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Big Island Police Warning Folks of Scams

Big Island police are warning the public about two mail scams.

The first scam was reported by a Hilo resident who received a letter claiming to be from Reader’s Digest.


The letter claims the recipient has won a lump sum payout of $500,000. A check for $3,000 is enclosed, along with a number to call for instructions. The letter contains many spelling and grammatical errors.

When police called the number, the person answering asked a number of personal financial questions. He then gave specific instructions on how to cash the check and send the money via Western Union. The person identified himself as “Mr. York” and spoke with a heavy foreign accent.

In the other mail scam, a Hilo resident received a letter from a purported insurance company about a recently deceased relative. The letter claimed that money was being held from an insurance policy belonging to the deceased. It asked that a Federal Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (W9) form be filled out, along with a copy of the recipient’s driver’s license, and faxed to a number printed on the letter.

These letters are different variations of the same scam, all designed to attempt to get the recipient to cash the check and send the money back, or give out personal financial information. The checks are fraudulent, so the person who responds by cashing the check will suffer financial loss.

Police caution the public not to respond to suspicious letters especially any requesting personal or financial information. The public should also be aware that many of these scams originate from foreign countries, and recovery of stolen funds for victims of these scams is highly unlikely.

Volcano Man Convicted of Attempting to Defraud the United States, Commit Wire Fraud & Blackmail, Plus Witness Tampering

A federal jury in San Jose on Tuesday convicted a Hawaiian businessman of fraud in a tax return scam that involved a South Bay office, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Eric Aaron Lighter, 61, was found guilty of 17 total counts, including conspiracies to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud and blackmail, plus witness tampering.

Lighter’s National Trust Services in Volcano, Hawaii, marketed and sold “abusive trust packages” and understated his clients’ federal income tax liabilities starting in the 1990s before he was indicted in March 2009, federal prosecutors said.

His co-conspirator, Samuel Fung, was a return preparer who maintained an office in San Jose and referred clients, including some in the Bay Area, to Lighter…

More Here: South Bay Jury Convicts Hawaiian in Tax Scam

Big Island Resident Feels Cheated Out of Pepsi Contest

Quite a few Big Island Residents have applied for funding from the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Yesterday the Three Ring Ranch on the Big Island stated on their  Facebook account:

OK everyone the really big news is the upcoming articles in the NY Times and Chicago Tribune. Be sure you read them sitting down!

So sitting down I read what was up… and it appears they feel cheated by the Pepsi Contest due to some unethical online voting system.

I know for a fact that I was receiving many emails from the Three Ring Ranch asking me to support them in the Pepsi Contest but now apparently they feel cheated out of the national contest:

“…I feel like we were cheated out of a win,” said Ann Goody, a founder of the Three Ring Ranch, an exotic-animal sanctuary in Kona, Hawaii, that participated in the contest for many months. “We worked our hearts out with e-mails, phone calls, Facebook, kids handing out candy canes at Wal-Mart and then we find out our win was stolen from us by people breaking the rules…”

You can read the entire article from the NY Times Here: New Charges of Cheating Tarnish Pepsi Fund-Raising Contest for Non-Profits.

The Social Blade Show Where We Discussed the @AlohaArleen Scam

I just found out that the Social Blade Show that I was on regarding the bust of @AlohaArleen was uploaded to youtube and is now available for viewing:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaxwZCl8cMA&hl=en_US&fs=1]

I come in after they talk about the incident.

I’m amazed that she is still on Twitter and still has people following her each and everyday!

Fishing With @AlohaArleen

Drawing by Roger Knowlton, Arleen Anderson's Ex-Boyfriend

Drawing by Roger Knowlton, Arleen Anderson's Ex-Boyfriend

And if you don’t remember:

Where’s the Aloha Arleen?

Aloha Arleen… Your Account is Closed

Well I mentioned that a friend of mine on the Big Island had two checks written to him by @alohaarleen and he wasn’t able to get them cashed.

