Impressed by his "honesty" at actually returning his initial investment, Capone gave him $5,000 to "tide him over." He later partnered with a chemist to print counterfeit banknotes. This scam would be his last, however, as a jealous mistress eventually turned him in.

Finally, regarding the card's flavor text, it refers to the "Ten Commandments for Con Men," attributed to Lustig. They are as follows:

Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con man his coups).

Never look bored.

Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.

Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.

Hint at sex talk, but don't follow it up unless the other person shows a strong interest.

Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.

Never pry into a person's personal circumstances (they'll tell you all eventually).

Never boast - just let your importance be quietly obvious.

Never be untidy.

Never get drunk.


One of the things I love most about Netrunner is the flavor, and as I'd done previously with Omar's breakers, I wanted to give a bit of background for Steve's "fraud breakers." As such, this is a flavor review, rather than utility.

First and foremost, this card is named after Ferdinand Waldo Demara, born in Massachusetts in 1921. Author Maria Konnikova wrote about his exploits in her book "The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time." According to her research, from a young age, he was engaged in con-jobs. His first was conning a chocolate shop in his hometown into giving chocolate to his entire class, even though he had no way to pay for it. Small time stuff, right? Well, his next con was joining a monastery under the guise of a monk. He would return to this role throughout his life, even assisting in founding a religious college. Under a false name, claiming to have a degree that he in fact, did not, he taught Psychology at Gannon College in Pennsylvania. He also studied law under a fake name at Northeastern University. However, one of his more famous cons was serving falsely as a naval officer aboard a Canadian vessel during the Korean War. But wait, there's more.

Under the name "Brother John Payne of the Brothers of Christian Instruction," he eventually stole the identity of Dr. Joseph Cyr, then becoming the onboard surgeon on the HMS Cayuga. During this medical fling, the only surgical knowledge he had to go on was from a book he had previously convinced another doctor to write; to accomplish this, he told that doctor that the troops needed a reference, in case no surgeon was around. After completing surgeries to remove shrapnel from 19 rescued Korean soldiers, his fame spread, eventually reaching the real Dr. Cyr. However, even after he was exposed, the Canadian navy did not press charges.

Demara went on to acquire the role of warden in a Texas prison, but his own bravado lost him the job, as he showed a prisoner an article about his past exploits, thus exposing himself. His biographer, who came to call him "The Great Impostor," was convinced time and time again to give Demara money, in order to "go straight" (i.e. give up con-jobs). However, as always, he returned to his deceitful roots, operating as Chaplain at the Good Samaritan Hospital of Orange County in Anaheim, California. At that point, though, he was too famous to keep up the charade. Even once he was - again - found out, he was allowed to stay on as Chaplain until his death in 1982. There was even a film based on him, called "The Great Impostor," produced in 1961.

As for the flavor text of the card, it seems to point to Demara's ability to pass himself off as qualified for whatever position he desired, faking his own qualifications.


This is the last of the Omar-related flavor/educational reviews. I decided to do these, not only because I love the flavor and references within this game, in general, but because I'm becoming an Omar fanboy. Anywho...

An Obelus, more commonly referred to as a division sign, comes from an Ancient Greek word for a sharpened stick or pointed pillar. Interestingly, before its mathematical implications, this sign was used in texts to mark passages believed to be corrupted or false. Such passages were marked as such to be deleted, or censored, in line with the conspiracy theme. Seems to fit fairly well with Omar.


This is part 3 of a flavor/educational review. There's only one more I plan after this, so I hope this isn't detracting from gameplay reviews.

The name of this card is derived from Schwarze Kapelle (German, which translates to the same). It was a term used by the Gestapo to refer to conspirators within the German military who plotted to overthrow Adolf Hitler. These were highly patriotic Germans, who feared Hitler's reign would ruin Germany. They intended to overthrow the Nazi party to preserve German sovereignty. They hoped to preserve the gains already made by Hitler, not rejoining a democratic order of nations. They believed that Germany had gained significant power, and they sought to preserve it, believing Hitler's pride would eventually cause the country's downfall.

Meanwhile, the Allies refused to accept the credibility of the Black Orchestra, believing them to be a front for the Gestapo. Unable to reconcile differences, the Black Orchestra drafted the blueprints for a system of government, based on the British Constitutional Monarchy. They also readied a coup, as a means of preventing an invasion of the Sudetenland. If Hitler gave the invasion order, the coup would begin, in order to stop him. However, as this order never came, the coup was aborted.

With the Munich Agreement, Hitler garnered enough power that a successful coup would have been impossible. When Hitler later planned a controversial invasion of neutral lower countries into France, tensions within Germany grew again to the point the Black Orchestra planned yet another coup. However, faulty intelligence led the Black Orchestra to believe Hitler had found them out, resulting in aborting the plan and burning all related documents.

It was some time until Hitler's popularity again fell, this time due to the failed Operation Barbarossa. However, the declaration by the Allies that they would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender pushed the German military into a corner, resulting in harsher tactics. The Black Orchestra's numbers had dwindled significantly, and one of their final attempts (in 1943) was to place a bomb on Hitler's plane, which failed to detonate..

On July 20, 1944, the Black Orchestra had its last crescendo (pun intended), as they attempted a direct assassination on Hitler in his "Wolf's Lair" field headquarters near East Prussia. The failure of this attempt led to the arrest of over 7,000 people by the Gestapo, of which over 4,900 were put to death.

The flavor text of this card actually seems to coincide with the real-life events. Forced to extremes, the Black Orchestra members escalated their plans, from a bomb to a direct assassination. These acts, guided by their conscience to defend the honor and reputation of their country, led to their deaths.

I just want to say thank you for all your work writing this = ) —
I'm glad they were well-received! I was a bit leery of writing for flavor against utility, but I love the background theme here :) —