An invitation to investors by the previous owner of 180 acres of forest land in the small Gold Rush-era community of Washington, California suggested the discovery of a 9-pound gold nugget on the property was just "the tip of the iceberg."
The marketing campaign ultimately collapsed with the revelation of a simple truth: The gold nugget had actually been unearthed in Australia in 1987.
The property is now listed for sale without the promise of incalculable wealth underground.
The great gold nugget hoax of 2010 began in April with property owner James Saunders Grill, using the pseudonym Jim Sanders, describing in detail to the Union Newspaper how he found the nugget on his property.
"If I get a mining operation going, we'd have an industry here," Grill told the reporter.