The Spanish Prisoner is a confidence trick dating back to the late 19th century.


The con-man tells his victim (the mark) that he is in correspondence with a wealthy person of high estate who has been imprisoned in Spain under a false identity. Supposedly the prisoner cannot reveal his identity without serious repercussions, and is relying on a friend (the grifter) to raise money to secure his release. The grifter offers to let the mark put up some of the funds, with a promise that he will be rewarded generously when the prisoner returns; financially, and perhaps also by gaining the hand of a beautiful woman represented to be the prisoner's daughter. After the mark has turned over the funds, he is informed that further difficulties have arisen and more money is needed. With such explanations the con man continues to press for more money until the victim is cleaned out or declines to put up more funds. By this point a rational victim would intuit that there is neither a rich man, nor any reward on the horizon.

Used by CrewEdit

  • As Good As It Gets - The team performs this con, simultaneously, on four marks, using the same "prisoner" in each case, with a different team-member acting as con-artist and collaborative-convincer.