Definition of BUSTOUT: a confidence scheme in which an established business is taken over, a large stock of merchandise is purchased on credit and quickly sold, and the business is then abandoned or bankruptcy is declared
-- by Merriam Webster Dictionary
Reynolds loves his work. He's had a long career running check kiting operations involving hundreds of thousands of dollars for crooked businesses. "It's like the United States government," he explains. "They have a consistent kiting operation. They call it a deficit. If all your debts are called in -- everything, right now -- you're in deep shit. But if that doesn't happen you can work it for a long time."Say you and I and another guy all had a business, and we weren't making it. We could open a couple accounts, write checks to each other -- float some checks -- and by the end of the week, we might each have thirty or forty thousand dollars in working capital in the accounts. We could float instead of getting a business loan. On the other hand, we also could suddenly rape the accounts and take off with the cash."
Reynolds would take off with the cash.
When he doesn't have backers, he becomes a lawyer, even though he doesn't have a high school diploma -- James T. Reynolds, Attorney-at-Law. For Reynolds, the main advantage in being a lawyer is that no one questions his checks when he goes to cash a bad one, as long as it has attorney-at-law printed right under his name.
"I practiced law in one little town for a year. I represented the chief of police on corruption charges. It seems like the more you embarrass people, the more likely they are to let it go. When they charged me with practicing law without a license, I represented myself. The judge said, 'You want to represent yourself? Why?'
"'I have 112 witnesses I want to subpoena.'
"'Before the state pays for all these witnesses, what are they going to testify about?'
"'These people are going to testify that I acted as their attorney, and they're all going to say that they were quite satisfied with my services. Ninety percent of them won their cases. Then I'm going to subpoena the prosecutor. He's going to testify to the cases that he lost to me, and that I conducted myself in a proper manner.'
"'Can't we work something out about this?' the judge said."
Reynolds's eyes twinkled with excitement while he told of his exploits. With his thinning gray hair, he looks to be approaching fifty. He's slender and has a reedy voice with a high laugh, but the timbre and accent change as he plays all the parts of the various individuals he's encountered. He considers himself a master of disguises. "I was able to disguise myself and be with you one day, then come back tomorrow as somebody else, and you wouldn't know I was the same person."
But there is one scam that Reynolds is most proud of pulling off. He and his partner obtained very convincing identification as federal marshals. The two of them went to federal penitentiaries and state prisons taking criminals out of jail under the pretense that the inmates were being transported to other venues to testify in court. Depending on the difficulty of the snatch, Reynolds and his partner made twenty thousand dollars and up for each person they freed. According to Reynolds, all the people he took out of prison are still unaccounted for except for one who was killed later in a car accident.
This scam was Reynolds's piece de resistance. Reynolds showed up at our meeting with a fat folder of photocopies of his arrest record. He was particularly fond of the pages of police affidavits attesting to the convincing nature of his fake identification. The documents also confirm that he was driving a car bearing government license plates and equipped with all the latest technology in civilian and police communications, that he was carrying two weapons at the time of his arrest, and wearing a bulletproof vest under his three piece suit.
There was only one part of the job that Reynolds didn't like. "I could never get over being paranoid when I was a fugitive." You'd never know it by the amount of time and energy he spent taunting the people who were after him, particularly one nettlesome prosecutor. "This one state attorney, he and I just hated each other's guts. When I was on the run, I sent his office twenty-seven pizzas for his retirement party, and wrote a bad check on the state attorney's office. The pizzas arrived on a Monday, and they had a big party -- whee! Fred Malovich's retirement party! I had his mail sent to Canada. I called the papers and gave him a yard sale on Saturday and Sunday. I called the classified section of the newspapers and said, "This is Fred Malovich,' being real sadistic like he is. "I'm a state attorney, and I'm having a garage sale. I got a nineteen-inch Panasonic stereo TV with remote control, and the first seventy-five dollars takes it.' He had three hundred people in front of his house that Saturday morning. I knew the little son of a bitch had some pull with the Herald, so I'd put another ad in the News for Sunday. He was pissed.
"I'd get on my radio that had a microphone which gave it that police effect, and call the local police on his house. 'County communications? This is Deputy Smith with the U.S. Marshal's service. I'm on surveillance at this time at an apartment at such and such. I have just identified a suspect as James T. Reynolds. Can you run him through the computer, please?'
"'10-4. We have some warrants on him.'
"'Apparently, he has a shotgun and is trying to make an entry into this house. Wait a minute ... I got to go now. I need back-up right away!' And I'd hang up. Five or ten minutes later, the SWAT team is there, and that son of a bitch come out of his house. Boy! was he pissed. He made my life miserable, and I made his miserable, too."
