Thursday, February 28, 2008
I'm Rich, Take 3
As those of you who have hacked into Evil Editor's email account are aware, I've received yet another request for assistance in withdrawing money from a foreign bank. Last time this happened, you'll recall I ended up flying to Ghana in hopes of bribing a bank teller into getting me my money. Didn't go well. Turns out the bank tellers in Ghana are heavily armed, and are far more interested--and persuasive--when it comes to deposits than they are with regard to withdrawals. Who knew?
Having been encouraged to let my money in Ghana continue earning interest (along with an additional deposit I couldn't resist making thanks to highly favorable rates of return) I made my way home and this morning found the following email in my in-box:
Your Kind Assistance!!!
Greetings of the day to you, although you may be skeptical receiving this email as we have not met before,I am Mr. Elvis K.W.Stojko(Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer)of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd.,nevertheless I have a business proposition involving the sum of $24,500,000.00 usd in my bank which I know we will be of mutual benefit to both of us, and I believe we can handle together, once we have a common understanding and mutual cooperation in the execution of the modalities. Should you be interested, please forward the following to me:
3.Private phone number,
4.Current residential address.
Via this email address: [address deleted to keep others from trying to beat me to this opportunity.]
Your earliest response to this mail will be highly appreciated.
I was slightly annoyed that Stojko had forced me to look up "modalities," but not so annoyed that I deleted the email. The best thing about computers is that you can cut and paste a word into Dictionary.com and save yourself a walk to the bookshelf and the heavy lifting involved in using the unabridged version.
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have noted two major--and agreeable--differences between this correspondence and my previous ones:
1. This one includes no sob story about the original owner of the money and all his living relatives dying in a natural disaster or a freak bobsled accident. I like that. Straight to the point. Let the dead rest in peace; let us get our hands on their money.
2. 24.5 million dollars is nearly twice my highest previous offer. Given that the bank employee always seems to want at least half the money, for just doing his job, and that there's probably a huge tax bill on the interest the money has been earning, an account of a mere three or four million would be worth squat by the time I got my share. But 24.5 million, that's enough, I thought, to make me and Uncle Sam and this Stojko guy happy, especially if I can talk Stojko down to ten percent.
As with my previous correspondents, I took the precaution of Googling the banker's name. There's always the possibility that Googlitivity will reveal a newspaper article about a Hong Kong automobile accident in which your correspondent was killed, and then you're back to square one.
The first six or seven Googlations were all about Elvis Stojko, Canadian figure skater. I had to hope this wasn't my man, as figure skaters are notoriously brutal in financial matters. Who can forget the time a prominent figure skater hired a goon to bash in her opponent's knee with a lead pipe in the conservatory? Also, why do so many violent crimes seem to take place in the conservatory? And what is a conservatory?
Anyway, as I scanned down the Googlations, I came to two links to letters from my same correspondent. These letters, interestingly, were far more detailed than the one I'd received. They told the story of an Iraqi general who'd been making monthly deposits, and whose entire family had been killed in a bomb blast. In one of the letters it was General Bastaan, and in the other it was General Ismael. Understandable. When you're dealing with this kind of money, you don't want to reveal real names.
The only other difference in the letters was that in the more detailed letters, Stojko didn't ask for the recipient's occupation. In mine, he did. Why the decision to add this line to my letter, when he had subtracted so much other information? Then it hit me: if it turned out my occupation was government mail fraud investigator, he was planning to call off the deal. Clever.
I emailed him back offering two grand (it's always best to offer less than you're willing to pay, so they feel like they put one over on you when they talk you up to five or ten grand). I'll keep you informed.