Heeeeere’s an attempt at fraud | AspenTimes.com

Heeeeere’s an attempt at fraud

A local jewelry store owner denied a telephone customer’s request to a buy a gold chain earlier this month after he faxed her a copy of his alleged driver’s license with a picture of the late Ed McMahon on it, sources said Wednesday.

“I recognized him as some actor,” said Katherine Whipple, owner of Katherine LeGrand Custom Goldsmith in downtown Aspen. “The guy (on the phone) sounded foreign and young and here’s this picture of an elderly Caucasian man.

“(I thought), ‘Oh, my gosh, how could he be so silly to do this?’”

McMahon, who died in 2009, was former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick and also hosted “Star Search” and “America’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” with the late Dick Clark.

The customer called Whipple on Nov. 9 and wanted to buy a 14-karat-gold chain for $3,800 plus a $120 shipping fee, according to a police report. Whipple said the man was calling from a Riverside, California, area code and identified himself as “Jack Harry.”

However, the credit card the man gave Whipple was declined, she said. He then provided another credit card he said was tied to his “call center” business in Utah, she said.

“There were just so many red flags all over the place,” Whipple said.

That credit card went through, and Whipple said she asked the man to send her a copy of his driver’s license for shipping purposes. The license came through with the name “Jack Harry,” a South Jordan, Utah, address and the picture of McMahon.

“I wasn’t expecting Ed McMahon, but I was hoping (the driver’s license) was something we could track,” she said.

A Google search easily turns up a copy of McMahon’s California driver’s license. The copy submitted to Whipple is nearly the same, though the word “California” at the top was changed to “Utah” and the name and some identifying features were changed. The signature at the bottom is the same as on McMahon’s license.

Whipple said she voided the transaction, tracked down the actual credit card owner and warned him that someone was attempting to use it.

“He said, ‘Thank you so much,’” she said. “He said. ‘I never would have known if you hadn’t called me.’”

An Aspen police officer called the man with the foreign accent back and told him the department was investigating his attempted purchase, according to a police report. The man’s location was not known, the report states.


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