Tuesday, September 06, 2005

 

***Ken Smith: urgently needed

This is the e-mail exchange that started it all.

I've been receiving the Nigerian 419 e-mails (though I didn't know that's what they were called) ever since I got e-mail. There was no question that they were all scams, so I never did anything but delete them. But one got through my radar, at least initially, so I took it for a ride to see how far I could string this along.

I am a part-time clown and am registered on the website www.clownsforhire.com. It's a free listing and I get two or three inquiries a month from it. Sometimes I get the job, sometimes not. But every one starts with an e-mail like this one:



==================================================
To: bossclown@clownflower.com
Subject: urgently needed
From: kensmith_00@yahoo.com Add to Address Book
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 09:55:47 -0400


Mister Ambassador

A prospective client found you on ClownsForHire.com and has contacted you.

Name: ken smith
Phone: 6125869774
Location: Florida
Email Address: kensmith_00@yahoo.com
Subject: urgently needed
Message:
hello,
how are you , i am interested in your services for my little daughter birthday because she will be 5 this year and the number of children on that day will be 20-25 and so the party will be holding in florida in my house because i have a large compound for the party to takes place. please i will like to know the price for your services and let me have the air fares and hotel accomodation to florida and get back to me .
the party will be on the 4th of june 2005 . And my means of payment is through Certified Cashier"s Check drawn from a U S bank. please let me have all this information back as follows
YOUR NAME
ADDRESS
PHONE NUMBERS BOTH LAND AND CELL NUMBER
ZIP CODE
So that the check can be mailed to you . you are free to mailed me back for every information you need to know.
thanks

_________________________________________________

You have received this message from being registered with ClownsForHire.com


========================================

It was just like all the other ones except that no one's ever asked us to travel to Florida before. So I thought, "Why not?"

Holly said it sounded like somebody pulling my leg, one of my friends, perhaps. Or one of my enemies. There are clowns in Florida, she said. We looked them up. There are many.

But I e-mailed him back:


========================================


Good day:

Thanks for contacting us.

I need to know where in Florida the party will be and
what time of day so I can check on flight
availability.

The particulars:

Richard Jones
Clownflower Alley
PO Box 13311
Hamilton OH 45013

Land: (513) 894-4569
Cell (513) 265-XXXX


peace


========================================

I know now that it was stupid to give him my phone numbers. But I'm still thinking that there might be a gig in it and a free trip to Florida.


========================================

He replied:

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 16:48:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: urgently needed
To: BossClown@clownflower.com

The Clown Show,
this is the address of the party and get back to me with ur name and office address and phone numbers so that the check can be mailed to you right away.
mine home address in florida
Smith Ken
6407 N. Lagoon Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

thanks



========================================

Okay, we thought. What would it cost. I ran the particulars through Expedia.com and figured about $750/person was about average. For a two-day journey, I figured we could very reasonably charge $200/day each. So I ran this proposal by Mr. Smith:


========================================

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:19:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: urgently needed
To: "ken smith"


Good Day:

The cost for our services for the day will be $800 for
up to three hours. There will be two clowns, Mister
Ambassador and Sweetpea. We will do a 30-45 minute
show that will include our original songs, stories and
games with audience interaction. You can find out
more information about our company at
http://clownflower.com.

The flight, lodging and rental car will be around
$1,500. If you will pay that much of a deposit, we
will bill you if it goes over.

Please let us know soon so we can reserve the date
for you. We love performing in Florida.

What is your daughter's name?

peace
Mister Ambassador


========================================

But then we also did a reverse address search on WhitePages.com and came up with the name Timothy and Lysanne Matthews and a phone number that was no longer a working number. It's beginning to get strange. But it will get stranger:


========================================

Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 11:38:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: URGENTLY NEEDED
To: BossClown@clownflower.com

The Clown Show bossclown@clownflower.com

thanks for the mail,i really appreciate your effort towards this event,all i want from you is just for you to make that day a special day for me and my daugther,you see there is know problem with the payment ,you know the party will be coming on the 4th of june 2005,the check of $5,500 will be send to you and i want you to debute yours from it and send the remain fund to the magazine company in holland so that they can use the fund to make the necessary document of coming down to florida for the event,all i want you to do is just that immedaitely the check got to you i want you to send the remain fund to holland for the magazine company and also i want you to arrival on time so that all will be in good condition


thanks for the mail


========================================

We still figure it's someone messing with us, but someone with a good imagination. A magazine in Holland? But he's not been able to come up with a name for his daughter.


