Confidential Business Proposal

by Kieran Healy on April 9, 2005

Dear Sir,

I know this letter will come as a “surprise to you”:, but suffice to say I got your email from a contact at the Department of the Treasury, who assured me that you are capable and reliable to assist me in this transaction. Before I go into details, I will first introduce myself to you. I am Mr. Joseph Abudulkarim Adisa, associate to “TOM NOE”:, who is a prominent figure in the governing party of “OHIO”: and Chairman of the U.S. Mint’s Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Our “rare coin company”: was entrusted with 50 (FIFTY) million dollars of public money since 1998, which we have used to buy various quantities of nickels, half-dollars, and gold dollars to sell to collectors or “lose in the mail”: Photographs of these holdings are available on request, to allay any questions you may have about our completely legitimate business enterprise. You will no doubt have heard of the recent “political instability”: in the region, which has prompted an unjust and unfair “investigation”: by seditious elements intent on seizing their our assets, and they must be moved out of the state as soon as possible. I have therefore been directed to inquire if you would agree to act as our overseas agent in order to actualize this transaction.



tad brennan 04.09.05 at 6:30 pm

I don’t know. This looks suspicious.

For one thing, the English is far too regular. (tho “reliable to assist” has something of the right flavor). Try dropping some of the indefinite articles, e.g. “who is prominent figure”–for some reason, those are very hard to master.

But if you can get the grammar a bit worse, then, sure, I’ll send you my all my bank account numbers!


Cranky Observer 04.09.05 at 7:16 pm

Actually, the 509s I received early in the game (the days before e-mail) were quite well written in educated British Business English.

I even received on by _FedEx_ once although how they expected that to pay off I don’t know.



Steve LaBonne 04.09.05 at 7:17 pm

Hey, I live in the corrupt third-world republic(an) of Ohio. This cuts a little too close to home for comfort. Ouch. ;)


jet 04.09.05 at 7:47 pm

Nice piece with a plethora of links.

Ohio is easily the most corrupt state I’ve lived in, and I’ve lived in a few. Such a strange place with incredible amounts of tolerance for the inept and corrupt. I need to switch my votes to Democrat at the state level and Republican at the city level just to changes things up. Jimmy Carter was right that any form of democractic government will work well if only corruption is kept to a minimum.


Al Hill 04.09.05 at 8:10 pm

Rare Coins? Dam you just wait … they are going to sell them off .. the state will lose a ton of money … and the asshole that did it will blame the loss on the fact that he was made to sell them off … this is a con and nothing more than a con … but I think you should get somebody to email your letter to every right wing party member in Ohio and see how many fall for it … now that the state is in it .. they will think it is a party sanctioned savings plan …


Brian 04.09.05 at 10:34 pm

I’ve lived here all my life and, yes, Ohio is a strange place. At least the republicans here tend to be small time crooks and incompetents rather than firebreathing wingnuts like the kind they breed in Texas. And while the republicans strain at submediocre, the democrats are so lame they can’t even beat them. There’s no reason Ohio should be a one-party state.

Anyway, on the second and third string rightwing radio shows (the guys who fill in the hours between Rush and Hannity) you hear ads for gold coins, what a great investment they are, etc., all the time. Maybe that’s where they got the idea.


Mary Kay 04.10.05 at 3:33 pm

I’ve lived in Ohio myself and while politics there is notably corrupt, they really can’t hold a candle to Oklahoma (where I grew up) and Texas, where I’ve also lived. And the good people of Oklahoma deserve every damn thing they get.



Ted 04.10.05 at 10:42 pm

I love you.


Cruella 04.11.05 at 6:39 am

There is a site somewhere for counter-419-scamming or scambaiting. Basically write back to the dude use false name/address/etc assuring them of your willingness to help if they will just do one tiny little thing for you… like send you a photo of themselves, perhaps in a stupid outfit or something. Well its very funny stuff, worth a read – have a look here:


Cruella 04.11.05 at 6:50 am

…and the site is, i think. funny.

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