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           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 
           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 
           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 
           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 
           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. 
           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.
           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
           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.

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