Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Art Fraud Alert

Received the following from a DC ART NEWS reader:

A DC area artist and I were both contacted by a Mclaren Welis with a yahoo account -- supposedly from 36 Greenfield Wrexham UK LL11 2NR (Wales) to buy our artwork -- that he discovered on the Maryland State Arts Council website.

I thought it was legitimate because I googled the address and found an artist who lives nextdoor at 34 Greenfield, a glass artist by the name of Chris Bird-Jones who is affiliated with the Arts Council of Wales... so my brain made the connection that Chris Bird-Jones had introduced Mclaren Welis to arts council databases and Mclaren was out to buy directly from artists.

The other DC artist received a check today that is for exactly $3000 more than the cost of her artwork and the shipping fees. The check came in an envelope with a very weak cancellation mark from Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

These scams have come to be associated in the public mind with Nigeria due to the massive proliferation of such confidence tricks from that country since the mid-eighties, although they are often also carried out in other African nations, including Togo, Cte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Africa, and increasingly from European cities with large West African populations, notably London, Amsterdam and Madrid, and lately also Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Canada.

So I finally emailed Chris Bird-Jones who informed me that there is no 36 Greenfield.

Chris Bird-Jones, whose work is displayed on the Arts Council of Wales website was recently a victim of a similar scam where a person with the name Lineaux Swave wanted to buy Bird-Jones' artwork... a fradulent check (aka Akwukwo, chekere, pepper in Nigeria) was sent to Bird-Jones and the matter is now in the hands of the police and the bank.

We fall mugu (To be fooled, to become victim of advance fee fraud); Supposedly a check is in the mail to me

This must be going all round the Maryland State Arts Council website; it's called an Advance Fee Fraud or a 419 scheme.
And just today I received an email from someone named Luis that says:
From: Luis Mackarel
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:53 PM
To: lennycampello@hotmail.com
Subject: Paintings

I came across your paintings from maryland state council website and i will appreciate it if you can let me know if the works displayed on the website is still
available and prices of eachwork.
I intend to answer Louie The Fish and at least make him waste the envelope and some stamps as he sends me my Akwukwo check.