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Scott Hollifield: Gerald wants his trunks of cash
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Scott Hollifield: Gerald wants his trunks of cash

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One of my duties as a small-town newspaper editor is to monitor the email inbox where we receive church-sponsored breakfast notices, obituaries and death threats.

The email address is also a magnet for international scam artists. To see how far some of these folks will go, I created an alter ego, Gerald F. Farnsworth, to occasionally engage them.

The following, lightly edited to eliminate some gibberish, is an actual transcript of a recent exchange.

The introductory email from the scammer:

I am MR DAVID MORRIS, Inspection Unit Manager United Nations Inspection Agency in Harts-field Jackson International Airport Atlanta, Georgia. During our investigation, I discovered An abandoned shipment through a Diplomat from United Kingdom .The two consignment boxes is worth $8 million, And I Ascertain you that the consignment is in your name, you are advise to provide Clearance and yellow tag certificate for claim.

Best Regards

My reply:

Thank you for your fine work Mr. Morris – I did misplace my consignment boxes worth $8 million during a recent move and unfortunate incarceration. I looked in the couch cushions, between the seats of the Buick, in the fridge and under the guest quarters crawl space beside the boat dock where I keep the Boston Whaler (found plenty of bones, LOL), with no success. I advise clearance of yellow tag certification, red tag sales and orange alerts. Please tell me how to proceed to retrieve my $8 million because I have a water bill due soon.

Best regards,

Gerald F. Farnsworth

Mr. Morris got back to me that same day:

Thanks for your email received concerning the shipment of your consignment Trunk boxes worth $8Million Dollars…

Henceforth you are advised to pay for the Clearance fee of $750 only and the shipment process will take effect immediately without any delay or more fees.

Heck yeah. Let’s get this show on the road. My reply:

Greetings, Mr. Morris – Again, thank you for facilitating this arrangement for the consignment of my trunks of cash. My cousin Jimmy, a former highly ranked welterweight in the world of professional prizefighting, runs a pawnshop in the greater metro Atlanta area and I have made arrangements for him to pick up the trunks. If there are any clearance and inspection costs, handling fees, bribes, taxes or the greasing of palms, he has been instructed by me to abide by those demands/wishes with as little violence as possible. No need to ship. Jimmy will pick up said trunks in an unmarked, non-descript van. Please advise on where this transaction can take place.

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Yours truly,

Gerald F. Farnsworth

P.S. Best regards

Mr. Morris was just as anxious as I was – or Gerald was – to get this transaction done:

Hello Gerald Farnsworth, I just received your email and contents well understood. You are required to obtain and secures the Funds Ownership Certificate in your names to prove you a Legitimate ownership of the abandoned funds and this will cost you $750.

Gerald F. Farnsworth wasn’t born yesterday:

Thank you, Mr. Morris – I have instructed my cousin Jimmy to hand over $750 in small, unmarked bills once he meets your henchmen at the airport and he has secured the trunks of cash that are rightfully mine. I want to make this perfectly clear: I want my trunks of cash. If there is a problem, Jimmy has been instructed to go to the airport, have you paged and deal with you personally. Believe me, you do not want this. Jimmy is prepared to meet you or your associates at hanger 3 within the next five days (not Sunday because he has a softball game). The timing is up to you, but you have five days. After that, I can’t be responsible for the consequences.

God bless,

Gerald F. Farnsworth

P.S. Best regards.

After no follow-up email from Mr. Morris, Gerald addresses the situation:

Mr. Morris – I am disappointed to receive no reply from you after my five-day grace period. It disappoints me greatly to be disappointed, as you will learn. Jimmy will be at the airport on Wednesday. He has already contacted Tiffany at the JetBlue desk who will page you for a face-to-face meeting near Chick-Fil-A. My advice? Show up with the trunks of cash. If this does not happen, I have given Jimmy carte blanche as to how to rectify this situation. May God have mercy on your soul.

Your friend,

Gerald F. Farnsworth

P.S. Best regards

And that’s where it stands. Gerald hasn’t gotten his $8 million and Mr. Morris hasn’t gotten his $750. And Jimmy? Last I heard he was on his way to the airport.

Scott Hollifield is editor of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at

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