We were asked by a client to check out her business partner. She indicated that she was starting to have some questions about him, and he had an answer for everything she asked. The story starts like this.
Our client met her business partner, the male subject, known as John Frederick Michaels, at a business networking event at an upscale hotel in Denver, Colorado. Within 30 minutes of their meeting, the subject felt compelled to share a story from his past on how he lost his 4 year old daughter in a traffic accident. He indicated that his ex-wife was driving their daughter and looked down to look at her phone causing a traffic accident which tragically took the life of his daughter. This happened in October of 2006, but he was unable to recall the exact date that his daughter died as he had â€œburied it in the back of his mindâ€. The conversation eventually lead to talk of business and the subject stated that he had a patent for a business which could make a great deal of money and he was looking for somebody to assist in this business venture. According to anybody you talk to, he had a great business plan and was likely to make money on this idea. He also talks of a 40 acre ranch in Oregon that he was forced to sell upon the divorce of his wife Kimberly.
Our client decided to listen to him and looking for a new business venture, she also thought this looked like a good idea. The subject asked the client to file the business name and checking account for the business in her name as he had some financial problems in the past with some business partners. She did so, however was a little suspicious. As time went on the subject had more and more questionable things in his life. He allegedly turned in his out of state license to the local DMV, however they held his new license, saying they could not give it to him yet. He also had his wallet stolen, and therefore had no other identification on him. He had no vehicle and received no mail and went by the name John Michaels. Keep in mind, he dressed the part and talked the part of a successful businessman and had a list of accomplishments in business that he rattled off as quickly as he rattled off his social security number (a whole issue in itself). He stated that he had lost all of his money in his last business venture, but the current idea was sure to be a hit and make a lot of money. Since he had no money, identification, credit cards, our client offered him a very short term place to stay in her basement. As their business relationship grew, John was looking to bring in investors, LOTS of investors. In fact his ultimate goal was to raise $25 million in capital from any investors who wanted to make money. Our client was able to arrange meetings with several investors one of which would bring $250,000 to the table in just a few months. This investor was a personal friend of our client, so her reputation was even more on the line.
Our client started getting more and more suspicious and called us in to check him out, without letting him know. We started by contacting the local sheriff/police in the small town where his daughter was allegedly killed and an 18 year veteran of the force in this small town, said there was no record of the accident on file, but more importantly, he did not remember any such incident and he certainly would have remembered an accident like that. The next step was to contact the local newspaper and the same results. No such story on file and nobody remembered this incident. John had also given a previous address in Seattle, WA, where he said he had resided. The actual address does not exist and the area where the address would be, was completely warehouses, not residences.
Our client already knew the date of birth that he had stated repeatedly was his, so we ran searches on his name, date of birth, and area of the country that he was from, etc, but could not find him as a real person. So we decided it was time to up the ante. We offered up a phony investor who was willing to chip in $500,000 to this endeavor, but insisted on background checks on both principals of the company (our client and the subject). We told our client to go into a meeting with the John all excited because she had secured this large investment and the only thing the investor wanted was to make sure who they were dealing with. We even told her to tell John that they already did a background check on her and they didnâ€™t even find a minor incident in her past, so that he might feel more comfortable with giving up his information. So he rattles off the date of birth that he had provided all along, a social security number and out of state driverâ€™s license number. She even made sure he double checked the social security number. She texted us the social security number while she was sitting with him in the meeting and within minutes we texted our client back, telling her that the social security number goes to a woman in the western United States. So we had our suspicions, but now we are certain, if John is talking he is lying. We continued conducting searches with all of the other information that he provided and nothing came back as verifiable.
Now for a legitimate businessman, he subsequently made a very odd request of our client. â€œDonâ€™t give the social security number to the investor until I say it is OK.â€ He was unaware that she was actually running her own check and there was no real investor for this meeting.
In the meantime, since she was getting suspicious she had him leave her residence and he moved into the basement of the residence of a friend of our client. All along, he still has no vehicle so depends on our client for every ride to every business meeting, etc. Our client even allowed him to keep and use her daughterâ€™s laptop (on a temporary basis) at his new location.
So now we are sure we have a scam artist, but donâ€™t know his name and therefore cannot identify any possible warrants or criminal history. The fact of the matter is that at this point, he has also committed no crime that could be proven as the only thing he is guilty of, is giving our client, his business partner, false identifiers on himself. To this point no money has changed hands from the investors. Our client is out money that she has used to pay for events to promote the company, company material and our clientâ€™s daughter built the web site for a fee. We do have a photo of him from LinkedIn where he claims to be a CEO at Propell America.