I couldn't fault Reynolds on his mathematics, his ingenuity or his sense of humor. "I've been a fugitive four times. I've been extradited four times. The only thing the sheriff who had to come and pick me up every time would tell me is, 'Reynolds, the next time you get busted, and you bring me to a place like Petersboro, Virginia, you're in deep shit. I'm not going to let you drink on the plane.'
"The next time they extradited me from Hawaii. When he came to pick me up, I said, 'How's this!'
While I was in prison, they had put me in the accounting department, taking care of accounts receivable, when inmates were still doing the clerical and administrative work. All the prison industries would sell things to other corrections institutions. Then they'd give each other checks. At the end of the month, I'd have this big stack of checks. I'd just tremble handling them, because I love checks. They were using me as a financier for what amounted to little crooked businesses. I just showed them how to float -- kite without being caught.
When I was released on parole, my parole officer told me, "I'm going to put you in a job that you're suitable for -- washing dishes." This ex-con who owned a Bonanza Steak House gave me a break. After the first week, I was promoted to cook. In two weeks, I was assistant manager, then manager. Before I got off parole I hired my parole officer's son to work as a cook. Then me and my dad bought the place.
I stayed out of prison. I got married. I really had no trade. I started kiting checks, because I wanted to just see how it would work. I had three bank accounts. I'd deposit five hundred in each of them. One day, the police called me and said, "Reynolds, get your ass down here."
"What for, sir?"
"I don't know. You got fifty thousand dollars in this bank, twenty-five thousand dollars in this other bank, and you're minus thirty thousand dollars in this third bank. I know you're doing something wrong, but I don't know if it's illegal or not. I don't want you to touch any of those checks. Don't deposit, don't do nothing." It took the banks almost thirty days to straighten the thing out. But I'd found out what kiting was.
I started doing a little work for this Mafia guy. He was into a lot of stuff. I never had any direct dealings with the Mafia, but he had little businesses he needed help with, and I'm great with checks.
I made a lot of money. I always made good money. Put me in a town without a dime, and I'll drive out in a Cadillac in two or three hours.
After a couple of years, I went to Virginia and bought a farm. My wife started running around on me. She left me, and ran off with a hired hand. The state police come in there, and told me, "Hey, we know all about you. You got twenty-four hours. Don't let the sun set on you in this state. We called Florida, and they got warrants out on you, but they said they don't want you. So get out of here, and don't go back to Florida."
I said, "Screw it!" I ran back to St. Pete with my tail between my legs.
I didn't have too much money, so I figured the best thing to do is start a scam. I became an attorney, James T. Reynolds, Attorney-at- Law, even though I don't have a high school diploma.
I rented this three-suite office in the high-class section of St. Pete. I was interviewing applicants for secretaries. This lady from an employment agency says, "Look, I have this girl who is really good." It was oversell, is what it was. I says, "Okay, I'll talk to her. I'll see her at the Ramada Inn over lunch tomorrow. I'll buy."
This beautiful girl comes in -- nice shoulder length blonde hair. I asked her how old she was, and she said twenty-one. Okay. She says, "I'd like to work as your legal secretary." I hired her. Two weeks later, I married her. Found out she was only seventeen years old.
I pretty quickly had scammed about forty thousand dollars with the lawyer deal, floating checks. When banks see money floating between attorneys, they never question it. You come in with a check that's got "Attorney-at-Law" printed on it, and they're going to cash it. They don't check. I used three different accounts in my name. She and I had a big wedding, and we were living in a condo out at the beaches. She thought I was a lawyer, and so did my clients. I'm going to court, the whole thing.
A friend of mine called from Tampa and said, "Look, John, we're about ready to rape these accounts now. What are you going to do?"
"I just got married."
"You going to leave her?"
I had thought it was just a one-night stand, a week's stand at the most, but I was starting to like her a lot, so I said, "Nah, I think I'll go on vacation. Although, I need a favor. Call up my wife, and tell her that I better come up with what I'm supposed to, or else I'm in deep shit, because something bad is going to happen to me." He calls and tells her this.
"What's it mean?" my wife says.
"It means, pack your stuff, we're going on vacation." I'm really scamming out of there. She stayed with me, and we went up to Virginia, stayed at the Holiday Inn for two weeks. Then we got a big house to rent for a while. We went to New York on an extended honeymoon.
When we came back down to Florida, I couldn't go back to St. Pete, because I had warrants on me. So we went to Sarasota. I rented a house there, and started a scam. I had a phone in my car. The phone rings, and my wife says, "John, there's two sheriffs here who want to talk to you."
"Whoops." I hauled ass, and left her there. I sent her a Western Union money order, so she could get out of town and go back to live with her mother.
