The Case of the Magic Cheese

The French investigators are calling it “The Case of the Magic Cheese“.
It seems that a French woman sold kits to make “magic cheese” for French beauty products, to thousands of people in Chile. She charged a hundred times the market value of these kits.
Gilberte Van Erpe, who was arrested and placed under investigation in France last year, is suspected of setting up a vast pyramid scheme, telling buyers the fermented mass produced by the kits could be sold to cosmetics companies in France. However, the product never made it to French cosmetics labs and most investors lost their money.
It appears that that Van Erpe had ran a similar scheme in Peru and then moved on to operate in Chile.
Le Parisien newspaper said Van Erpe made about 30 million euros from her swindling activities. It also said 5,000 Peruvians and 4,500 Chileans had filed lawsuits.
Wikipedia says that a Scam or a Confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.There have been many famous scams like the one described above.
The life of Frank William Abagnale, Jr., former cheque confidence trickster, forger, and impostor, provided the inspiration for the gripping movie- “Catch Me if You Can“.
 He has now mended his ways and is a security consultant in the U.S.
The Brooklyn Bridge in the U.S. has been ‘sold’ several times by con men.
George C. Parker was a conman in the U.S. a century ago. He “was also adept at ‘selling’ the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty and Grant’s Tomb – produced impressive forged documents to prove that he was the bridge’s owner, then convinced his ‘buyers’ that they could make a fortune by controlling access to the roadway.”
The poor buyers tried to erect toll barriers, and often had to be evicted by the police.Selling Brooklyn bridge seems to have been a popular scam, and there were several subsequent attempts, too.
In India there was the Cobbler Scam. This was a multi-crore shoes scam perpetrated by Sohin Daya, son of a former Sheriff of Bombay. He and his fellow con men were arrested for creating several leather co-operative societies which did not exist.
They availed loans of crores of rupees on behalf of these fictitious societies. The scam was exposed in 1995. The accused created a fictitious cooperative society of cobblers to take advantage of government loans through various schemes.
Officials of several banks were also involved and subsequently charge sheeted.

I am sure that we can think of many more such scams- we are currently in the middle of the “Satyam” corporate scam.

As long as con men exist and there are gullible buyers – or shareholders- new scams will come into existence.

And now to a more appealing subject- awards!
Two blogger friends have conferred some awards upon me, and I must pass them on.
Smitha has kindly conferred upon me an award- the shield.
 Smitha is a versatile blogger. I specially enjoy reading her posts where she is writing against any social injustice.
Thank you Smitha, I am proud to receive this award from you. Actually I am a bit late in acknowledging this award, very sorry!

I am pleased to pass this award on to a blogger friend whom I greatly admire for her honesty, empathy for others, and for her perseverance in researching the historical background of political situations, Nimmy.

Please accept this as a token of my friendship.

Sahaja has awarded me this Garland Blog Award.
Sahaja’s own blog is like a garland of flowers, or like a ray of sunshine! She writes with enthusiasm and her posts are always very interesting. Thank you, Sahaja!
I am pleased to pass this award on to a blogger friend who has a sixth sense for seeing hidden meanings in ordinary objects. He sees hope in a plant pot on a windowsill and finds adventure in shopping carts!
Kavi‘s blog is truly like a garland of flowers where you can find the fragrance of joy in everyday life. Please accept this award, Kavi!
Smitha has also presented me with The Proximity Award.
Thank you, Smitha!

I am pleased to give this award to my dear friend MarieReading Marie’s blog has convinced me that a sense of humour and an ability to laugh at one’s self will help a person get through most of life’s problems.

Please accept this award, Marie!

The three blogger friends whom I have passed these awards on to, have, each  in their own way, shown me that there are many different sides to any situation and many different ways at looking at life.
Smitha has also awarded the Lovely Blogger Award and I love your Blog awards, these I would like to give to all my blogger friends. 



  1. wow..Thanks a lot Manju..I am honoured..your words really made my day..Thanks a lot for the appreciation and i am glad that i am remembered..((hugs))Good day


  2. Thank you Manju!!! You truly are a dear friend!!! Now, about your post. What I want to know is this: how come I never think of these things?!?!lol


  3. Thank you ! Thats so sweet. And neat ! For many reasons. the primary being,that you think i have a 6th sense. And that brings great relief, for i take it to imply that i make some sense ! :DOfcourse, i accept the award. I am humbled. I am no Amir Khan and yet to be hit with memory loss ! Thank you ! 🙂


  4. Thanks alott manju for the wonderful words…I am honoured, and to be honest with you, proud to get such comments from someone whom I admire :)Congrats for the awards and U deserve them and much more !


  5. Vinodji- The con men do swindle the hapless public, but it is interesting to read about their exploits!Kavi- Lol! Of course you have sense! I am always wondering what you will write about next!


  6. Magic Cheese! yet another instance of human greed overtaking rational thinking.India has had a fair share of scams. To recount a fewTeak plantation schemes, medicinal plants scheme, double your money ponzi schemes have been plenty.Con men will always exist and so will gullible people. It is important to spread awareness that there cannot be supernormal profits and anything out of the ordinary should make us alert and cautious.


  7. Mavin- Actually, I was trying to find information on the teak plantation scheme- It was ‘Parshurampuriya’ or some similar name, I think. Couldn’t find any online, though. As you say- many such schemes in India, too.Rashmi- Thank you!


  8. magic cheese sounds like a good movie title. I watched “Catch me if you can” and just loved it. Ofcourse it also matters how the character is portrayed in the movie.Coming to think of it Satyam would never have been a scam if Maytas had happened.


  9. L.V.S.- I enjoyed “Catch me if you can” too! I thought that Leonardo DiCaprio was very believable as the swindler.And of course Tom Hanks as the investigator was wonderful!


  10. interesting read manju. this world seems full of dishonest people who swindle others to make a quick buck. i think we need to be as vigilant as we can be .. we never know when we will discover another scam!congrats on the awards!!:D add then to ur side panel!


  11. Mandira- There do seem to be a lot of dishonest people out to make a fast buck. Their exploits do make for interesting reading, though!And thank you. 🙂


  12. OMG magic cheese, what next!!CONGRATS Manju on all those awards!! YOu deserve every one of them. And thanks for the Lovely Blogger award you have given us your blogger friends! 🙂


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