Monday, May 16, 2011

USPS Mail Fraud strikes home for a feisty Chicago Writer. Do we have a Story here, America!

TITLE:
ASK/Chicago: USPS Mail Fraud strikes home for a feisty Chicago Writer. Do we have a Story here, America!


eMedia Release
Monday, May 16, 2011 - 4:08 PM CST

Koopersmith’s Global Communications
“People read what ASK writes about…”
Chicago – Illinois USA

Hello Fellow Americans:

I’m a 58 year old woman and a gifted writer who lives in Chicago, Illinois minding her own business when out of the blue something happened that made me turn to THE MEDIA to let you know that we’re no longer in Kansas, Toto.

My story is strange yet it’s also your story, one that we can all relate to. And it goes like this:

BACKGROUND: For me, Friday, May 13TH is a day wrought with great amounts of superstition and skepticism. Being known far and wide as

‘America’s Premier Eventologist’

(a title I received from Gene Koprowski of Insight Magazine from Washington, DC in August of 1997)

and

‘The Premier Eventologist in the History of the World’
(a title I received from Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune in January 2001),

I created International Skeptics’ Days back in 1996. 1,900 such Holidates are on my Roster. A Holidate is defined as goodwill, humanitarian, altruistic, educational, recreational, spiritual/spirited, fun-time and fun-type Event.

As customary, I walked to the lobby of my apartment building to retrieve my mail on Friday, May 13TH. There, I spotted a flat parcel in an official United States Postal Service 9-3/4 X 12.5 inch Express Mail envelope squeezed into my narrow mailbox with my name on it. I was especially perplexed and skeptical by its look.

Upon opening the parcel, I found not only 1 but 2 Personal Money Orders (PMOs) (issued from the USPS itself) made payable to me from a woman (unbeknownst to me – not even one of my Facebook buddies) living in Texas.

My name appeared on the left; hers on the right. She is Samantha Graham. I do not know any Samantha Graham, but evidently ‘Sam’ is a generous woman. These 2 PMOs were each in the amount of $995.50 each. Money, I could definitely use. These PMOs were drawn on the USPS and these PMOs looked official and real.

However, being as skeptical as I naturally am, combined with the fact I did not know the sender; nor was I expecting to receive any money, red flags suddenly flared, emerging fast and furiously.

My Sherlock Holmes & John Walsh instincts surfaced. I began trying to piece this all together. Having a history (since 1990) of doing slews of radio interviews in Texas for having created the Literary Art form known as:

EVENTOLOGY®
The Art of Event-Making
Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith’s Campaigns For Humanity ©1990

that I initially created on Wednesday, July 25, 1990 at 9:45 PM, at first, I assumed these generous PMOs were sent from a rich Texan who liked what I was doing for Humanity (to better the world) and was following my Creative Career from afar.

Now, she wanted to reward me for my valiant efforts as Eventology® is now well into its 2ND Decade. But how did she get my home address including block, city, state and zip? This puzzled me. This troubled me, too.

Then, I figured it may be one of my deceased relatives in Texas who left money to me from their estate, but those relatives are already long dead and gone and I was not close to any of them. No such luck there. That assumption was checked off ‘The List,’ too.

As I carefully examined the PMOs and their accompanying envelope, I wondered why an explanatory note was not included stating why I was receiving this lump sum. At that point, I became stunned, astonished and astounded.

However, the girly-girl in me also kicked in (as well as the Struggling Artist - now an active 58 year old who should be welcoming thoughts of Retirement, not planning her 400TH reinvention). I was planning on what I could buy with that amount of nearly $2000!

Being as thoughtfully frugal and budget-minded as I proudly am, I knew this amount would pull me through 2 months (of the long, hot steamy summer ahead. (Designer) Air Conditioning is expensive, you know. Then, I instantly thought of the old Proverb:

“Be careful what you wish for.”

