I frequently hear claims that Joseph Smith was a convicted con artist. While looking into this, the claim is usually in reference to being driven from New York for taking money to find some treasures supposedly hidden in some native american trove, which he then never found.
When this claim is brought up to mormons, they categorically dismiss that Joseph Smith was a con-man, etc.
Does any record of this exist? Was he convicted? Where's the evidence?
It was likely that the court hearing was initiated not so much from a concern about Joseph being a money digger, as concern that Joseph was having an influence on Josiah Stowell. Josiah Stowell was one of the first believers in Joseph Smith. His nephew was probably very concerned about that and was anxious to disrupt their relationship if possible. He did not succeed. The court hearing failed in its purpose, and was only resurrected decades later to accuse Joseph Smith of different crimes to a different people and culture.
Fawn Brodie’s biography of JS provides perhaps the most famous allegation concerning the 1826 event. She claimed, "On the basis of the testimony presented, including Joseph’s own admission of indulging in magic arts and organizing hunts for buried gold, the court ruled him guilty of disturbing the peace."4