From : Steve Sherwick : Network Coordinator, Twin Cities Metronet : 1:282/0
TO : All Concerned SysOps and BBS Users
Sub. : 1:282/1 : AKA P.C. Info Exchange : AKA Midwest Echo Star
And : John Richard : AKA John Aleshe : AKA John Richards : AKA John Paul Aleshe
As Network Coordinator for the International FIDONET in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (The Twin Cities Metronet) it falls to me to disclose the direct information concerning the John Aleshe/Richard affair as it relates to the FIDONET and the BBS community.
I first made acquaintance with John under the name of John Richard in the fall of 1987, he had moved into the area and set up a BBS system called P.C. Info Exchange as a node in Region 14. At that time the Twin Cities was not a net but was preparing to create one.
John entered the area claiming he had moved in from the Portland area. He stated he was a officer in the U.S. Air Force and was assigned to Honeywell (A large defense contractor in this area) as an inspector in the avionics division. He had said that his assignment was for at least three years and that he was pretty well here for good.
John apparently had good contacts in the Portland area in the FIDO community as within two weeks he was importing more echomail for his system than all T.C. Metronet systems combined.
John then basically made a broad offer to us here, that as long as he was importing echomail he'd be happy to scan any mail he was importing for anyone in the net. Well this is like the goose that lays the golden eggs, SysOps were lining up to have him scan for them.
Around November of 1987 the SysOps here held a meeting to confirm that we would form a net in the area. At that time I was appointed Network Coordinator and John accepted the post of Network Echomail Coordinator. We applied for a Net number and it was approved. P.C. Information Exchange was assigned the node/number of 1:282/1. John at this time started experimenting with multiple lines and brought his system up to eight lines all told. He was selling subscriptions at $20.00 a year to help offset costs. At the time P.C. Info Exchange went down on May 1, 1988 there were in excess of 300 subscribers.
Through the first part of 1988 John established communications with other major echomail hubs in the FIDONET and became part of the backbone. The backbone is a massive mail moving effort on the part of the network. Through this association he was assigned the position of The Midwest Echomail Star and started scanning mail on a more massive basis. I found later he was not only scanning mail in massive amounts he was actually delivering the mail by the use of a series of 800 lines he had negotiated from the phone company. All told we discovered after the fact he was maintaining a phone bill in excess of $1000.00 a month. We also found that John did not pay his last months phone bill upon departing.
Basically speaking, John had made a good presentation in the area as a concerned SysOp and a friend of the BBS community.
The first real hints of the difficulties we were to experience came at the end of April and the beginning of May 1988. On April 30, 1988 Both Don Seiford (1:282/3) and I received phone calls from John indicating he was being called away to Boston on the possible closing of a home he had there. He had in the past made mention of a house in the east so his leaving seemed plausible.
That evening for the first time in four months P.C. Info Exchange was down. The line were busy and there was simply no getting on the BBS. Voice calls placed to John were answered by an answering machine. It might be informative that John religiously answered the phone "This is John". It was a strong personality quirk.
The next morning (May 1,1988) David Garner of Cascade Electronics (a local supplier of computer products) called me at my place of employment in quite a panic. He stated that John had been scheduled to speak at a users group meeting that morning and had not arrived. He also mentioned that he and John had quoted a bid for the Minneapolis Public Library System and that as part of the terms all the hardware had to be installed by that day. He said that John had been impossible to reach for better than 24 hours. I told David that John had mentioned going to Boston and should return that day.
David then called the Library System to confirm the hardware had been delivered and was informed the the bid had not been let at that point in time. Since David had provided hardware for that bid to the tune of $48,000 he was deeply concerned.
This really caused us to be suspicious!!! We then called all known possible places of employment he had mentioned and confirmed that he had never been employed by any of the firms at any time. We then made multiple sight inspections of his place of residence over that day to confirm there was no traffic at his home. We also interviewed some of Johns near neighbors and confirmed he had been seen moving large amounts of computer hardware from his residence.
