John Aleshe/Richard BBS scam
From : Steve Sherwick
: Network Coordinator, Twin Cities Metronet
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
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
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
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.
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
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.