From what I recall, I had not recently wished on a shooting star as it’s been cloudy here the last few days in Chicago and few fly past my neighborhood. My Mode is: If I were to play the lottery, I would have played Powerball or the Mega Game because at times, it’s fun to dream big and ‘living large.’ ‘High Maintenance’ is what that is called instead of scrimping and saving like so many others are now forced to do.

And, if I lucked out playing The Lottery, that $2000 could become $2,000,000 or more by the end of the day. I searched the apartment for my pocket calculator.

After all, we all lead lives where what’s available and within our means determines the course of our days. Then, the practical sociologist (1 of my 2 majors at college) kicked in and I surmised:

Still in all, in today’s lackluster economy, I fully know that scams are running wild.

At that very point in my deductions, I decided this dilemma had to be solved once and for all, so that what happened to me would not happen to you and yours. This inconvenience (that is happening to me) must be averted for others who find themselves in my very shoes. BTW, I did my research while day-dreaming and found that $2000 will (almost) buy 2 pairs of Manolo Blahnik Stilettos.

Being a whirlwind of novel ideas for not only myself but others (and former clients) in the 1990s, I was also labeled as:

‘One of Chicago’s Leading Think Tank Leaders’

by Ketchum/Chicago (an international, 80 year old Public Relations agency that receives the most awards). They know how The Creative Process unfolds. Creativity can be used for good or evil. That’s another interesting factor in this story.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: Because my days are very carefully and meticulously chiseled out, I really had no time to worry about this matter that was invading my Space and altering Activities that need my undivided attention with self-imposed deadlines looming. At the top of my Creative List is the Wrriting and Development of my award-winning Movie Script called:

SKiN: Sacred Kinship in Nature™
How 10 Beloved Plush Toys Redefine Race ©2009
Featuring iN THE COMPANY OF ANTS ©2009
that beat out 3,164 other Scripts in July of 2010 having been entered in an International Screenplay competition based in Hollywood that was read by Industry Professionals.

SKiN’s four ® relevant themes are to:

eliminate Racism;

dispel The Mixed Signals and Ironies of every Day Life;

realize fully that your (false and irrationally made) Prejudgments should be diligently avoided at all Costs & Efforts; and

get to The Heart of what really matters is all that matters most.

These are all Topics that need my pure Concentration 24/7. Being disturbed by this intrusion breaks my Creative Flow. These Themes, as you can instantly tell, are all topics that need to be addressed and worked in our critically disturbed world. There was no room for me to get knocked off-course.

However, I do keep up with THE NEWS both online and off. I know that scams (dealing with FREE, unearned money) are running rampant. This looming issue needed THE ADRIENNE TOUCH and it had to be exposed to the light of day, NOW, no matter what personal and pressing issues confronted me.

For decades (stemming from how I was raised – being the First Daughter of the First Jewish Mayor in a predominantly German, Nazi Town in downstate Illinois), I always considered myself to be ‘EVERY WOMAN’ – one who could relate to the rich, the poor and those in the middle. Every body liked me and I liked every body. Therefore, if this happened to me, it could happen to others. The warning had to be sounded, loud and clear as this ‘conveyance’ is considered to be a leading national problem.

Chiefly, it is because the United States Postal Service is being used unethically to move a request that uses monetary resources to trick unsuspecting victims by way of look-alike Personal Money Orders that are counterfeit.

WHAT’s A GAL TO DO: DECISIONS/DECISIONS:

My schedule for Friday, May 13 was to begin with a stop-in at City Hall to leave off a lovely farewell note to Mayor Richard M. Daley (who was leaving office after 22 years of municipal service). My father had served for nearly 16 years. At my request (17+ years ago), Mayor Daley proclaimed October 25 (in 1993) as CARTOONISTS AGAINST CRIME Day – saluting a Cartoon & Comic Art Movement I founded in December of 1991 after I was violently assaulted, robbed and left for dead in the lobby of my apartment building, the same place I live today. My! That lobby certainly has seen its share and loads of action. If it could only talk, the Stories is could tell.

