The Mona Lisa Scam

Eduardo de Valfierno, who called himself Marquez, was an Argentine conman who had allegedly planned and carried out the theft of the Mona Lisa.

He hired Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian who worked as a seasonal worker in the Louvre, to steal the painting. On August 21, 1911 Perugia took the Mona Lisa, hiding the canvas under the coat. He calmly walked through the main entrance.


Before the theft was discovered, Valfierno had commissioned French art restorer Yves Chaudron to make six copies of the famous Mona Lisa for remuneration.

Six months after the theft Valfierno offered a wealthy American collector to purchase the Mona Lisa stolen from the Louvre. And he insisted on the examination bribing the expert beforehand. The client, who dreamed to have such a valuable painting in his collection, swallowed the bait and paid huge amount of money for the forgery.

Valfierno played such a simple combination with other several collectors not too concerned about the legality of the transaction. “Marquis” earned millions of dollars, almost without risk, because duped collectors would never admit to buying stolen art. According to some data, it is this clever cheater who organized the theft of the Mona Lisa and Peruggia was just a performer.

After making his plans come true, Valfierno disappeared, he no longer needed the original, and the thief had to get rid of the Mona Lisa on his own.

Some time later, Vincenzo Peruggia was caught trying to sell the original. So Mona Lisa returned to the Louvre in 1913.