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Melvin Weinberg (December 4, 1924 – May 30, 2018) was an American con artist, charlatan and federal government informant who is known for his involvement in the Abscam sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the time of the scandal, he was a convict hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct the operation in exchange for probation. His story was portrayed in the 2013 film American Hustle, with Christian Bale playing Irving Rosenfeld, a character based on him.[2][3]

Mel Weinberg
Born(1924-12-04)December 4, 1924
DiedMay 30, 2018(2018-05-30) (aged 93)
Titusville, Florida, U.S.
ResidenceTitusville, Florida, U.S.
Known forInformant in Abscam FBI sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s
Spouse(s)Mary O'Connor (1944–1962)
Marie Weinberg (died. 1982)[1]
Evelyn Knight
(m. 1982; div. 1998)

Weinberg was born in The Bronx, the son of Helen and Harry Weinberg.[4] His mother was of Swiss descent and his father was of Russian Jewish ancestry.[5] After dropping out of school in grade nine, he served in the United States Navy in the Pacific from 1942 to 1946.[6] He retired to Titusville, Florida.[7][8] He died on May 30, 2018, aged 93.[9][10]

Weinberg was featured in a March 2019 episode of the true crime podcast Swindled.


  1. ^ "Abscam Con Man Mel Weinberg Is Stung by His Wife's Shocking Charges—and Sudden Death". Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  2. ^ "Abscam Con Man: 'American Hustle' Wrong, Jennifer Lawrence Too Hot". ABC News. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mel Weinberg: The Real American Hustler". Sky News. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Miami News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ Greene, Robert W. (2 December 2013). "The Sting Man: Inside Abscam". Penguin. Retrieved 5 June 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "American Hustle: the man behind the scam". 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Swindler behind Christian Bale's Oscar-nominated role in "American Hustle"". 26 February 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  8. ^ Jennifer Sangalang and Pam Harbaugh, Florida Today (5 February 2014). "Florida home to original American hustler". Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  9. ^ "'American Hustle' Con Man: Mel Weinberg's Final Days (Guest Column)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (June 6, 2018). "Mel Weinberg, 93, the F.B.I.'s Lure in the Abscam Sting, Dies". Retrieved January 29, 2019 – via