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Missing fizz


Still in the US, say a little prayer for St Mary's College in the San Francisco Bay area. The college was the recipient of donations totalling $112 million (£62 million) over several years, which encouraged it to build a $25 million (£14 million) science centre and plan several other buildings and renovations on the campus.

Alas, the donor turned out to have no money to donate, and criminal investigations are under way into the businessman benefactor, one Conrad Colbrandt, and his associate John Banker, an 83year-old former real-estate broker.

Banker's licence was revoked in 1980 after he pleaded guilty to grand theft and forgery and was jailed for five years. It appears that investors put $9 million (£5 million) into a phoney sale and leaseback venture involving PepsiCo properties, with a proportion of profits pledged to the school.

Amazingly, no trace of the money has yet been found.

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