However, on my way to City Hall, I took a detour. I stopped in to my bank and had a one-on-one talk with Michael Hoesle, Sr. Personal Banker, my friendly and helpful Harris banker. He examined the two PMOs and compared them, telling me they were indeed counterfeit and fraudulent. Then I asked him how ‘The Scenario’ would play out had I attempted to cash them in at the Bank through a teller. Would the teller be able to spot counterfeit PMOs that looked as real as the nose on my face? If this transaction was to occur, Samantha Graham (the Texas woman whose name appeared on the 2 PMOs – if that really was her name) at the address of:

4910 Airport Parkway in Addison, Texas 75001

(that is defined as a blue mailbox and post office location – via a google map I checked) would have total access to my social security # along with my private and confidential info that could (most likely) be used to wipe me out.

These are Stories regularly broadcast on TV & Radio and now over the Internet but one never thinks it will happen to them. Samantha Graham (which may be her alias) would have access to my account and my personal info. Mr. Hoesle highly suggested that without delay, I take the 2 PMOs to the post office located 1 block north to tip them off; followed by a trip to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, headed by Lisa Madigan – all conveniently found in the State of Illinois Building (100 West Randolph on the 12TH Floor).

I was on a mission. I was bound and determined. I had a new goal and mission – aside from eliminating Racism that I have always felt is at the core of man’s problems. Scam Busters was formed. This Fraudulent Act is color-blind. The only color these criminals are particularly interested in is every thing that is Green – the Color of Money. This over-took my daily Scriptwriting and promotional efforts, enhancing them for sure.

About 8 minutes later on Friday, May 13, I arrived at a Branch of the Post Office and spoke to the Postal Clerk at one of the open windows. After telling her a brief version of my Story involving the PMOs that arrived in an official USPS Express Envelope, I showed her 1 of the PMOs and the envelope. A huge ‘OH MY GOSH – NOT AGAIN!’ erupted from her. She took the PMO and said she would return shortly with her supervisor, Dorthea.

I didn’t need to wait long. I then explained to her (in more detail) what I’ve been telling you - all stated above. Dorthea confirmed this set of PMOs was counterfeit, even down to the hologram, including the reverse side of the PMO’s where the name is to be written in and bank account number are found.

Needless to say, THEY LOOKED SO REAL. Would anyone else fall this? I wanted to find out.

In confidence, I told Dorthea my next step was to log a complaint with Lisa Madigan’s Office on the 12TH floor of the State of Illinois Building (where her post office was also located). I told her I would keep her posted of my finds.

Then, THE WRITER in me kicked in. Known for my beautiful and moving letters, stories and scripts and realizing there is power in the written word that can be passed along in so many different formats today, I immediately wasted no time and found Lisa Madigan’s website at:

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/

and composed an in-depth, informative explanation about this situation.

After all, if this happened to me, it could, probably would and is undoubtedly occurring to many others across the USA. I like to think I am ‘special’ but I’m not that special when it comes to this kind of fraudulent and criminal mind. Will PMOs like these be sent to those whose homes were damaged during our last horrific bout of floods and tornados – when people are at their lowest points and most gullible?

Having founded CARTOONISTS AGAINST CRIME ©1991 (whose Motto is: CAC: We TOON-out Crime) on December 23, 1991 after being brutally attacked, robbed and left-for-dead in the lobby of my apartment building (where I still live today), there are just some things (some may call them ‘distractions’) that get in the way of life’s daily chores, routines and TO DO list. This was one of those things. After all,

‘A Woman’s gotta do, what a Woman’s gotta do.”

Contacting Ms. Madigan’s office (that deals with acts of fraud on a regular basis) is what a concerned and motivated citizen would do, immediately.

WWYD: What Would You Do?

And that is why you (in the capacity of being a Media Person) are receiving this today to help me take this Story to the NEXT LEVEL for it to gain the national & international exposure it needs.

