Some criminals are so creative it makes you wonder what they could have accomplished had they used their talents in a legitimate way.
What got me thinking about that was a West Virginia man who was recently sentenced to prison for perpetrating a fraud against owners of timeshare properties.
His basic approach was pretty straightforward: He contacted timeshare owners and told them he had a buyer lined up for their investments. Of course they would have to send in some money to cover certain fees and expenses.
There are always fees and expenses, and the fraudster raked in a bundle from victims eager to unload their timeshares, which sounded like good investments at the time they bought them.
Here’s where the guy put on his thinking cap and added a new wrinkle to the standard timeshare scam. He began telling people that he was an agent who could offer assistance to timeshare owners who were cheated out of their money by con artists pulling the same scam he was also doing.
To make it sound official, the name of the business made victims think that he was a civil servant working for a government agency, namely the Internal Revenue Service. That would inspire trust in people, right?
Of course the spinoff scam required that victims send in money to cover those pesky fees and expenses.
Very smart and very sneaky. The guy’s operation would be difficult to believe if it weren’t true.
New twist on a swindle
The new twist on the basic timeshare swindle was also a financial success. Con victims gladly doubled down on their original mistake and sent money to a crook.
Give the guy credit. He came up with a profitable and unique way to expand his business. It was illegal to be sure, but that is what he knew.
He also deserves kudos for having an abundance of nerve and gall. What he did reminds you of the proverbial killer who murdered his parents then asked the judge for mercy because he was an orphan.
The lesson to be learned from this innovative businessman is that there is always a way to grow your business and branch out into new territory. Just make sure you stay on the right side of the law.