Folks have asked me, why the checks didn’t have a stamp on them.  As I tried to explain, he wasn’t able to get them processed directly at the bank.

Well it appears he finally just deposited them into a bank machine or something and he got the following back from the bank mentioning that her bank account IS CLOSED:

arleen3

 

I see there is 12 checks written between the check numbers of the two of them… I wonder who else she ripped off?

The Salty Droid on @AlohaArleen

Aloha Arleen {and GoodBye} (CLICK FOR DETAILS)

Aloha Arleen {and GoodBye} (CLICK FOR DETAILS)

My $.02 Cents on The Social Blade Show

Today I was a guest on The Social Blade Show.

This of course stems from my blogging about the @AlohaArleen scandal.  Which coincidentally, she failed to show up on the show… however, she did send in a message that she wrote out and had one of the hosts read.

You can hear her message hear… It doesn’t amount to anything but her saying she won’t engage with us.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaxwZCl8cMA&hl=en&fs=1&]

I’d like to thank Bruce Fisher as well as Roger Knowlton for being on the show and verifying my story.

Where’s the Aloha… Arleen (II)

Well I mentioned the other day that the infamous Twitter user named @alohaarleen scammed the Special Olympics organization of South Dakota, her Ex Boyfriend, as well as comedian @andybumatai.

Well today I was at the Big Island Internet Society Meet and Greet at Big Island Pizza and someone walked up to me and said… “You know what, AlohaArleen scammed me as well”.

He then showed me these two checks that he has not been able to cash:

Arleen Check 1

And this small check which was just to cover some basic expenses that he also cannot get cashed.

Arleen Check 2

After looking at the checks that were presented here on page 6 of this document and looking at the signatures, I have no doubt that it’s the same person.

I also have talked to a few other folks that have talked about how bogus she is.

Where’s the Aloha… Arleen?

Arleen Anderson AKA @AlohaArleen

Aloha Arleen Anderson

10/15/09 UPDATE:

Checks were presented to the bank again and the account is closed:

Win Essay House and Weird Ties to Castle House?

I received the following email from a friend  a  few months ago and I figure since the Win Essay House contest people are now starting to target us locally… I’ll throw this out on the table for anyone that wants to look it over

I’m pretty much tired of this whole gambit but it’s a slow news day and I feel the need to let folks know what could… or could not be going on:

I did a little research on the Castle guys; they have a blog , and it looks like this post

Friday, November 21, 2008

FINISHING THE CASTLE

Fact: this project (THE CASTLE) has been five plus years in the making.
Fact: it is no secret that the money to finish this project is tied up in another project, a “work of art” the builder, my husband (Castle John-more on nicknames in a future post) created. This “other” project was completed at the beginning of this year JUST as the real estate market took a dive.

Everyone is always asking, “when will the castle be finished?” My answer, “my crystal ball broke” or “how much money are you willing to give or lend?”

I’ve been focused on trying to discover the vehicle that would enable us to finish the castle.
It’s on our vision board. My obsessive and constant thought: be creative, pro-active, daring. I wish we could raffle off this “work of art” (we call it the sweetheart cottage or gingerbread house). Actually, I saw a “piece” on TV on a couple who did just that in Maryland. Well, no, we cannot. That’s illegal in Hawaii – unless you are a non-profit organization. Then an attorney told me a contest of skill is LEGAL. Ok, fine… I’m developing a plan. A brainstorm. My husband would say, “be careful, it’s in a strange place.” A solution and an answer to a prayer. We will give the home as a grand prize. Without forgetting to give back to the community. After much soul-searching we decided to benefit the future – the children. Our local schools are so much in need during this time of “budget cuts”. And in exchange for this gift, kokua (help) from them – Judges! Perfect – teachers (and especially retired teachers who HAVE time) will be the judges for the contest of skill. An essay contest. Essay 101. The teachers “judge” essays and give grades all the time! Tithing as well. We believe (the builder and I) that tithing is a no-brainer. This won’t be easy, but it will be soooooo worth it! Stay tuned. It’s gonna be big! The idea is filling my heart with aloha as I type. I’m blessed-out anew.

