Art scammers Helen Waters of Jacksonville, Florida and Janice Shaw of Savannah, Tennessee broke at least three laws trying to scam my artist friend in an art fraud.
Conspiracy to defraud, U.S. postal fraud, and intent to commit wire fraud are serious felonies that can lead to prison sentences.
While the scam was still in progress, I telephoned the Savannah Police Department and explained that I had identified two real-name scam artists in the midst of perpetrating their crimes; that I possessed a paper trail and various identifiers, including a genuine Wells Fargo bank account; that they (the police), would have an opportunity to apprehend one of the culprits in their jurisdiction if they were interested in taking it over and running a sting.
I was told a Sergeant Snelling would phone me back.
Three days later I'm still waiting.
So, on the basis that two of the crimes are federal, I telephoned the FBI field office in Knoxville, Tennessee.
After about five minutes of multiple automated recordings offering various options, a real human being referred me to a website (www.ic3.gov) to file a complaint by Internet.
Consider that website the trash icon of your computer screen.
Or, as one seasoned PI who'd offered the FBI a high-profile Internet fraud case on a silver platter put it, "They completely ignored me."
So I phoned Western Union's Fraud Hotline and, after a number of automated recordings, connected to a person who seemed not to have a clue about anything, least of all fraud or security.
After hearing me out about snaring a scam-in-progress involving his company, he said, "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do."
A perfect trifecta.