Dispatches from the Creation Wars

I don’t know why I’m just finding this out from a British newspaper, but the county treasurer of Alcona County, Michigan, has been indicted for embezzlement to cover losses he took when he fell for the Nigerian spam email scam.

A public treasurer in the Michigan county of Alcona stands accused of embezzling tax payers out of more than $1.2m, at least part of which was used to cover costs he incurred falling for a Nigerian banking fraud.

Thomas Katona, the former Treasurer of Alcona County, was charged with nine felonies. According to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, the 56-year-old beancounter, who held his post for 13 years, also plowed $72,000 of his own money into the fraud.

The word “idiot” comes to mind for some reason.


  1. #1 Dave S.
    January 30, 2007

    The word “idiot” comes to mind for some reason.

    *sarcasm alert*
    But Ed…they have millions of dollars just sitting around that they’d love to release to some random person if only they could get all their banking information in return. What’s wrong with a deal like that??
    *end sarcasm*

    I was waffling between ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ myself.

  2. #2 KeithB
    January 30, 2007

    I certainly hope that the treasurer of the County is *elected.* I hope that no money professional fell for this!

  3. #3 paulh
    January 30, 2007

    “If it seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is too good to be true.”

  4. #4 Dave S.
    January 30, 2007

    I certainly hope that the treasurer of the County is *elected.* I hope that no money professional fell for this!

    Maybe. John Templeton Jr., son of the famous investor John Templeton, fell for the New Era Ponzi scheme of the late 80’s – early 90’s. Former US Treasury Secretary William E. Simon fell for the same scheme. So did venture capitalist Laurance Rockefeller. So did John Whitehead (former head of Goldman Sachs). Experience is not necessarily a barrier to gullibility.

  5. #5 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    January 30, 2007

    Well-known and wealthy, but aging, psychiatrist Louis Gottschalk of the University of California-Irvine fell for a 419 scam.

  6. #6 KeithB
    January 30, 2007

    I was in a Church that was caught up in the New Era scam. Why wouldn’t you think that there was some anomynous donor putting up matching grants? Our Church did it once and got the doubling of the money. Things collapsed the second time we tried.

  7. #7 Jim Lippard
    January 30, 2007

    Isaac Newton and Jonathan Swift invested in the South Sea Bubble.

  8. #8 Prup aka Jim Benton
    January 30, 2007

    The difference between the Nigerian schemes and most of the other scams mentioned (or something like the South Sea Bubble, which like the ‘tulip craze’ and the ‘dot.com bubble’ were not exactly scams, though scammers took advantage of them) is that, even if the Nigerian ones were ‘legitimate,’ the ‘beneficiaries’ are usually required to act illegally — claim a false identity, a false relationship with a deceased person, or violate banking laws — to claim the money, and this is laid out in the come-on letter.
    Because of this, I hope the jury socks this guy to the full extent of the law and doesn’t have any “there but for the grace of (insert a diety of choice) goes I” based pity on him.

  9. #9 Beth Groom
    February 6, 2007

    I knew this man while growing up at Alcona High School, (he was also the track coach) I’m not at all surprised that he “fell” for such a stupid scam.

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