It's the new Nigerian Prince letter of scamming and Duane "Dog" Chapman almost fell for it, along with other celebrities. Chapman was given an opportunity to speak an economic empowerment convention for small business owners at the end of this month; however, the opportunity almost cost him $250,000 dollars.
Chapman and his literary agent, Alan Nevins at Renaissance Talent, were sent a hefty check of $430,000 dollars for the event, but a few red flags were raised that made the two skeptical on whether this deal was legit or not. The entire negotiation process came off as if it were real — because it was — but after papers were signed, is when things got sketchy.
Last month, Nevins received an email from the office of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is the Deputy Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates. The deal was offered and a fancy contract was sent. So far, so good.
After papers were signed, communication was cut to only emails, which at first made Chapman and Nevins scratch their heads. So, they visited the website of the alleged event (mansourfoundation.org), which looked real and allows visitors to make donations, but only by snail mail or email, not credit cards. Because that was unusual, Nevins called the hotel that was listed on the site, to which he learned the hotel had no knowledge of this supposed event.
What confirmed their suspicion was when the event organizers mentioned they were having trouble wiring the $430,000 dollars into his business account and requested his personal. That's when the Dog the Bounty Hunter star and his agent walked away. After that, the scammers, instead, sent him an actual check for the amount, but requested he donate $250,000 dollars back to the organization.
The check was sent via FedEx on Wednesday, so Nevins called the bank — Portland bank — and the company — Portland construction company — that it was allegedly written by. The bank did confirm the check and account were real but did not specify any other details aside of that. But as for Benson, the company confessed they had no idea a check was ever cut.
Here's what would have happened if Chapman had fallen victim to the scam. Since the check was real, the check would have been deposited into his account, but then it would have disappeared a few days later. As for the $250,000 dollar donation, since all $430,000 would have been taken out of the account, his "donation" would have come out of his pocket, essentially being robbed of those funds.
Luckily, Chapman didn't fall for the scam, and even joked before everything was said and done that if this turned out to be fake, he thought maybe he could help break up a money laundering scheme.
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