I had very little money, because I couldn't get to my accounts, but I'm driving a brand new Mustang with a telephone in it. I got two suits in the trunk of my car, which I always carry. I got to hide some place. I was still in the same circuit court division.
I went down to this travel trailer place. I said I wanted to look at some.
"Oh, what do you want?" He showed me a used eighteen-footer for seven hundred dollars.
"That's real nice," I said.
"You're an attorney?"
"Yeah, I'm an attorney."
"Who do you work for?"
I couldn't think real quick, so I said, "I work for the state attorney's office."
"You mean Farley G. Hefler's office? That State Attorney?"
"Me and Farley are golfing buddies. We play at the club all the time."
"Let me see one of your new units. How about that brand new Tag-a-Long, twenty-four-foot, self-contained trailer?" He let me have a vehicle for the night while he put electric brakes on my car for the trailer. I gave him a check the next day, and I told him, "If there's any problems with the check, just call Farley Hefler and he'll take care of it."
It bounced. I haul ass up to Marion County, put on a pair of jeans, and went for a job interview at a horse farm. The guy was real suspicious of me, because I didn't care about the pay. I just needed a place to hide. I could park the trailer on the property, and hook it up. They had a place for the help to eat right on the farm. I never had to leave the place. I'm a fugitive hiding out with 100,000 horses.
I had just left my new wife and was on the run. I was totally devastated with grief, because I started thinking about her. Realized how much I really missed her, and that this type of life just wasn't working out. So I wandered to where they had the chow hall on the farm. When I walked in, there were fifty-five girls and two guys. I was in heaven. I loved it.
When things cooled down, I got back with my wife, and we moved to the central part of the state. I contacted my Italian friends, and they loaned me fifteen thousand dollars. I opened up Central Florida TV Sales & Service. We stayed there for quite a while. Then disappeared up North for a while. Then I came back down, settled in another little town and I opened up Monday's TV Showcase. My backers paired me up with this guy who had been one of their heavy tactic guys. We wheeled and dealed and made a lot of money.
My wife sat there one morning at the breakfast table and said, "That's it. I've had it. I'm just too nervous." I'm very paranoid on the run. I could never get over being paranoid. It wasn't enjoyable, but I was making good money. Anyway, she left me.
One of my backers told me, "I'm going to send you to Atlanta. What you do is see my friend up there, and he'll give you new I.D." I got up there and that's when I met my partner, Boyd Bradshaw. I met him at the safe house out in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This particular safe house was for the purpose of getting new identification and credit. It was a beautiful house on Susan Creek Drive. When I pulled up in a brand new car I'd scammed, I thought I was hot shit. I was wearing a suit, and everything. The guy who was running the safe house said, "You realize how much this is going to cost you? It's a thousand dollars a week." That was a lot of money then. I said, "No problem. How many weeks?"
"You'll be here about six weeks." So I flipped him six thousand dollars.
"Here's the house. Just do whatever you want." There was a bar in there. Ten bedrooms. Beautiful woods around the place. They had security on the garage when you came in. I said, "Jesus, this is kind of boring."
But later this young guy comes in. Muscular, about six-foot three. He says, "My name's Boyd Bradshaw. I heard you were coming in. They take care of your identification yet?"
"No, not yet."
He got on the phone, and this guy comes to me, "Okay, who do you want to be?"
"I want to be Richard M. Winslow. How would that be?"
"Okay, just fill out this credit application." This guy had a girl that worked for the credit bureau there. She would put all this stuff in the computer, and then punch in that it was verified. Now I fill out all the credit card applications for Exxon, American Express, and all the rest, in this new name. They take them, and they send them off. Couple of weeks later, the credit cards start coming in. The credit bureau verifies all my information.
On my second day there, Boyd says, "Come on, we're going to go have a drink." We went and partied, and then he said, "We got to be back at the house at six o'clock for the big party."
"What big party?" I says, "Who?"
We get back there about six, after drinking all day, and we met a couple of girls. Boyd is the smoothest guy I've ever seen with a girl. I don't give a damn whose wife she is, how much she's in love, he's in her pants before you know it. His job, I found out later on, had been knee buster, a collection agent. That's all he did was collect on loan sharking. We drove around that night in a caravan. There was a Rolls Royce, a Vette, and two stretch limos. I've never seen so much party in my life as I did that night. The first place is T.G.I. Friday's, then on to some private parties at these apartment complexes. I remember getting drunk. I remember going swimming with my clothes on. I remember going out to the Continental, falling asleep, and waking up with some blonde who put my head in her lap and said, "I'm with you tonight." I woke up with her in the bed with me the next morning.
