The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds, by George de la Tour, c. 1635. Louvre Museum, Paris.

Swindle & Fraud

Volume VIII, Number 2 | spring 2015


Four years after the Romanovs were executed by Bolsheviks, a woman claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia surfaced. She impressed skeptics with her ability to recall various details of the royal family’s life, and after Nicholas II’s cousin Grand Duke Alexander spent two days with her, he exclaimed, “I have seen Nicky’s daughter!” The woman spent decades fighting to be the legal heir to the Romanov fortune, losing her last suit in 1970. In the 1990s DNA evidence posthumously proved she was an imposter.

There was no treachery too base for the world to commit.

—Virginia Woolf, 1927