The great Puget Sound Energy swindle … explained


It’s not unusual for a business to get scammed, and it’s not extraordinary for a police officer to investigate and find, yup, they got scammed.

What isn’t typical is when a police officer rings up a confidence man and has a nice, straightforward chat about how the con works and ends with an apology from the swindler for an off-color comment he made to his vic and a wish that the officer “be safe and have a blessed day.”

Bremerton police were called Tuesday by a member of the family that owns the Mannette Mart and Deli, 2044 Wheaton Way, reporting that one of the family received a call from a person claiming to be an bill collector for Puget Sound Energy. The person said the store was in arrears $858 — which was not true — and in order to keep the power from being shut off they had to pay that day through a wire transfer service.

The family member paid $500 to before realizing they had been tricked. When the family member’s daughter called to demand the money back, the scammer said her voice was “sexy” and that “she should meet him in person so she could get her money back,” according to a police report.

When the police officer called, and identified himself and asked the confidence man if he was willing to answer a few questions, the man said, “Of course.”

Considering the person is a con artist, it’s hard to say if the answers he gave the officer were just more rubbish, but the glimpse it does give is plausible.

The thief said he works as part of a team that targets a particular area code, paying close attention to businesses, as they seem to pay more and more often. Although it may seem to a victim that the con artist has access to account information, no, the man said — and then laughed — it’s a matter of asking “subtle questions” which lead victims to unknowingly provide important information.

The man said he is in Jamaica and works with a small group, and the money they scam goes into a pot and is divided up. The scammers try to get at least $1,000 a vic, because if they get less than others “it causes problems.”

And although it sounded to the victim like they were speaking to multiple people, no, that’s just him disguising his voice. He said he lived in New York City for 19 years and is adept at “sounding professional.”

As he was wrapping up the Q and A, the officer mentioned that one of the people he spoke with was more upset at how the con man spoke to her.

The man “apologized and stated he was just having a little fun.”

The officer thanked the man and asked that he not call the victim back, and the con man agreed.

At the end of the conversation the man “told me to be safe and have a blessed day,” the officer wrote.


3 thoughts on “The great Puget Sound Energy swindle … explained

  1. Well this is creepy. It is really amusing that the con artist spoke with the officer, and whether the information is true or not, that he gave any information at all! That’s crazy!

    1. The con man was in Jamaica, and knew he was out of our reach and that it didn’t matter if he admitted it or not. We have no political or criminal pull there, at least not for minor offenses. Had he confessed to a murder we might have been able to do something, but not for a phone operated con.

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