Charles De Ville Wells was born in 1841 in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, UK.
His claim to fame was the fact that he broke the bank at the roulette tables in Monte Carlo.
Each roulette table had a cash float of 100,000 francs, which was known as “the bank.” If a gambler won more than 100,000 francs, then they were said to have “broken the bank.”
His Early Years
When Wells was still a baby, his family moved to Quimper in France, and this is where he spent his childhood. The family was a church-going family, and Wells was a respectful young man.
He graduated top of his class at L’ecole de Diwan school which was a private school in France. He also got himself a scholarship to study his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering at Clermont-Ferrand University.
After University he worked as an Engineer at the Marseille shipyards. Whilst working there he invented a device for the ship’s propellors, which he sold for a large sum of money.
The Life of Gambling and Fraud Begins
Now that Wells had some extra money, he started gambling at the local casinos in France. Before long, he had a gambling addiction and lost all his money.
He desperately needed cash and got investors to invest in various schemes he had. However, he took the money and went to England, where he gambled it all away. This went on for several years.
Breaking the Bank in Monte Carlo
In July 1891 Wells broke the bank several times at Monte Carlo by using the Martingale system of roulette. Given his history of being a fraudster, they assumed he had cheated, and he was sentenced to 8 years in jail.
Once released, he set up a private bank which worked as a Ponzi scheme using investors money which he also gambled away. A second jail term ensued.
Where is he now?
Upon his release, he kept a low profile but continued to gamble his money away. He passed away from kidney failure in 1922.