Boyd waltzes in and says, "What type of I.D. do you want?"
"Something with somebody else's name on it."
"You look like the type with the authorities. I'm going to make you a federal communications officer."
"The FCC," he says, "and with enforcement, so you get to carry a gun." About two weeks later, I got all this identification, badge and everything. It was all perfect. Boyd and me became federal communications agents.
Next they said, "Okay, you need a scam. We need a finance man." I went from there to a small town outside Raleigh, North Carolina, to the Dew Drop Inn. The guy owned this little bar, a twelve-unit motel, and at the end there was a beauty shop.
I pulled in there and walked into the bar. I was the only customer. Quincy was a balding young guy. I ordered a beer. I basically just wanted to feel this guy out, see how smart he was, see if I want to have anything to do with him. "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to help you out. My name is John Reynolds, but you'll know me as Winslow. What do you need, Quincy?"
"I need to make some money. I'm about to lose my place here."
"Are you willing to go along with me in every way?"
"Okay, we need to set up some bank accounts. We are going to open up a television place called After Hours TV Sales & Service, because we aren't going to open up till four o'clock in the afternoon."
"Because the banks close at 3:30."
I started making arrangements. Boyd came up, and an Italian guy was set up to be our finance man. We all met, and then we went to the bank, and stuck 150 grand in an account. Very impressive with that local bank. We converted the beauty shop to a television sales place. We went to a TV rental shop and purchased about fifty used television sets. We bought them for $169 and sold them for $139. We went to the Admiral distributor and bought one hundred television sets for $129 apiece, and sold them for $119. We were losing money on everything, but the thing is we were selling.
We opened up two other accounts, and started floating the money. We had a big turnover on cash, so then we started getting credit with the banks.
We started advertising, "After Hours TV Sales & Service! They're going Crazy!" We bought a hundred fifty television sets with remote, advertised, and Monday morning we didn't have one television left. We had promises and deposits, so we ordered five hundred more TVs. When they came, I said, "Quincy, we don't have room in that damn shop."
"Come back in about an hour," he said.
I come back in an hour, and he's got a hole knocked in the wall with a sledge hammer. We eventually broke into eight of the motel rooms. Quincy was "going Crazy!" The money started coming in.
"I like this stuff. I like this," Quincy said. "How much money do you think we can make?"
"How much do you need to make, Quincy?"
"I need to make about $300,000."
"Okay, we'll work on that basis." So we bought more television sets. The disc jockey is doing remotes from our store. Now, we're doing back-to-back advertising, and it was being distributed all over the area. Business was great. The DJ asks Quincy, "How do you do this, Quincy? How can you sell at these prices?"
"My partner just knows how to buy."
I got a Philco guy going, "Guys, you can't be doing this shit. You can't be selling TVs for $139 that cost you $169."
"We do it for promotion."
"I can't do it. We have fixed prices. I have other companies I distribute to."
"Right. Fine. You got other companies buying from you. How many televisions are they taking from you? I can go to somebody else."
"How many do you want?"
"Give me fifty or sixty. And what can you do me a deal on?" And he'd do it.
I started buying tractor trailer-loads of them. The bank would floor plan the stuff. That means they pay the distributor up front. They'd take the serial numbers off the televisions, and once a week the guy would come around, check off whatever was sold, and we had to pay them. Right then, right there. We'd write him a check, but not from the account at his bank. We keep about eighty thousand dollars floating around these four accounts. If any customer paid with a check, we'd deposit it. But we tried to get cash. We'd tell them they didn't have to pay sales tax, if they paid in cash. We stick the cash money in our own pockets.
Quincy's wife, she's real innocent. She told me, "Dick, Quincy's crazy. He lays in bed at night with money all over him. There's nowhere to sleep. He just sits there counting it." He'd paid off the place, and he's out of debt. I told him, "From now on, you are not to sign a check. Don't sign nothing." He didn't question me. It would be me to take the heat. I was already a fugitive.
I had met this girl, and I was living with her. She was beautiful, and smarter than most of the girls, because she kept saying, "How can you do this?" Asking questions I didn't want her asking.
"Don't worry about it," I said. I bought her a horse, and all these other things to keep her occupied and out of my business. She wanted to get married. She saw money. We were living real good.
If I could have sold everybody in that area fifteen or sixteen television sets, we'd still be in business. As long as you keep the pyramid going, it never peaks. But I'd sold just about everybody in North Carolina a new TV.
We had a Super Duper Super Sale. I mean we just cleared the place out, basically. The bank man couldn't get there fast enough to take the serial numbers off. The different distributors and different banks are coming around. We're giving them checks and getting restocked. At the same time, I called my finance man up. He came down, and we paid him off his money, plus interest. I had him send us two trucks down, and I loaded up televisions to send to New York State. That was the next place. Then we raped the accounts down to nothing.
