Julian Petroleum Company: The Great Crude Oil Swindle

A Canadian, C.C. (Courtney Chauncey) Julian, formed the Julian Petroleum Company in May 1923 in Los Angeles. After witnessing the excitement created by the state’s booming petroleum industry, Julian created a vast Ponzi scheme camouflaged as an investment opportunity. Julian bilked millions of dollars from eager investors through aggressive sales and a continuous newspaper advertising blitz. In what became known as the “Julian Pete Scandal,” the con man, by April 1927, had peddled almost four million worthless stock certificates. There are many newspaper and magazine articles – and at least one book – about the Julian Petroleum Company and the swindle “that rocked Los Angeles.” Read more >

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