Teen magician recruited by city to expose conmen

December 18th, 2008 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

Photo courtesy BBC

This is a case of exposure that most honest magicians could wholeheartedly support.

The city of Walthamstow, in northeast London, Great Britain, has hired a magician to fight a scourge of card-based conmen hustling shoppers with the three-card monte. Emmanuele Faja, 17, was appointed by the Waltham Forest Council to demonstrate the sleight of hand used in “Chase the Lady” and the ol’ cups and balls bit to members of the public.

Faja was discovered by a policeman who watched Faja perform in a pub. The officer spoke to the council and encouraged it to recruit Faja, whose older brother worked in a pub where members of the Magic Circle hung out. Faja spelled out why three-card monte is a hustle to the BBC:

Mr Faja said “Chase the Lady” was a “well-documented game” which had been played for about 250 years. “It’s not a fair game. It’s a con,” he told BBC London 94.9. “They are criminals and there’s no way you can make money on it.” Often there would be a group of between three and seven men at a stall, he added. “They’re betting and other people get drawn in,” he said.


  1. New blog post: Teen magician recruited by city to expose conmen http://tinyurl.com/4faudn

  2. Wow, they have to get a magician to tell them the obvious.