Evelyn Knight

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Evelyn Knight
Born Evelyn Dawn Knight
(1942-11-05) 5 November 1942 (age 76)
Watford, Hertfordshire, England
Residence Florida
Occupation Con artist, socialite
Spouse(s) Mel Weinberg
(1982-1998; divorced)

Evelyn Dawn Knight (born November 5, 1942)[1] is an English woman known for her involvement in the Abscam sting operation of the 1970s, with her ex-husband Mel Weinberg. A character inspired by her was portrayed on film by Amy Adams in American Hustle (2013) for which Adams was nominated for an Academy Award. The story of Abscam was depicted as well in the 1981 book The Sting Man by Robert Greene.[2]

Personal life

Knight was born in Watford, the daughter of Ethel (née Wilson) and Sidney Knight. Her father was the manager of a crumpet factory.[3]

Knight immigrated to the United States in 1967 when she was in her late 20s. At a party on Long Island that was sponsored by the British government, she met Mel Weinberg, a Jewish businessman who is seventeen years her senior, and the two began a long love affair. Mel was married to his second wife, Marie at the time. His wife Marie committed suicide in 1982, at age 58. Marie had confronted Knight about their affair, after she learned that Knight was living nearby in a house being paid for by her husband. Soon after Marie's death, Knight and Weinberg married.[4] [5]


Her husband Mel began involving Evelyn in his cons, using her as a ploy to conduct business. He would introduce her as Lady Evelyn Knight, one of the world's richest women. The two were arrested in 1977 on charges of fraud and conspiracy. They then made a plea-deal with the FBI to help them in the investigation of Abscam, and in return their charges would be dropped for probation.[6]

Later life

Knight kept out of the spotlight once the Abscam era ended, and moved to Florida with her husband Mel. They later divorced in 1998, but still live near each other. Knight found work at NASA, where she took care of animals used in space experiments.[7]

Portrayals in the media

Amy Adams was cast as Knight for the 2013 film American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Amy Adams was nominated for Best Actress for her performance as Knight. The script for the film did make changes to her story. The film portrays Evelyn as an American named Sydney Prosser who is pretending to be British as a way to conduct cons, however; in real life Knight was born British. Her name was changed from Evelyn Knight to Edith Greensly.[8][9]


  1. Evelyn Knight public record accessed 3/21/2015
  2. Con Man in White Hat accessed 3/21/2015
  3. Evelyn Knight birth record accessed 3/21/2015
  4. Marie Weinberg dies accessed 3/21/2015
  5. American Hustle- the true story accessed 3/21/2015
  6. Mel Weinberg tells his story accessed 3/21/2015
  7. [1] The real American Hustle
  8. [2] The real American Hustle] accessed 3/21/2015
  9. Oscars 2014: American Hustle accessed 3/21/2015