We at this time were pretty well convinced John had skipped town. David Garner agreed that he would file a report with the sheriff in his area and I agreed to send a series of notes to the FIDONET Region 14 Coordinator (At the time Ken Kaplan) explaining the situation as well as to Johns major echomail ties requesting information.
The next day I received a voice phone call from Ken promising the full support of Region 14 and the net in cleaning up this matter. We then agreed to let the law take it's course but if any information became available we would share what we found.
That night the deluge began, in one night I as Net Coordinator received 85 messages requesting information on the status of P.C. Info Exchange, other boards here were subjected to bombing runs by nodes wondering where their echomail flow had gone. In less than two days, the largest disruption of echomail flow in the history of the FIDONET took place.
The next evening we received calls from many major FIDONET nodes but the one most useful came in from Portland Oregon. The SysOp informed us that the methods of operation of our John Richard were quite a lot like a person who had done the same type of thing in Portland. That persons name was John Aleshe.
We also received calls from the Denver area reporting that John had been in that area working the Gray Market for computer parts.
Well, the timing was perfect. The local police had John checked in Colorado for driving offenses, that coordinated with a file at the FBI and we had him.
Wednesday May 11,1988, I was invited along with David Garner to appear at the Federal Building in Minneapolis to identify a series of photographs. When we arrived we were introduced to Fred A. Tremper an F.B.I Special Agent, Ron Anderson an Eden Prairie, Minnesota Detective and Robert Dissel of the Goodhue County Sheriffs office and asked separately to identify the photographs. We agreed completely that the person pictured was the person we knew as John Richard. These same photographs, provided by the courtesy of the F.B.I are included in the complete distribution package. They were scanned into VGA quality images in GIF format.
We were then informed by Agent Tremper that John was wanted in Texas for Attempted Capital Murder of a Police Officer as well as scams too numerous to mention.
We were asked by the F.B.I. to try to keep the affair quiet as they hoped John would resurface and they did not want to scare him off. We agreed to hold this information for a period of three months, the period has expired and we are releasing full disclosure with this packet.
We would like to thank the many people who have contributed to this effort but to be blunt many have requested to be left out of any public display of gratitude. We can appreciate the viewpoint and want to make one thing perfectly clear.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS PERSON!!!!!
He was known to be armed in this area, carry large amounts of cash and has a Federal Warrant for Interstate Flight to Avoid Prosecution for Attempted Murder of a Police Officer issued against him. He has charges filed against him in the Minneapolis area alone totaling $125,000 in losses generated by his fraudulent behavior. He alienated BBS users and SysOps all over the country. John has been a repeater, he seems to use the same methods where he turns up so please feel free to post this data where it seems appropriate.
PLEASE IF YOU SEE THIS PERSON, CALL YOUR LOCAL POLICE!!! DO NOT ATTEMPT ANYTHING THAT MIGHT BE LIFE ENDANGERING!!!
If you have information on this individual please feel free to send a confidential message to me at 1:282/0. You can also call my BBS at (612)-938-4799 and leave a message to the SysOp.
If you see this individual please call the local police and mention the NCIC Code is I.O. 5061 4-488.
The agent in charge of the case in the Minneapolis area is:
Fred A. Tremper 110 South Fourth Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401 (612)-339-7861
Please call your local FBI office or your local police however. You will receive the fastest attention in that manner.
This document is being provided in two forms, one is a FIDONEWS release version that is this document and a trascription of the FBI wanted poster. There is a distribution file named FRAUD.ARC that is file requestable from any Net 282 bulletin board system. It includes this file, offense reports, a transcription of the wanted poster and four VGA compatible scanned images in color and black and white. It will also be made available to the coordinator level in the FIDONET. We will distribute it as fast as is possible.
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/bbs/net282.txt · Last modified: 1999/09/30 01:30 by 127.0.0.1