That afternoon, I told my girlfriend, "I have to go to Winston-Salem." She says okay.
My car phone rings after an hour or so, "What time will you be home?"
"I'll be late." I'd already packed up. Threw a bunch of little television sets for trinkets in the backseat of the car. I had about $350,000 in cash on me, hauling ass out of town. The phone rings again, and she says, "Are you sure you're coming back?"
"Yeah, I'm coming back."
The phone rings again, and she says, "Quincy looks a little upset."
"I'll talk to him. I'm going to stay the night here in Winston-Salem." Hell, the next time I called her up, I was in Richmond, Virginia, at the Holiday Inn. I said, "Yeah, Lola, what's going on?"
"They came by and padlocked the door of the warehouses and the store."
"The IRS and just about every other federal agency that goes by its initials."
There is a place out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where the government takes bids from dealerships for ten or fifteen cars at a time, and whoever the lowest dealer is gets it. Me and Boyd were walking through there and saw this car, a Plymouth 440, and it had government tags on it that said, "Federal Communications Commission." According to the sticker, it was going to Amarillo, Texas. Boyd says, "We're going to New York from here, and we need a car. You need to become very conspicuous, because nobody fucks with an FCC agent or any government officer."
Fine. He went and took the serial number off the car, and the next morning he gives them a call. He puts on this drawl and says, "How are you doing? This is Inspector Bradshaw with the Federal Communications Commission. I understand that you have a vehicle designated to be transferred to our area."
"Just a minute, let me check. Yeah, Amarillo, Texas."
"I have two agents up in Washington right now. It be okay to have them pick that vehicle up and bring it down here?"
"Yes, as long as they have proper identification."
"Could you have them met at the airport? They'll be on such-and-such an Allegheny Airline flight tomorrow."
The next day, we show up wearing hats and boots, looking like that guy McCloud on TV. We get off the plane. This guy is looking, and he comes up to us and says, "You guys with the FCC?"
"How'd you know?" I could hardly keep a straight face. We picked up this vehicle, and -- Boy! -- I loved it. That thing was the fastest car I ever driven. They gave us government identification for the car, and three credit cards that went with the vehicle.
We went to upstate New York. I worked for a guy out of California who owned a bunch of massage parlors. At the time, I was financing for him, because he had a couple of businesses that weren't feeling too well. But when things started getting hot up there, I contacted Boyd. He said, "I'll meet you in Knoxville."
I got down there and was hooked up with another partner. I met this real exotic-type French girl. She could hardly speak English. I'm hanging out at a bar called The Night Rider's Club, I mean Gangsters, Incorporated. They have shotgun shootings in there. They're all in there drinking whiskey, and it's supposed to be a wine and beer joint. They're gambling -- there's no gambling allowed by law. We're all partying and having a good time. I'm with this French girl. She's rubbing that pussy all over me, dancing and stuff. Man, I go, "Boy, I've got to have this." I forgot who I am, and I'm not even looking for cops, man. I got a cellular phone out in the federal car. She says, "Can I use your phone?" I showed her how to use it and went back in the bar. She comes in and five minutes later, she says, "Can I use your phone again?"
"Yeah, go ahead."
She comes back. I don't know it, but she's doing soliciting, calling her johns or whatever. My phone was a direct dialing system out of Raleigh since that's where I bought it. You had to go through a mobile operator to be connected. They had me down as a federal communications agent. What they did was call the sheriff's department about these calls, and the sheriff's department was down the road that night, investigating this Night Rider's Club.
I look up, and there's two oddballs in the crowd. They're looking at their watches. They were going to raid the place at exactly midnight. One cop looks at his watch, and it's five minutes of. The other cop looks at his watch, and it must have been a little fast. All of a sudden, this squeaky, little fucking voice says, "All right! Sheriff's Department! You're all under arrest!"
Everybody shut up, and stopped. All you could hear from the other cop was, "Oh, shit."
When the Sheriff's Department arrived at exactly twelve o'clock, both cops were out back with broken legs. They looked like Beetle Bailey after Sarge gets through with him. I got the hell out of there.
I liked the little French prostitute, but she really started something. Not too long after this, Boyd and I were driving down the street with two girls, going to stop at the Ponderosa in this big shopping center right next to K mart. We were just pulling into the parking lot and my phone rings. I pick it up and say, "Yeah, FCC, Winslow."
"This is Knoxville Communications. Could you stop by our office today?"
"I don't know."
"Well, where are you right now?"
"I'm at the shopping center right near K mart."
