It has been 15 years!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
It has been 15 years since the bombing of Oklahoma City federal building.   A couple of months ago I went to Oklahoma for a case I was working on.  I was rushed to make a long drive from Oklahoma City to my destination and I almost skipped the  visit to the site of the bombing.  I am very thankful I made the time to stop by.

   It was cold, windy and lonely with few other people present.
   Like so many things in life, it is much different in person than how I imagined it. 
 After walking the grounds and seeing the empty chairs (one for every victim), 
I found the chain link fence.  I learned that the fence was a place where people started leaving items after the bombing and was never meant to be part of the official exhibit - but it was later decided that it was a true reflection of what people felt in those days and weeks that followed.     

I was able to make the last tour through the interactive museum before closing.  Audio recordings of the bombing and police radio traffic, TV news clips and personal affects from the offices made for a very personal experience.  
It reminded me how precious life really is, and how quickly it can end.   It also reminded me of the spirit so many of us have within us - that at a time of crisis, we do what is needed to help.  Self preservation and comfort took a back seat to helping search for and save others.
The spray painted wall, another "left over" from the days that followed really seems to sum up my feelings after viewing the bombing site.  

The Craig's List Scam

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Last year Garrett asked for a bunk bed and brother (must be 3 to 4 years old and named Jack) for his birthday, so we have been working on both.  The brother is another story hopefully soon.

Well the other day I found the bunk bed  I was wanting on Craig's list, it came with a double on the bottom and twin on top.   

So we decided to sell his old twin bed on Craig's list too.

The first day, we had about 5 different people interested in seeing it, but the first one was this woman named Amy Vocu.

Here is how the emails started:

Did you still have the item? and still for sale
Amy Vocu

Yes, just the bed, no mattresses.

Thanks for the prompt response to my mail.
I will be buying from you so please kindly withdraw the advert from C..LIST.
Please be informed that i will be paying with a certified check from my Bank
as i just moved here from Aspen Hill Of Maryland on a job transfer..I will
need the following details to mail the payment as soon as possible.
1.Name to be on the payment ______2.Home address________City_________
State _____________ Zip Code________________3.Cell phone#______________
I will make arrangements for the pick up as soon as you have your money
I am completely satisfied with the advert and the payment will be delivered
within 2-3? working days.** I use a hearing impaired phone # and will
receive your calls via email ** Amy Vocu

We thought it sounded fishy but figured we should keep an open mind.  It's not like we were going to give her the bed without knowing that the check had cleared and all our mail goes to a P.O. box. What is the harm in giving out Ivan's cell phone number since he routinely gives it out to criminals. So Ivan wrote her back and took the listing off Craig's list.

Hi Amy- plz confirm when the $ will be delivered so that I can verify removal of the bed from the listing. Thx.

Thank you, the check will be sent to you, once you have the money, i will
make the pick up arrangements
Thank you

So today he got this email stating this:

Please,you have been sent a check for the payment of the item i am
buying from ya, but there is a little mistake on the check sent to
you.You are supposed to be sent an exact  amount of the item i am
buying from you,But they sent me a notification that they have sent
you a check with the sum of $2,550 and that was because they
misinterpreted me. (like banks really mistake $200 for $2,550)
Please Let me trust you here, when you receive the check, kindly help
me have it cashed and send the excess amount wired back to my movers
via western union money transfer,they need the money to make some pick
ups of some other home items i bought from different locations and
also make a payment for a car i bought too.
So please get back to me asap and let me know you will help me have
the money sent to them Via Western Union Money that i can
have a rest of mind, I am really worried
thank  ya so much, God Bless, you shall see favour when you need too
Thank ya   Amy Vocu

Ivan called to tell me about the email, we both got a good laugh and he emailed her back

Hi Amy - I am so sorry to hear of the mixup. I will help. Ivan

Thanks for your concern,i am no longer worried since i have heard from ya.just let me know as soon as you get the check  Amy Vocu

And Ivan did help:

He has turned over the info to the financial crimes unit to track.   Once we get the check in, they will figure out what is really going on.  They said most of time the people who do this don't get caught because they are out of country (Nigeria and Canada are the biggest cases) but we can find out whose identity they have stolen so that victim does not find $2,550 removed from their account.

The criminals ask people to remove the listing from Craig's list so they can track to see if they are caught.  If we re-list the item, they know they were busted and that we are not going to cash the check.  But if the listing does not go back up, they think that we are going to help them out.   If they only spent this much time on a real job.

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