Journal from a federal prison – Day Twenty-Two

 

August 30th

Luck must be on my side. An old man was scammed of $5,000 and his son found out and went to the police. Hearing that the 70-year-old man was defrauded was the best news I ever received. What a blessing.

When the police investigated the scam, they found that the scammer used the same email address and form letter that I originally received from “Emmanuel.” They were able to track down the Western Union office where Emmanuel (real name: Joseph) received the money, then set up a sting there five days later. When Joseph went to collect money sent from the sting Nigerian forces tracked him from the Western Union branch to an office downtown, where they arrested him and five other people. Joseph and one other person arrested were in the LRA video which police thought proved I was recruiting child soldiers for a genocidal militia. Police took a laptop from the office and found the LRA video as well as another of a woman with a fake cast begging for money to cover medical expenses and a man with a judge’s robe (???) explaining how the Central Bank of Burkina Faso is holding his money until he can find an international investor to his business. The man in the judge’s robe was in the LRA video too.

I’m free. Several people from my video were caught red-handed in fraud schemes and had been in Lagos during the time they swore they were in Uganda.

I wish I had something cool to say about the whole experience. Something Bruce Willis or Danny Trejo would say in a movie. “If I could have done it over, I just would have done it slower,” or something like that. It’s true though, mostly. If I could do it over I would probably not recruit for the LRA. Maybe I would just have Emmanuel get a tattoo of a fish.

Tonight I’ll head back to Picante and beg for my job back. Lots of people plan big things they’ll do when they get out of jail – what they’ll eat first, where they’ll go and stuff like that. I just need a job. Without money I can’t eat or go anywhere.

Tomorrow, I’ll get back to scamming scammers. The Church of the Holy Mackerel is short on members.


Monday, August 28th.

Details of the LRA joke are coming out in the news. The other prisoners aren’t as friendly as they were last week. Malone and Fitz were relentless today. My defense attorney looks like a deer trapped in headlights.

It wasn’t a great day.


Tuesday, August 30th

More of the same today. Fitz and Malone asked me a ton of questions about stuff I know nothing about – command structure of the LRA, weapons, all that. My lawyer told me he might have good news for me but nothing was certain yet. He told me not to plead anything and to give it another week. He thinks he has a real ID on Emmanuel, and if we can prove that Emmanuel has never been to Uganda and doesn’t run a murderous cult I can get out of here.


 

This journal is getting pretty long. I guess when you have nothing to do but write it kind of happens. In case you don’t want to read 50 pages to get the gist I’ll recap everything here.

Week one was a tale as old as time. Instead of an alarm clock, I’m woken up by a swat team dragging my face against the floor. When I wake up again I’m in prison being interrogated by Special Agent Malone, who doesn’t like it when you call him Malone. We talked about my life leading up to that day and what made me decide to scam email scammers. The email “scam” was one where I baited Nigerian scammers into making asses of themselves while trying to rob me. We call this 419 baiting or scambaiting. Seeing Korea vets lose their savings to fake charities and fake kids put me over the edge. It started my current disaster.

In week two I met Special Agent Fitzgerald. Him and Malone teamed up to be Bad Cop, Bad Cop. Malone claimed I had impersonated an FBI agent in an email scam. On Friday I found out that impersonating an FBI agent was the least of my problems: I was arrested on terrorism charges, including recruiting child soldiers and running a theocratic militia. It wasn’t a very good week.

In week three we discussed the beginning of my relationship with “Emmanuel — real name unknown — a man who I decided to recruit into the fictitious Church of the Holy Mackerel as a way to waste his time and have fun with him. The more time he wastes with me, the less time he has to scam others.

Week four was where things really went wrong. To make a long story short, I recruited Emmanuel into Lord’s Resistance Army, a very real, very dangerous theocratic militia recruiting child soldiers to fight a battle against several governments in Central Africa. I knoew that Emmanuel had no intention to join, but his recruitment videos told several government agencies otherwise. I guess I could have been smarter about the whole thing.

 

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