"Oh, that's on Clinton Highway?"
"Could you hold onto the line a second, please?"
So I'm sitting there talking to Boyd. He wants to go and eat. I didn't really think anything of it. We're waiting and waiting. All of a sudden, I look up and this car comes roaring across the median, into the shopping center, and flies around to the K mart. I look, and here's another one. Here's a cop car coming in, too. I says, "What the hell, hit the police radio." Boyd does it, and we hear, "I don't see the vehicle. What kind of vehicle are we looking for?"
"It's a federal government car."
"Okay, I'm a-looking."
"Boyd," I said. "That's us."
"Ladies," he said, "you mind getting out of the car? We'll meet you inside."
We very slowly drove out of the shopping center and onto the highway. As we were leaving, there's more cars coming in. We're heading on down the highway, and I give it a little kick. I hear, "I just seen the suspects. They're driving a Plymouth Fury, four-door, light color, government tags. I'm in pursuit!"
Boyd says, "Kick this thing in the ass!" I hit that son of a bitch in the ass, that 440 cranked, and we were pulling away from this FBI agent. Over the radio, he says, "Contact the Sheriff's Department and tell them to put a roadblock up on Clinton Highway." Another guy says, "Okay, I'm relaying the information to the Sheriff's Department now." So now we know they don't have direct communications with the Sheriff's Department. But we did. I had every kind of radio in this car.
We're hauling ass. Five or ten minutes down the road, they got two cars across the highway. We're doing ninety. Boyd reaches down and puts the blue light up on the dashboard. He picks up the radio and goes, "This is 2165, this is the FBI. Clear the roadblock! The suspects are on the other side of you men!"
The cars back up, and we zoom right through. We get down to the end of the highway, and all of a sudden State Troopers are coming from the other way. They're on our side of the road so what we do is get on a turnoff and start heading back. We got the light going. Cars are pulling over out of our way. I see this car stuck in the ditch in the median. It's the guy who was chasing us at first. All I could see was little sparks coming out of him as he took a shot.
"I guess he missed us," I said, and about that time the "Hot" light came up. He'd hit the damn radiator.
Coming back to Knoxville, a police car cut us off in front. Boyd jumped out with a shotgun, and just shot the star off the side of the door. The Sheriff's officer threw his gun out and hid.
"You coming with me?" Boyd said.
"No. I'm going this way."
"Okay, I'll see you."
There's this strip mall there, and I went running into this bar. I got up to the bar all dry and out of breath. I got a suit on. Boyd's gone. I'm sitting on a stool, and this guy is going, "How are you? We just opened up today." He's talking real friendly. "Here, have some popcorn. What'll you have?"
I'm drinking this Budweiser, and it's cutting all the way down. I wasn't enjoying it. The door opened. Guy comes over, and taps me on the shoulder, and says, "Reynolds?"
"My name is Winslow."
"You have any identification, Reynolds?"
"I told you, my name is Winslow."
"Yeah, hey, whatever your name is, I want to see your I.D." I took my wallet out, and he said, "Do you mind standing up?" They pat me down and get my .357 Magnum and my backup gun. I said, "I work for the government."
"Yeah, I see that. You got a fucking gun permit. You got government clearance. FCC Pilot's License. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty years worth of fake shit you got."
They fucked with me for a while, then sent me back to Florida. "Florida wants you, and you're in deep shit."
I went back, went to court, and after a lot of wrangling, I went back to jail. I beat most of my bad check charges because they couldn't try me fast enough on them all. I kept filing for dismissal on the grounds that I had not been given a speedy trial. There's no law against impersonating a lawyer, although I got a year or so for practicing without a license. The judge got scared when I submitted a list of all my clients as witnesses to the quality of my work. I'd won most of my cases. The feds tried to scare me, and when I didn't jump at the forty years they offered me, they backed off. So I ended up serving four years of a five-year sentence.
I went back to St. Pete when I got out. I got a job working as a repairman at a TV place. It was really bad. I had this girlfriend who was kind of a country girl. I could never get rid of her. Before I knew it she'd moved into my house. The other girl I'm seeing, I've got to go get a motel room to date, because I don't want to hurt this other gal's feelings.
One day, this beautiful Lincoln pulls up. Out gets a six-foot-three guy in a European suit. He's wearing gold. Walks up there and knocks on the door. I open it, and this country girl just goes Woo-Woo over him. He says, "Come on, John." I go out, get in the Continental, and drive down the road. It's Boyd.