========================================

Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 13:26:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: URGENTLY NEEDED
To: "ken smith"


OK, I can do that. Will the address of the Holland
Magazine be included with the check or will you email
me with that information.

We're really looking forward to serving you. Sounds
like it'll be a good time for all.

peace
Mister Ambassador


==================================================

Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2005 20:37:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: URGENTLY NEEDED
To: BossClown@clownflower.com


Thanks for the mail,i really appreciate your effort towards these event.so the check of $5,500 will be send to you and i want you to help tp send the remain fund down to holland for the magazine company,for them to make the arrangement of coming to florida,so when you get the check i want you to debut your charges for the show and for your transportantion also or your accomodation and send the remain funds to them in holland,i want you to make that day a special day for me and my daugther so that the magazine company will have much to capture,i wan to you to be expecting the check in 4-5 days so when you receive the check i want you to mail me send the fund to them.hope to hear fromyou sooner


thanks


==================================================

Several days went by, and we thought the prankster had run out of steam. Then ....


========================================


Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 22:55:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: the check And mistake
To: BossClown@clownflower.com



The Clown Show ,
hello
i have been told you will be receiving the check anytime from now but please there is a mistake that occour the check that was send to you has an excess check on it which is meant for the magazine company in holland for the coverage of the party for their celebrity magazine . please the funds is meant for the preparation to come for the coverage of the party .
please i will be very glad if you can help me sort out the situation by help me send the remaining funds from which you will deduct the funds for your services when you receive the check and send the remaining ones to the MANAGER FOR THE MAGAZINE COMPANY IN HOLLAND . theny have given me their WESTERN UNION INFORMATION TO TRANSFFERRED THE FUNDS TO THEM . Please i very sorry for the mistake been made and So deduct the funds for your charges and help me send the remaining ones to the magazine company in holland because they have given me a call to pay for their servicess so this will enable them to start preparaing toward the party.
this is the western union money transffer to the manager for the magazine company:

MR ROTIMI AKINTUNDE
Oostelijke Handelskade 47
AMSTERDAM,HOLLAND

After the transffered of the funds to them please furnish me back with this western union details back to me soon
please deduct western union charges from the funds you will be sending back to MR ROTIMI IN HOLLAND
RECEIVER NAME ROTIMI AKINTUNDE
RECEIVER ADDRESS MR ROTIMI AKINTUNDE
Oostelijke Handelskade 47
AMSTERDAM,HOLLAND

SENDERS NAME YOUR NAME
SENDER ADDRESS YOUR ADDRESS
AMOUNT SENT TO MR ROTIMI AKINTUNDE
MTCN CONTROL NUMBER MONEY TRANSFER CONTROL NUMBER
TEST QUESTION AND ANSWER? QUESTION IS COLOUR ANSWER IS RED
and this is a western union outlet beside you .
LOBILL #338
1500 PLAZA DR
HAMILTON, OH 45013
Tel: (513) 868-0606


LOBILL #336
1204 W MAIN ST
HAMILTON, OH 45013
Tel: (513) 896-7029


I will be very happy if the transfered can be made as soon as you receive the check . just let you if this is ok by you

waiting to hear from you .
thanks


========================================

Date: Thu, 28 Apr
2005 08:09:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: the check And mistake
To: "ken smith"

OK. Thanks for the information. I'll let you know when
the check arrives and when the transaction is
complete.

peace
Mister Ambassador


========================================

And sure enough, on Thursday we got a check in the PO Box, but instead of $5,500, it was for $6,000. The check looks real. I called the bank and they said they would have to put a hold on it until Wednesday. I e-mail Mr. Smith:


========================================

Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2005 07:51:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: the check And mistake
To: "ken smith"


Good Day:

I have received your check and have deposited in my bank.

Unfortunately, as it was not a certified check, the funds will not be available until Wednesday morning. As soon as the hold has been lifted, I will withdraw the necessary money to send to the magazine in Holland.

Also, I have a couple of follow-up questions:

1) What time do you want us to be at your compound on June 4?

2) Can you please confirm the address of 6407 N. Lagoon Drive? Is this in Panama City or Panama City Beach?

3) Is there a phone number at the residence we can call in case we need to get in touch with you once we arrive?

4) Will there be a place for us to get ready for the party or should we arrive at the party in costume?

