April 9, 2005
Digging through my old journal entries, I found this 🙂 Greg and I’s encounters with a real life scam artist.
April 09, 2005
Expensive suits, quick wit, and driving an Isuzu Rodeo. Hear about Ed McNeil, the first real life scam artist I’ve ever encountered.
It all started when a strange newcomer came to the Pine Center. Edward McNeil, president of a company named Kevin Barry Holdings, Inc. I’d like to say I seen right through him but suspicions were initially low. He moved in with my good friend Tim Fortier, a stock broker who used to work for Castle Financial. Tim is also manager of the Westmark Hedge Fund. Anyways, Tim and ‘Ed’ didn’t get along very well from the start. Ed seemed to think he owned the place and Tim didn’t like it at all. Ed was caught reprogramming Tim’s phone system and also complained frequently because Tim was renting one of his desks to Ed without providing the additional L for the desk. This led to a stand-off and Ed went to Bruce, manager for the Pine Center to settle the dispute. After some negotiations and some sweet dealing with Greg, Bruce, and myself, we managed to trade our downstairs Suite 101 office with Ed while Greg and I move in with Tim. Tim had the Penthouse Suite. This was Suite 308 and oh man; tapestries, beautiful furniture and artwork, back office room with fridge and microwave and best of all — WINDOWS from way up. You could look over the whole town from those offices. It was great and it was even CHEAPER for us as well. We jumped all over that and slapped Ed with Suite 101.
Once we moved in with Tim we got the whole let-down of what was going on. Tim’s experience and keen judgement told him something wasn’t right about Ed. Ed said he was managing funds for a guy named Kevin Barry, a broker out of New York, but Tim pilfered the NASD database to find out that there was only one registered Kevin Barry and contacted the guy. Finding out that Ed had nothing to do with Kevin Barry shown some light on the mystery, but still left several loose ends. There could be another Kevin Barry, and maybe that was just a name and didn’t matter. Ed had the look. It was hard to believe this guy wasn’t the real thing. When he stepped out of his Isuzu Rodeo with that black Versache suit — you’d never tell it. He looked good, talked fast … Just what you’d expect from a VC.
Things got interesting real quick though. Pine Center gossip spreads fast and word got around that Ed hadn’t paid his rent for six months. The Express Personnel employees he hired never seemed to stay around either. Strange, but the six months rent thing seemed too much. Ed? He could sell his suit on Ebay and pay rent for six months. No worries, Ed wasn’t without excuse and accused Bruce of promising additions to his office and not delivering. What’s going on? We didn’t know what to believe and the gossip spread. Soon Ed was sporting an entirely new line of office furniture. What happened to the old? Mom & Pop’s seems to have gotten a new delivery and it’s no surprise who’s it was. I just happened to make this discovery renewing my driver’s license (the Bureau is located inside Mom & Pop’s — was then anyways).
This was too much and after secret planning and information collection Greg and I went on our own special investigation to discover the root of this mystery. First stop, Ed’s house in Vienna, MO. Our goal? Check the address we’d collected — find the Rodeo parked in the driveway and let things go from there. Maybe he’d invite us in, or maybe we’d park on the roadside and watch. Either way, someone needed to deliver some new information regarding Edward McNeil’s identity. We found his house alright. Downtown Vienna. Small neighborhood. Small house! What was Ed doing in this thing? World War II jeep parked out front and big For Sale sign. Quesiton was, was he still even living there? Turns out he’d already bailed from that house and moved on elsewhere — we never figured out where.
Things got too hectic for Ed and he ended up disappearing shortly afterwards. Greg and I seen him a few short times after the Vienna trip and we spyed into his parked Rodeo a few times. Hoping to find some more information, all we found was a few business motivation books and some eastern religion book in his passenger seat. A few days later Ed was also spotted — he’d apparently abandoned the Rodeo for some white car. Greg reported the final exchange as eye to eye contact and a final weird look on Ed’s face as he drove by. Later Bruce found out that Kevin Barry was Ed’s brother and the police were after Ed for some time.
We’ve yet to see ‘Edward McNeil’ again.