Opinion

Slick talking Spaniards don't fool her

I

was intrigued when my March 31 mail brought a letter envelope sporting colourful stamps post marked Spain. I tore it open to read that my family might be the sole inheritor of $8.6 million in U.S. funds.

The letter was from Madrid barrister Dr. Irfan Belzuz, who apologized first for this unorthodox way of introducing himself to a stranger (me) but the matter was urgent. Unless he could supply officials with the name of a rightful heir, the fortune would be grabbed by government, and no way was he about to let that happen. No sirree!

Using crowded small print and broken English this barrister explained the fortune had been deposited in 2003 by his former client, David Sandecki, in a safety deposit box. However, David had not named any rightful heirs, consequently leading to this impasse. David had been a business magnate who had lived in Spain for a  decade or more before his unfortunate death in 2004 due to a natural disaster.

Dr.  Belzuz, of Paseo de la Castellana, had hunted high and low for next of kin without finding any, thus he had resorted to public records where, luckily, he found me.

If I worried about this money transfer being illegal, I could rest easy. He had covered all angles to make sure this transaction would appear legal so I could not get into any trouble.

Time, however,  was running out. If I would contact him promptly either through his 14-digit phone number, where he stands by available to answer at all hours, or by way of his equally lengthy email address, he would divvy up the fortune keeping 50 per cent himself, handing over 45 per cent to me, and retaining 5 per cent for unforeseen legal costs.

Several thoughts sprang to mind. First, why should he get to keep half, while I would get less than half? If he needed my signature to access this fortune, why shouldn’t I get the bigger portion?

Second, wouldn’t a bank ask a client to file documents specifying who to contact in the event of his death so just this sort of unclaimed fortune wouldn’t happen?

Third, what magnate would stow cash? Wouldn’t he choose some form of paper security rather than a bundle of printed currency in a rubber band?

Suspecting a scam, I googled “False Promises of Inheritance” and “Fraud Scams” to find scenarios including scam letters reading almost word-for word like the letter I was holding.

Tempted as I was to mess with Belzuz’ head, I sensibly tore up the letter and tossed it into the burning woodstove.

Well, time proves Spanish barristers are tenacious. April 10 a second letter from Madrid arrived but from a barrister named Manuel Sanchez Martinez. His story was similar except the business magnate’s first name was Marek and the amount of his fortune had grown to $9.4 million U.S.

This time the fortune was stashed in a trunk box/diplomatic personal treasure left with a safe security company in Spain.

Again the magnate had died “with nuclear family during the Tsunami of December 2004”. No heirs were listed or traceable. And once again, urgency was the guiding factor.

He assured me though I may not be related to Marek, with “the modality he has in place he can guarantee that if I follow his instructions and capitalize on some judicial loop holes the vault will be released to us.” This transaction is 100 percent risk free; there is no atom of risk as he has worked out all modalities to complete the operation effectively.

Unlike greedy Belzuz, Martinez is willing to split the swag 50/50.

By the end of his letter, Martinez, too, is pleading.

“Please be kind to get back to me if you are not willing to collaborate with me so that I can further search for another partner.” Martinez will wait forever to hear from me.

 

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