So check out the sweetheart cottage – imagine winning it for $101!

…shows when they came up with the contest idea, but questions still remain:

– Is their B&B is licensed? (A few calls to the county should get the answer). If not, shining a light on that ought to make ’em squirm a little.

– I sent an email yesterday from the essay site requesting the TMK # for the ‘cottage’, but no reply.

– They claim their names are ‘Sherri Smith‘ and ‘John Williams‘, but there are no owners of any Kalapana Seaview Estates (KSVE) properties with those names. Knowing approximately where the ‘castle’ is, I used some TMK maps and my MLS program to figure out where these properties are.

– The properties (Castle & Cottage) are owned by Robert & Melody Williams of 641 Undercliff Dr. in Hazelwood, MO…so are they the parents of one of the essay people? Or the kids? Or aliases? I don’t know…

The “Castle” TMK 3-1-2-34-16 (click the TMK# to see the Public Record info, and look at the attached Castle Building Permit.pdf file to see what permits the county has on record). Interesting to note that the tax record for this property shows “Robert Williams, a married man…in Hazelwood, MO as the owner).

The “Cottage” TMK 3-1-2-41-8 (click the TMK# to see the Public Record info, and look at the attached Cottage Building Permit.pdf file to see what permits the county has on record). The tax record for this property shows “Robert & Melody Williams” of the same Hazelwood, MO address as the ‘castle’ owners, yet the building permit shows “John Williams” as the “lessee” of the property.

The final inspection / approval for the construction was issued 2/12/2008, however the Public Record data does indicate any dwelling and it seems as though they aren’t being assessed / taxed properly yet.

But that’s not the strangest part…the vacant lot (before the cottage was built on it) was listed for sale in Jan. 2006 for $50K, then withdrawn from the market after 90 days (on 4/21/2006) when it didn’t sell; then less than 2 months later on June 5, 2006 it sold for $50K to “Casey Francis”, with a simultaneous transfer (the same day) to Robert Williams for $250,000 !!!!! WTF? (the deed was actually signed by “John Williams” who apparently had power-of-attorney to sign it).

A vacant lot has NEVER sold in Seaview for that much, let alone one like the cottage is on….Lots nearby the cottage were selling for $50-$60K in 2006, and are currently for sale in the $20-$50k range….something is very strange about that sale…it could be an typo / error, but I don’t know. Money laundering? Maybe there’s nothing to it, but it sure is weird.

The cottage is way up at the top of Seaview, backing up to State land. (Picture cut off due to blog format)

So here’s where it gets really bizarre..I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before…and it kind of makes the whole “essay contest” look like flat-out FRAUD: Once I figured out what TMK it is, I searched for any listings on the property, and guess what? The house has been listed for sale on the MLS since September 10, 2008 (over 4 months)  for $445,000! (It’s ridiculously overpriced….my guess is that it would appraise for only $250-$300K)

Sherri did say on KGMB9 that the house has “been on the market for about a year” (maybe they were trying to sell it “by owner” before listing it in September), and is clearly currently for sale on the MLS…so that means that any day — today, tomorrow, whenever — someone could make an offer and actually BUY the house (and everybody who entered the “contest of skill” would have wasted their fucking time & money). I can find no mention of this on the contest website, nor in any of the BIW or blog articles, nor on ScamWick’s website. The fact that they haven’t disclosed the “active-for-sale” MLS listing seems like a serious issue….(maybe I’m wrong and I’ve missed some “disclaimer” somewhere? See if you can find anything).

Not to mention the fact that the MLS listing doesn’t mention anything about the “contest” either!

MLS # Tp St DOM Taxkey Tnr Price Display Location Land area Details Listed by
204480 RS A 11 3-1-2-41-8 FS $445,000 Kalapana Sea View Estates Lot #:254 7,500 sqft 1,296 3/2 Rachel M Nack – R(S) / Aloha Coast Realty, LLC

Click on blue camera icon to see the photos….