"Let's go to a bar," he says. We go to the best bar in this little suburb. He says, "John, you been out a while. I been keeping track of you. After all, you got yourself a five- or six-year-old car -- no scratches or dents. Looks pretty good. You got you some slob girlfriend. I know your taste is better than that. Man, you're working two jobs. You're paying your rent, but is it worth it? Let me take you away from all this shit. I got some scams going with the U.S. Marshals."
We had a few drinks. He bought me a new suit. We went to a hock shop, and he bought me a Rolex -- a used one, but still a watch worth twelve hundred dollars. Never owned a Rolex in my life. Bought me a ring. Then we went to this gun shop. He says, "Look at that." I was picking up these guns, and just trembling. God, I want one. I left the beater car, the girl, the clothes, everything. We were on the road. Going up to Atlanta to get Marshal's identification.
The stuff they gave me was perfect. If you ever want to impersonate somebody, impersonate a marshal. They think their shit doesn't stink, and everybody around them is fearful of them. All they really are is modified bailiffs. I even looked like a marshal with that serious look. We started hitting prisons and taking people out. The bigger the scam the best it was. For instance, Boyd and I had one call at a prison that I won't mention the name of, but it was in New Jersey. It was a Spanish guy who was in on dope charges. We had gotten twenty-five thousand dollars advance money to make a fast pull to get the guy out of prison. We went to Jacksonville International Airport to purchase our airline tickets. We have our identification pinned on -- U.S. Marshal's badge, gun. The airline there says, "You're identifying yourselves as U.S. Marshals?"
"Where's your destination?"
"Newark." We had cashiers' checks made out for the tickets. On the cashiers' checks you can print out whatever you want that the check is from. We put the United States Department of Justice. Fuck, people are too stupid to realize that this isn't a government check. It's just a check, and it's a good one. We're standing there in our suits. We already got the court order -- a writ of habeas corpus ad proticu, that's the writ we got him out with for the purpose of prosecuting someone.
The girl behind the counter says, "Just a minute. I'll call security." Aw, my stomach just flipped over. These two security officers come up, and they don't even ask for anything. They see our badges, and one of them he says, "Okay, Marshals. I know you are carrying firearms, so let's take you through security."
They took us right through the airport, right through security, and we boarded first on the plane. They knock on the captain's door which he had closed. He opens the door, and they introduce us as U.S. Marshals with the Justice Department. We start bullshitting. My partner asks the pilot, "Do you want us to check our firearms?" Nah. So we keep them. They upgrade our tickets to first class. Boyd takes off his jacket, and he's sitting there with his fucking gun hanging out. Boyd likes to be the center of attention, especially with stewardesses. I think he's laid every one of them he can get his hands on. Me, I didn't like to do that. I don't want to make people uncomfortable, plus I didn't want to be too noticed. I get butterflies on these scams anyway. Boyd's never served a day in prison.
We're flying into Newark. The captain calls Boyd up to the cockpit to ask if we need any ground communications. Boyd says, "Yes, contact Security. Advise them that we need transportation to the prison. "
"Okay." We land the plane, and there are Newark police waiting on us. I'm just waiting to hear them yell out any minute, "You're busted!" This is where the thrill comes in. But we just walk right on out, and I'm half-crocked because I've been drinking on the plane -- I feel okay doing this stuff if I've been drinking.
They load us into a police car, and take us to the fucking prison. The gates open, and we go inside. They take us into administration, and we flip out the writ. They don't even check. Sit there a few minutes, and that guy is ready, bag and baggage. Communications have already handled it. We take him down to the airport Holiday Inn. We get the balance of the money, and this guy is going out of the country.
Coming into prisons, number one you have to worry about whether or not they believe you're a Marshal. They might want to check. They're getting so that they check a little bit. What we'd do is go into the local sheriff's department in some small county on the way to the prison. They're convinced you're a Marshal as soon as they see your car. They're on the defensive, because they want to know what the hell these guys are doing here. Are they here to get me? We walk in there and act like our shit don't stink. I say, "By the way, how about faxing this up to such and such an institution." They would send a fax to the prison, an inquiry: "Do you have David Jones?" They would fax back, "Yes, we have David Jones. Here is his I.D. number." We'd fax a copy of the writ and ask them to fax a copy of the inmate's photograph and paperwork. They'd fax this stuff back to us. Now when the fax comes back, it has the name of the correctional institution on it. The one they receive has some county sheriff's department on it.
Then we went just a little further, just to make sure that there are no screwups. We'd identify ourselves as being from the U.S. Marshal's Department, Middle District of Florida, Tampa. We'd say, "If you have any problems, call the Marshal's service there in Tampa. The operator will be glad to hook you up person to person."
