Anatomy of A Scam Investigation, Chapter Three

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28 Responses

  1. Chris Berez says:

    Fantastic. I can't wait until the next installment. The best thing is that these posts will likely draw other people to Popehat looking for info on scammers and provide them with valuable tips on digging deeper. I know I'll have these posts tucked away– both because I'll enjoy re-reading them countless times while giggling gleefully and because they'll be good stuff to pass around to friends and family.

  2. David says:

    Apparently this is Branden Bell's MySpace.

    (a) La Crescenta
    (b) President of UST Dry Utilities in Ontario
    (c) "Heroes: Only one true living hero David. Hes been through some of the worst but has embedded in me that giving up IS NOT AN OPTION. And for this im grateful."

  3. Michael says:

    Perhaps I'm getting ahead of things here, but Daniel Hesse, one of the four new names listed in the Overland Park US Telecom, is the actual CEO of Sprint. Also, way back in the 80s when what would become Sprint was still United Telecom, they did have a subsidiary or something called US Telecom. Who would've thought it was still around.

  4. David says:

    Yeah. The "David Bell" of Overland Park, KS and Sprint and US Telecom is probably just a coincidence of name.

    The "US-Telecom" associated with the scammer is probably a deliberate variant of the real deal.

  5. Ken says:

    Well, through the Jigsaw link above showing David Bell as being CEO of a US Telecom in Kansas, if you click on US Telecom, it takes you to a page that links the UST Development website. The possibilities are, I think, that (1) Jigsaw has the wrong information, (2) David Bell's US Telecom does have some sort of relationship with the other U.S. Telecom, or (3) David Bell created the profile with false information for some purpose.

    If the Jigsaw page is wrong, that still raises the question of why David Bell is using US Telecom Inc. when there is no such California corporation. Which one is he claiming to be associated with, and what does it actually do?

  6. Doug says:

    Thumbs up

  7. Scott Jacobs says:

    And being a Kansas boy by birth, and frequently going there to see family, I can say that yes, the Sprint offices are in an office park.

    Next time I go out there (likely in a month or so), I'll be sure to swing by the office and see what's up. If you'd like.

  8. Michael says:

    Probably option 3 since the jigsaw link lists David Bell as the CEO AND owner of US Telecom, when it's almost certainly owned entirely by Sprint. Looks to me like he's claiming to be the CEO of some legit US Telecom (though what an incredible twist it would be if Sprint were involved!) that's still around doing who knows what, if anything.

  9. ecurb says:

    Something tells me you will have a hard time collecting anything from this one. How many (otherwise) billable hours are you willing to donate to the cause of putting this scumbag away for… however long scams like this get folks put away for?

  10. Loving this series. Go get 'em, Ken!

  11. Damon says:

    loving this. bookmarking it for future reference in case i need it. :)

  12. Erica says:

    When you're done with this series, you should make it available as a full PDF or book for the accounting offices of companies. I can say that there's a lot of older people in our acct department who haven't even thought about this 'telecomunication' stuff and might actually pay these bills without hearing about the scams. I'd love to have a whole 'lesson' to send them so they can learn! :) Or maybe this is the start to a project or a book? :)

  13. Andrew says:

    Note also that someone using a different alias has posted almost the same thing in response to other complaints on the internet under the handle “blizzard.”

    Now I know why Diablo 3 is taking so long.

  14. mojo says:

    10:1 the whole "telecom" thing started in high school or thereabouts when the Bell brothers learned about Alexander Graham Bell.

  15. NLP says:

    ecurb, Ken isn't looking to collect anything. His office received what appeared to be an invoice, he's decided to do help wreck (at least temporarily) the scammers and he's decided to give his readers a lesson in how to do research.

    I thought I was good at googling. I'm getting a lesson from a master.

  16. EH says:

    why David Bell is using US Telecom Inc. when there is no such California corporation

    Muddying the waters.

  17. Ken says:

    Searches here, for today only, as of 1:30 PST:

    david bell ust (3)
    "branden bell" "ust"
    david bell ust development inc. (2)
    ust development david bell
    ust development scam

    If just one business is spared from falling for this because of what I've written, it's worth it.

  18. Ken says:

    Interesting. At the moment, won't open, while takes me to the site. Wonder if they are trying to hide their tracks?

  19. Kevin says:

    Thanks for all this information. Got one of these invoices today and the first Google search for UST Development had your site on the first page. Kudos for your perseverance.

  20. Ken says:

    Thanks for letting us know, Kevin.

  21. Ken says:

    Just got another email from another person who Googled when they got the invoice and found us.

  22. Joe says:

    I can also shed some light regarding their alleged payroll scams. They have contacted numerous payroll companies to process their payrolls and did not pay the payroll companies. They provided fake checks/banking information and ran fraudulent payrolls. It is my understanding that they have hit over 10 companies to the tune of about $2.0M.

    The Bell's are in Chapter 7 or have completed the BK. UST was in Chapter 11, but was not completed and the company is still in operation with a suspended license.

    Watch out!

  23. Brian says:

    I'm just catching up….but not only is bbell a moron for using his email (if he did), but he's also a moron for using an email that is likely a combo of name and birthday. Forgive me if you've touched upon this, but many people often use first initial, last name, birth month, birth day for email addresses. Just might be more info to help.

  24. Reader says:

    United Telecom (a different company by the same name) was part of the original group of companies that merged in the 1980s to form Sprint. See the full detail here:

    Clearly, the scammer is just borrowing the name and address of a legitimate company that pre-dates the internet era.

  25. Unfortunate Vic/employee says:

    Thanks for doing what you are doing. Everything is true!! The [edited by Ken]

    UV: I elected not to post your accusation, though it has been posted openly elsewhere. I hope to investigate it. If you would like to provide me with information backing what you say, email it to ken at popehat dot com. I do this not because I am obligated to police our comments, and not because I am liable for what you say in comments (under federal law, I am not), but because I feel like it.

  26. Will says:

    Here's Branden Bell's (brandon bell) Facebook
    and David Bell's

    They have 3 "fake" company's US-telecom (UST, Inc.), US Dry Utilities and UST Development. The send "statements" fishing for payments. When you call, they respond that they are solicitations. This is a violation of federal law as mail solicitations must be identified as such in 30pt bold face font. I'd say someone should sue, but doubtful these idiots have any money. Brandon Bell and David Bell are common criminals; do not pay them.

  27. Ken says:

    Will, I don't think you've read Chapter One.

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