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The Salad Oil King. Rip-off #31.
How to Control the Worldwide Price of Vegetable Oil

Alfonso “Fonso” Gravenese obsession with the accumulation of wealth knew few bounds. By the 1950’s he had scammed more than half a billion dollars from government do-good programs. With that war chest, he would create the “Mona Lisa” of white-collar scams.

Fonso traveled offering then developing third world countries like Egypt, Argentina, and Pakistan the option to buy massive amounts of vegetable oil at a usurious interest rate. And if he controlled the majority of cottonseed and soybean commodity contracts, he could also control the final price. Profits began to roll in. The large commercial banks competed to lend Fonso even more money to buy more contracts, secured by the final processed product.

Wall Street, mesmerized by his company’s profit potential, invested heavily until two venerable but overrented brokerage firms folded, and the NYSE closed down for two days.

The Salad Oil King is the remarkable story—based on a true story—of how a streetwise, unscrupulous high school dropout eventually bilked the American government out of $13 billion before anyone even noticed. It is a classic American crime story of greed gone mad.

“A classic American crime story spun by a master storyteller.”
– San Francisco Book Review

“An intriguing book based on a true story that is both intimate and epic.”
– Manhattan Book Review

“Mesmerizing and enlightening. Great character development. Epic crime story. You’ll want to read it twice.”

DATE: Feb.24.2022 | CATEGORY: True Crime