MLS DataMLS DATA: Residential Property MLS # 204480
Property Type: Residential TMK # 3-1-2-41-8 Status: Active DOM:11 Price: $445,000
Address: 12-6989  KAMOAMOA ST Tenure: Fee simple
Sub/Neigh: Kalapana Sea View Estates Zoning: A-1A Land Area: 7,500 sqft
Block: Lot: 254 District: Puna Easement:
Utilities: Catchment Water, Overhead Electric, Telephone Service Flood Zone: X
Waste Disposal: Septic Roads: County, Paved
Schools: Check with BOE Record Sys.:
PROPERTY DESCRIPTORS
Bedrooms: 3 Addl Rooms: Dining Area, *See Remarks, Work Space Year built: 2008 Pool:None
Baths: 2.00 Living Area : 1,296 Other Area: Disclosure Form: Yes
Exterior: Lanai Exterior Area: 960 View: Golf Frontage: No
Inclusions: Ceiling Fan, Dryer, Disposal, Drive, Dishwasher, Floor Tile, Laundry, Refrigerator, Range, Rock Walls, Storage Area, Smoke/Heat Detector, Security, Washer Oceanfront: No
Design: 1Story Exterior Finish: *See Remarks Roof: *See Remarks
Car Storage: Garage Garage/CP Size: 400 Substructure: Post & Pier Basement Type:
Remarks: The brand new “Sweetheart Cottage” is an exceptionally crafted custom home with many features and amenities that are bound to impress you.

Located the very back of Seaview Estates in a lovely setting, this 3 bedroom/2 bath home has 1,296 sq ft of living space plus a garage with workshop AND a 960 sq ft lanai to enjoy your indoor/outdoor living. This is a one-of-kind property that does not come around very often. The attention to detail will amaze you!

EXTERIOR Features and Amenities include:
Hardi plank siding with stain, so there will be no maintenance in future
50 year Manufacturer’s Warranty on the slate roof
Copper Gutters and downspouts surround the house.
Catchment tank is built into the foundation for cleanest water and easy maintenance
Cupula for maximum air circulation throughout house

Security system

INTERIOR Features and Amenities include:
Huge kitchen! Granite counter tops with lots of cabinet storage and island bar
Marble flooring throughout
Hand crafted and carved wood trim around all doors and windows. WOW.
Large ceiling fans in each room, including the lanai
Open ceilings are tongue and groove, adding warmth and open space to your environment
Bedrooms have mirrored closet doors and large picture windows

This is a “must-see to appreciate” property. Vacant and easy to show.

FINANCIAL MATTERS
Current Taxes: $345 Home Exempt. Amt.: Spec. Assess.: Spec. Assess. Amt.:
Terms Acceptable: Cash, Conventional Road Maint. Amt/yr.:
– MORTGAGES – – SELLER FINANCING –
1st Balance: $0 1st Assumable: Min. Down: Interest Rate: %
2nd Balance: $0 Existing Loan Type: Term: Max. Loan Amt.:
LEASEHOLD DETAILS
Lessor:
LH Rent: LH Exp. Date:
Reneg: Fee Avail:
OTHER PARTICULARS
Assoc. Dues/mon.: Common Area: No CC&R’s: No
LISTING AGENT INFO
CSB: 3 Subagency offered: No Restrictions: None of the Above
LISTING AGENT & OFFICE
Listor: Rachel M Nack Realtor Type: R(S) Listor Phone: 808-965-9678 Listor Fax: 808-934-7644 Email Address: rachelnack@gmail.com Listor ID: 55640
Office: Aloha Coast Realty, LLC Office Phone: 808-934-7600 Office Fax: 808-934-7644 Office ID: 19604
Office Address: 330 Kamehameha Ave.  Hilo, HI 96720