John Aleshe/Richard BBS scam

     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.