Because it involved the Post Office and was over state lines, it also rated as a national concern.

I am personally looking forward to the FEEDBACK & REACTION others will convey. Therefore, keeping this in mind, I began letting others know what had happened. On Sunday morning, I took the PMOs and envelope to my best friend’s home so she could see for herself – that the Royalty Checks were finally coming in. Yes, this is an insider’s joke between us. Changing face, after I seriously explained to her what occurred; the look on her pretty face became one of complete outrage and horror. Being protective of her family and friends, she took the PMOs to show her husband who was having his breakfast in the dining room. She handed him the PMOs and asked:

“Would you cash these for Adrienne?”

He looked at them and commented he would but he presently did not have the funds to cover the amounts (nearly $1000 a piece) and that I would have to wait for a week. Flabbergasted, my friend grabbed the checks and told him they were counterfeit and that he had been fooled.

Would he really have tried cashing them?
What if he had?

Then, he would have been sucked into Samantha Graham’s con game. That’s a scary thought as my friend explicitly told her husband those 2 PMOs were not real, but counterfeits. She continued by stating (drilling in her point) in her protective way: “If your brother or friends approach you with PMOs similar to these, do NOT cash them, as our account would be cleaned out.”

He was totally caught off guard – exactly what Samantha Graham had planned for me and whomever else she was trying to scam using the USPS and preying on people like me and my neighbors.

This E-media Release was composed so that what happened to me will not happen to you. I don’t think you need the headache or aggravation. Do you? No matter how tempting PMOs as these are, someone (or some team) is committing National Mail Fraud using the USPS and by issuing their own counterfeit Personal Money Orders as their vehicle to nab unsuspecting and honest Americans as myself. Many American Lives are already in shambles for a variety of reasons. It need not get any worse for them.

AND YET, I DREAM ON. Oh, if only. Being a Writer – Eventologist - Screenwriter needing her BIG BREAK, I think of what could have been. That $2000 would have gotten me to Hollywood. I’d be having breakfast at Nate & Al’s Deli in Beverly Hills. I hear that’s where Steven Spielberg eats his breakfast. I d’ be seated in the booth next to his with my Press Kit and a few of my TOYS (as I write Scripts for TOYS - animated TOYS) are the most marketable and popular Commodity today on the Open Marketplace, as you know). TOYS are bigger than life Today on the golden screen – TV screen and PCs screens (all of them actually). After all, TOYS can’t write a fraudulent PMO…

As the Scenario would unfold, Mr. Spielberg & I would be chatting. He’d like the thoughtful Angle I was taking using TOYS to eliminate Racism. He’d give me a chance. Then, the Dream Works would REEL-ly begin. In total, 8 manuscripts and 8 spec movie scripts on the drawing board. One has already beat-out 3164 others. Called iN THE COMPANY OF ANTS ©2009, it possesses the FUN & FOLLY to become an international Hit and Sensation. That unexpected windfall of $2000 would and could have launched my career, once and for all – to lessen the hate and prejudice that is overtaking us. Now, the Story focuses on the unraveling fraudulent acts as this.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: Wouldn’t this Situation make for a great Counterfeiting Story? With all the PC programs available, it cannot be difficult to ‘make a Fake.’ It’s not hard finding addresses of people. That’s what the yellow pages - phone books are for. Once the PMOs were printed, this act probably cost Samantha a nickel – as she didn’t even spend money on postage sending it to me – the stamp registered as $0.00. If I had only swiped the envelope for fingerprints. That’s what John Walsh would have done.

What else are people like these up to? The Bottom Line remains: Even minding your own business, a person is not safe. Now, that you have extensive knowledge of this criminal and fraudulent ploy, my Mission is accomplished. I have the 2 PMOs and envelope. If you’d like to interview me for a human interest story, email me at:

askoopersmith(at)hotmail(dot)com

to set a date and time in which we can discuss this matter. After all, Toto, we are not in Kansas…


END