We are looking forward to making your daughter's birthday a special celebration. I will be in touch with you by Wednesday.

peace
Mister Ambassador


========================================

Is he trying to get me to launder money or was he trying to get hold of my money? The answer wasn't far off:


========================================

Date: Sun, 1 May 2005 04:31:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: the funds for the magazine company
To: BossClown@clownflower.com

The Clown Show ,
i am very happy when you mail that you have received the check please the manager for the magazine company told me deposit the funds for them to prepare some document for the party and the necessary paper work please the address i gave you is the right venue for the party ok and i should have given you a number to call but there is no one now to take the call from you unless you can call me on mine THURAYA SATELITE CELLL NUMBER which is +2348033490937 for the necessary information you needed you know i am still on vacation . please i will be very grateful if you can help me transferred the funds today for them to prepare the paper work cos the manager MR ROTIMI will be travelling out of holland anytime for now for a coverage outside his country and he wants me pay for the services been want to rendered for me . please i will appreciate your efforts and when the check clears you can have the remaining funds for your self ok
thanks for your understanding,.


==================================================

At 8 a.m. Sunday morning, I'm awakened by the phone. I don't recognize the number -- 408.822.1675.

A woman tells me she's an operator for a voice relay service, that the caller is typing in his end of the conversation on the other end of the line, she will read me what he writes, I will tell her my response and she will type it in. Then she says, "The caller has disconnected. Good-bye."

Strange indeed. Never heard of such a thing. As soon as I start to doze back off, the phone rings again. Same number, different voice. She gives me the same directions. Then she says, "This is Mr. Ken Smith. How are you today."

He then proceeds to pressure me to send $2,000 before the check clears to Mr. Rotimi in the Netherlands. Now, I know for sure what the scam is. So I tell him that the banks are closed and even if they weren't, my account has been frozen because the bank isn't used to me depositing such large sums of money and I don't have the cash on hand to send to him. After 30 minutes, he gives up.

I check my e-mail, see the previous message, then post this repsonse:


==================================================

Date: Sun, 1 May 2005 05:42:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show"   View Contact Details
Subject: Re: the funds for the magazine company
To:  "ken smith"

Dear Mr. Smith:
 
I thank  you for the trust you have in me, but my bank will not let me withdraw money from my account until the check clears. I will send the money to Mr. Rotimi as soon as I can, but my bank said that will not be until Wednesday.
 
peace
Mister Ambassador

==================================================
Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 08:32:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: the funds for the magazine company
To: BossClown@clownflower.com

The Clown Show,
ok thanks for ur mail and response please i will be very glad if that is done ok
thanks
 

========================================

I've never really been one to leave well-enough alone, so the more I read about 419, the angrier and friskier I got. I decided to goad Mr. Smith on a little:


========================================

Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 15:16:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: the funds for the magazine company
To: "ken smith"


Mr. Smith:

I started feeling terrible yesterday about not being able to help you get some cash to the magazine photographer from Holland. So this morning I went to the bank and cashed out a certificate of deposit I had for $1,000. I have the cash here in my hand. Should I send it to the same address or has the photographer left Holland yet?


========================================

Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 05:02:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: the funds for the magazine company
To: BossClown@clownflower.com




The Clown Show,
thanks for your mail please the photographer have left holland now to attend to an urgent call from his client but he told me that is personal assistant is in one african country for a coverage of a ceremony to be printed in their magazine company .
please i will want you to help me send the funds to him there
THIS IS THE INFORMATIO HE GAVE ME NOW
RECEIVERS NAME MR EDUN ADETAYO
RECEIVER ADDRESS: BAPTIST CHURCH ROAD
ITOKU ,
ABEOKUTA. 23439
OGUN STATE
NIGERIA
AND AFTER YOU HAVE TRANSFERRED THE FUNDS TO HIM PLEASE FURNISH ME BACK WIT HTIS INFORMATION RIGHTAWAY


SENDER'S NAME
SENDER'S ADDRESS
RECEIVERS' NAME
RECEIVERS ADDRESS
MTCN NUMBER \( MONEY TRANSFER CONTROL NUMBER)
AMOUNT SEND TO MR ADETAYO
TEXT QUESTION AND ANSWER QUESTION IS COLOUR AND ANSWER SHOUL BE RED

I WILL BE VERY GLAD IF THIS IS DONE TO HIM BECAUSE IS MASTER HAS AN URGENT TO CALL TO ATTEND .

THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.

=============================================
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 09:44:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" Add to Address Book
Subject: Your urgent help is needed
To: kensmith_00@yahoo.com


Dear Mr. Smith:

My fiance and business partner Richard Jones asked me
to send you this e-mail to ask for urgent assistance.

