The first rule of a confidence game is that it is impossible to con an honest man. Con men are not thieves, at least in the conventional meaning of the word. They offer a deal that is too good to be true, that any honest man would know to be too good to be true, and make the mark believe it to be the truth—the urgent, lucrative, top-secret truth.
“Investing in Bayou entails substantial risks,” marketing material for the $450 million hedge fund acknowledged in February 2004. “Bayou Funds are single-manager funds. This eliminates diversification of viewpoint and expertise.” Investors were entrusting their money, they were told, to one person: Sam Israel.