The Marshal's service, like most law enforcement services on the weekend, has call forwarding. They have a duty officer, and that man is the one on call. All you do is get into the phone system and reroute the phone calls. I'm an expert on telephone security. I'd disconnect call forwarding from their man on call, and reforward it to a cellular phone in our car. We only had one time when they even checked up on us. But if they did, the call would forward from the Marshal's Department to the cellular phone, and we would answer. "Yes, I have two marshals on the way. Check their I.D. numbers. They should be .... " They'd look at our I.D.s, and we would clear. The writ would be executed. They'd give us the prisoner, and we'd walk out.
The bigger fool you make of these people, the easier it is to get away with. I guess it's like catching an executive with his pants down, he's a lot easier to get to. Boyd has always been real good at that. He's always been able to manipulate. He can make you feel great, take you out, wine and dine you, and have you in bed with a girl, take pictures of it, and put you right to where he wants you -- to his level. If you're a high and mighty person and a real snob, he'll break you down and make you crawl.
We were taking two guys out one time. We had a week to wait, because the money hadn't come in. We had to have ten thousand dollars, up front, and we only charged them like twenty thousand dollars to get both of them out, because it was a fast package deal. While we're waiting, I'm staying in this weekly rental trailer. That's all I need, just a place to stay. I had a brand new Ford and a stolen Continental, that Boyd stole.
Anyway, I was out drinking, and I met this one prostitute in this little bar down the street. She'd never been to bed with a cop before. And she still hasn't. I went and partied with her. Then I left and went to see the next door neighbor and partied with her. I decided to drive to town. I had my jean jacket on, ready to party.
My pager goes off. "Jim, this is Boyd. I need the Continental. I'll be there in a minute." He comes sliding up in the Ford, blue light going, almost runs down the trailer park manager. I'm inside there, and don't know about this, because -- Ah, shit! -- now I got to change clothes. I'll be driving a Marshal's car. Marshals don't drive around in jeans. So I'm putting on my bulletproof vest, my gun, and all this other crap. I hear, "I've got the keys. Catch you later. It's on the road." That's it, he's gone. He takes off.
A few minutes later, boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. I said, "Yeah, who is it?"
"What do you want?"
"I need to talk to you." I find my gun. I open the door, and he says, "Could you step outside for just a minute?"
"What's this about, officer?"
"About that blue light. Apparently, you had a blue light going in your car."
"No, my partner was driving the car. He just dropped it off."
"Is he a Marshal?"
"Are you a Marshal?"
"I need to see some identification." Now, see, he's intimidated. I'm in a suit. I'm wearing gold, and everything else, and I'm a Marshal. He's a deputy sheriff. I'm somebody, and he's nobody. Even though I'm in the door of a trailer in the middle of nowhere, he's still intimidated, because he doesn't know what we're doing.
I show him what I have on me. "No, I have to see something else."
"My picture I.D. and my permits are out in the car." I go out to the car, but Boyd took the car. My stuff is up there on the visor of the Continental, and it's gone. I said, "I got the Marshal's car here, let me show you the documents."
"I've got to have some better identification." I go through the trailer and come back. He's still asking for identification, and I've already made up my mind: Got to leave. I say, "How about this? Freeze, motherfucker!"
He was just a few feet away from me. That Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum with a six-inch barrel did not impress his ass. "Oh, my God, no!" he yells, and he jumps toward me. Right on top of me. I said, "Get off me!"
"Who are you? Who are you?"
"Get off me," I says. "I'm a Marshal. Get off me."
I cocked the gun back, and he starts pulling on the barrel. Oh, God, man! I uncocked the damn thing. We struggled. Backup comes there because somebody hears the struggle. When they come in, all I see is these shotguns aimed at us, and one of them is saying, "Should we shoot, Dave? Should we shoot, huh, Dave?" If they shoot them shotguns, they're going to get him, too. They grab me, throw me out the door. Kick the shit out of me. Handcuff me. Push my face in the dirt, shoving people away so they won't see this. Throw me against the car. They say, "Who are you? Who are you?"
"I'm a Marshal."
They come out with the name of a local attorney. "What the hell happened to this attorney? Did you kill him? We're looking for this guy now."
They pat me down. "Holy shit! What's this?" They find out I'm wearing a vest. I wished they hadn't found that vest. Then they really beat the shit out of me. That vest didn't stop fists. They ripped it off me. They arrested me for attempted first-degree murder, resisting arrest, carrying a concealed firearm, battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of an automatic weapon, stolen government car. I had an attorney who is now a judge come in the jail to interview me, and he said, "I would like to represent you, but I'm a-scared." I represented myself on the attempted murder charges and all. I went to trial, was found guilty of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, and got ten years. But there were thirteen of us playing Marshal at the same time I was doing it, and there's still somebody doing it today.