He stopped by his bank today to see if a certain check
had cleared and was detained by bank officials, then
by the United States Secret Service who have taken him
to a holding cell in the Warren County Correctional
Facility. He was arrested two hours ago on charges of
check forgery and embezzlementing. They have put
sanctions on all of his assets and have seized his
cell phone.

I don't know why he asked me to e-mail you, but he
said that you would be interested to help him get out
of his legal jam. He said that you would be able to
send $1,500 in cash to his post office box, PO BOX
13311 Hamilton OH 45013 so that he can be released
from detention.

He said that he would try to keep your name out of it
and also the names of your associates, but he needs
your assistance most despereately.

Please help. I can't stand to think of my sweetheart
in jail. Please send the money right away. Please send
cash so that we can get him released soonest.

Sincerely,
Trudy Dejour


=================================================

Mr. Smith made several calls to my cell phone which went unanswered. When we tried to call the numbers back, they proved to be fictitious, which is kind of hard to figure because that implies that they are in on it, but they seem quite puzzled by the contents of the conversation. Holly answered one of the calls to say, over and over again, "I don't know where he is. I've been expecting him to call. One of the voice relay operators finally left a message in which he urged us to call him, but we've not gotten a reliable phone number yet. So:


=================================================

Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 20:17:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" Add to Address Book
Subject: EMERGENCY: Please repsond ASAP
To: "ken smith"


Mr Smith

Richard needs to speak to you right away. He is in detention. They have not filed formal charges yet, but they are investigating something about a forged check. They have given him his phone back, but he has kept the ringer on silence so the authorities will not know who is calling him. He asked me to e-mail you for a telephone line that he can call and access directly because he doesn't know when he'll be able to make a private call. For some reason, the numbers on the caller ID are not working numbers and he cannot return the calls.

Please respond urgently. We are in desperate need of money. All of the company's and Richard's personal assets have been seized by the Homeland Security Department. They are also monitoring the business phone, so do not call there as the receptionist doesn't know anything about what's going on. The fewere who know the better.

I can visit Richard at 10 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow. Please respond with a good working phone number that I can relay to him.

--Trudy

=====================================

Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 21:11:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: YOUR ASSISTENCE GREATLY NEEDED
To: "ken smith"


Mr. Smith: Why won't you answer my e-mails. Richard is still in detention but they have not let me see him today. I think they may have moved him out of town. Now that I read your e-mails to him, I have to wonder if you were sincere in hiring him for your daughter's birthday party or if you have had a hand in his recent legal trouble. Unless you can help me get him out of detention, he won't be able to help you send the money to the photographer for his journey and he certainly won't be able to do your daughter's birthday party.

Please respond promptly. Our lives may depend on it.

Sincerely

Trudy Dujour

=====================================

Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 15:05:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: "ken smith" Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: YOUR ASSISTENCE GREATLY NEEDED
To: BossClown@clownflower.com




The Clown Show ,
thanks for ur mail please i have contacted mine lawyer over this case so he says he would handle the matter by himself and he has not yet given me the feed back of what happen . please have a little patience for me to handle the situation .
thanks


=======================================

Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 17:00:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: Re: YOUR ASSISTENCE GREATLY NEEDED
To: "ken smith"


Well, just to inform you, the check your client sent to me has been refused to be cashed. It's a good thing I didn't send the money because I would be in even deeper trouble than I am now.

I have spent four days being harshly questioned by federal agents. This is very difficult for me as you can imagine. I am just a children's entertainer. I didn't bargain for this. Not only the humiliation and embarrassment of such matters, but also in that the legal fees are going to send me into bankruptcy, even though I have been exonerated of all charges. I don't know what to do.

What kind of business are you engaged in, Mr. Smith, if I may ask? I am a very good writer and have a lot of experience not only in entertainment, but also as a writer-for-hire. I have ghost-written many books and magazine articles (some for very important and famous people), advertising and promotional materials, television programs and major motion pictures.

Sincerely,
Richard Jones

=====================================

Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 09:30:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Clown Show" View Contact Details
Subject: You still owe me
To: "ken smith"


I have still not received payment for the clown show I performed for your daughter's birthday party. Please send $800 to:



CLOWNFLOWER ALLEY

PO BOX 13311

HAMILTON OH USA

45013



It has been over three months since we did this show. You assured me that you were an honest and straightforward man. Please do not force me to take this to the courts. I have saved copies of all of our e-mail interactions and would surely prevail.



Sincerely,

Richard Jones



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?