Since we know what is about to happen, but no crime has been committed, it was extremely difficult to get anybody to do anything. We started with the FBI and after meeting with them for about an hour, they were sure he was a scam artist, but could not pursue since no crime has been committed. They also believed it would be a better fit on a more local level with the county. A huge hurdle on this case is that John could collect money from investors, but no crime has been committed until after he has disappeared with the money and does not pay it back. By then he is a ghost. Our next stop was the county sheriffâ€™s department who referred us to the county DAâ€™s office.
There we met a wonderful lady who is an investigator for the DAâ€™s office and she could also clearly see that a scam was about to be committed. She wanted so badly to catch John, however once again, since no crime has actually occurred, there was not much they could do. We even offered to get fingerprints if they could run them, but without an actual case, that would appear as an impropriety on their part. We told her all along, we do not want special favors as everything has to be done by the book.
At this point we know our client is going to get out of this business venture so that she does not look like the one involved in the scam, but bravely she hung in there and played the part, until we could gather information to identify who John really is. But every attempt to do that has been met with lies, so now it was time to tell John what we know.
Another preliminary meeting was set up with a male from the company who was helping find investors and the male investor who was scheduled to bring $250,000 to this venture in a month. However this time, both of these people were informed on what we knew or what we suspected. Therefore this investor was to ask John for the same identifiers before he was going to move forward with business. Once again John made a very odd statement if he was a legitimate businessman. On the way to this meeting, with two other males that he already knew from previous meetings, he said, â€œThis sounds like a set up.â€
The plan was for this meeting to take place approx 20 miles from the basement where John was staying, and if he did not give identifiers that could be verified, our client and the other two males that she was with, were going to leave John at that location without a ride. This did not go exactly according to plan as another call was SUPPOSED to be made to us to verify the information that John provided, while all four of them were at the table. However during the conversations that call got shoved aside and was never made until the other two males were gone, leaving our female client with John. She called us and he gave the exact same identifiers that he had previously. While she was on the phone with us, we told her that the social security number went to a woman and not John. He could be heard in the background in an elevated voice, telling our client to get off the phone so he could explain. We told her emphatically not to get off the phone and step into the nearest office where there are other people around while we called local authorities on another line, telling them what was going on and the fact that at this time there was a loud argument taking place. While the authorities dispatched a vehicle to the location, our client walked into an office building, and surprisingly enough (said tounge in cheek), knowing the authorities were coming, John vanished and did not follow our client into the building.
Our client is still on the phone when the authorities arrive so now we have to wonder if John has actually got cash on him (after claiming poverty) or any other means to get back to the residence where he was staying and cause any problems to the female at that location. We placed a phone call to the investigator at the county District Attorneyâ€™s office and she was out the door before we could hang up, headed toward the residence. She spent much of the afternoon at the residence and John had the audacity to call the female at this residence, asking for her to come pick him up, but NOT to say anything to our client.
During the search of this residence, the District Attorney investigator found information on another potential victim, but that victim had not YET lost money, to give them a crime to pursue. This potential victim had also hired a private investigator to check out John. The laptop, which belongs to the daughter of our client had a password lock on it, that John put on it. However our clientâ€™s daughter being extremely talented, was able to get into the laptop. Believe it or not, one of the searches that was found on the laptop, a search that John would have done was â€œJohn Michaels Scam Artist.â€ Yes John was trying to see if there was any information on him on the internet and he described himself as a scam artist.
At this point, we know where John is waiting for a ride and can have him picked up, if only we knew of a crime he committed, any warrants, etc. However none of these things existed. He continued to call the resident wondering where his ride was, so finally our creative District Attorney investigator got on the phone and told John who she was and said if he wanted to get his clothes, he could come by the District Attorneyâ€™s office, but be prepared to show a verifiable identification or get fingerprinted.
Â In the days following these events, the room where John was staying was thoroughly searched and located between the mattress and box spring, were several forms of identification. In that information there was an Oregon identification card which showed â€œJohnâ€™sâ€ picture and an actual name of Fred Leroy Allman with the date of birth that he had given all along of 9-26-19xx. There were also various credit cards and business cards showing the names of John Hinman and Robert Overton. Upon doing some digging on Fred Leroy Allman, we found that his motherâ€™s name was Charlene and his ex-wife is Kimberly, which are both facts that he had indicated all along, although providing a different last name. The social security number that he had provided had two digits in the sequence which were changed and it is believed that he has used approximately 10 different social security numbers four different dates of birth in the past. On the number he provided for his Oregon driverâ€™s license number, he changed one number from his actual Oregon identification card number. We have found that he had previously been charged with felony identity theft and felony credit card fraud amongst numerous other things.
So please forward this information to anybody and everybody, especially in the Denver, Colorado area before he scams somebody else.
Real name: Fred Leroy Allman
Aliasâ€™s used: John Frederick Michaels, John Hinman & Robert Overton