Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some day my life will be made in film...

Alright, so things just keep getting stranger and stranger.

Given that the guy knew the apartment, building & area so well, we figured it had to be someone she knew. I did some searching online and ended up finding the girl on Facebook. I looked at her profile & her pictures, and I think it's possible that her boyfriend is the guy I gave my money to - except he had black hair in the pictures instead of bright orange. William and the other guy are less sure though. I also found out that they are currently on vacation in Portugal (a beach in Mexico wasn't a bad guess after all).

Meanwhile, the other dude found proof that she was several months behind in her rent so she was being evicted September 30 and that she also owed EDF a lot of money. *Light bulb* anyone? It seems highly probably that they've done this in order to try to cover her debts. So I spent Wednesday sleuthing around online and found a ton of information about her boyfriend. I found out the his real name, his brother & sister's name, I have his landline and know that he lives in the 13ème and that he's a student at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français. I also found out his parents' name, address & phone number. Thank you Internets. The other dude found her mom's address (but unfortunately not her phone number).

Unfortunately though, I'm less convinced today than I was yesterday that we will get our money back. The other dude called her last night and said she freaked out and acted like she didn't know what was going on - but I reminded him "Look how calm the guy that stole our money was - there are some good actors out there. Maybe she was panicky because she knows she's been found out". Plus, she changed her facebook status to "F*** sirote des bons cocktails en étant recherchée par la police" (F*** is sipping tasty cocktails while being hunted for by the police). Does that sound like someone who's innocent to you? To me, it sounds like elle se fout de notre gueule!!

The problem is, if they were really in Portugal last Tuesday, we can't prove anything. vAnother hypothesis I have though is that it was the boyfriend that I had on the phone while I signed the lease and it was a friend of theirs actually at the apartment. That person had her keys & put them back in the mailbox before leaving, so it has to be someone they know. If it was a thief, they would've just kept the keys. But how to prove it?



Blogger Milk Jam said...

WOW that's insane!!! do you think you could have someone pose as a cop to scare the shit of of them when they're back??? might do the trick...

September 5, 2008 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow good detective skills! I am seriously disappointed that this guy is working in a film library too...send him to jail so I can take his job!

Posing as a cop is a good idea but taking unnecessary risks might put you guys in a tight spot. If they are perfectly happy to steal that much money from two people and live it up on a beach in Portugal, they are going to be without any kind of scruples. That really sucks that the police cna't do anything because subletting is illegal, I had NO idea about that. You would think they would still investigate it as usually people target foreign students.

Or, and this is probably not such a great idea, if the police won't help you crack the case is it possible to go to a local newspaper? Surely they would at least be interested in reporting about htis kind of crime?

Yep, you should totally write a book!

September 5, 2008 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger maitresse said...

this is an unbelievable story. I can't believe you have no legal recourse!

September 5, 2008 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Great detective work! I can't believe the police will not do anything! I think "le tigre in France" had a good idea about going to a local newspaper. You should try to find his mother - even if you do not have a phone number. Go to her address or send a certified letter to her letting her know what her son has been up to! She probably has no clue her son is such slime and he would be so upset his mother found out.

Good luck and even if the police will not help, you should just keep going after them to give you your money back - they might just get fed up with you pestering them and give the money back!

September 5, 2008 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger joy suzanne said...

ohmyGAWD!!! Yeah, maybe you could go to la presse! At least it's an interesting story, maybe someone will pay attention to that!

September 5, 2008 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...


I DO smeall a movie coming out of this disaster! Good detectives you guys are--- I hope you find enough stuff to nail their asses to a fence... No joke... If you want, we can ALL come to the apt. at the same time and "welcome" the BEEEEOOOOTCH back home... Take it all to the media... do what you need to do!!!

September 5, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger PAULINE said...

What I don't get if this was a scam why did they give you the real keys to the apartment so that you could actually get in there? This makes no sense at all.

Why didn’t they just give you false keys/change locks so that you couldn’t get in once they had the money in their hands? Once you get in there you are obviously going to start nosing around, only the dumbest thief would give you keys so that you could actually get into THEIR apartment.

So this makes me think the current renter is innocent and that someone did this behind her back. Maybe someone she had given her keys to so they could check on the place whilst she was away and someone who doesn’t give a damn about her because you would be chez elle and not chez eux.

Although this really stinks for you I don’t think stalking, intimidating people, hacking the computer, going to the mother and even worse posing as the police is a very good idea. The police would really not appreciate this, as you have no proof right now its just suppositions. There are far too many “ifs” And you could end up getting in more trouble than those who have perpetrated the original crime.

I don't see you getting the money back but maybe a local paper can interview about this so it’s doesn’t happen to anyone else.

September 5, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger L'Étrangère Americaine said...

I think it was Colonel Mustard, in the Conservatory with a candlestick.

I disagree with Pauline. I think the girl is 100% guilty and a novice criminal hence giving out the real keys. If someone did in fact steal her keys and give them to the new "tenants" she should have gone to the police to file a report.

If I were Sam I definitely wouldn't take this lying down.

September 5, 2008 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger eastcoastsnob said...

There is also the possibilty that the person you met wasn't in on it and it was just the boyfriend and chick. Maybe the guy asked him to do them a favor since they were going on vacation. If that is possible maybe you can find an alliance.

I'm so impressed with your skills.

There must be something you can do!! Have you spoken with anyone at work about this? Maybe someone there can help you find some legal recourse.

September 5, 2008 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger misplaced texan said...

Wow, I'm totally impressed with your investigative skills! I also think you should keep at it and do whatever you need to do to expose the truth and at least try to get your money back. I'm still a little lost about who's who (like who the owner of the place is and who "she" is), but is there anything of value left in the apartment? There's no doubt that that girl is in on it - her facebook page says it all.

I'm really in shock that the police still don't consider your stolen money a theft - that's outrageous and definitely needs to be exposed to the rest of the public. Good luck and let me know if I can help in any way (like being bait..hehe).

September 5, 2008 at 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe you won't do anything, you CAN do something. Don't let the police tell you there is nothing to do. It is a LIE. You gathered enough evidence that they planned this scam (behind on rent, EDF bills...). Go to the police and PORTE PLAINTE against these people. Go with the other guy and say you want your money back. Find a way to print her facebook page withe the police comment, print the papers saying she is behind on rent... Don't let them tell you you can't do anything. You are American, they don't want to deal with this so they are telling you bullshits.

September 5, 2008 at 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Severine- But if subletting is illegal then how can they prosecute the crime without involving Sam and the other guy? It would be like if a guy went to the police and complained that a prostitute had ripped him off (in a country where prostitution is illegal, say). Of course it's a pretty severe comparison but if the initial act is itself illegal then technically what can they do?

September 5, 2008 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I say it's Ms. Peacock in the kitchen with the ice pick!! Oh my!! What if it's the real owner of the apt. who knows he'll never get the money for the missed rent from the girl living there... So, he/she sets up the arnaque to recover the rent money... Does that sound far fetched?? Though.. HOW IN THE HECK could that BEEEOTTCH go on vacation to Portugal and sip cocktails on the beach if she's soo damn broke?! I think it's her.. Print all the material you can get your hands on... Try to get ahold of the REAL guardian when he/she gets back from vacation.. I don't know what else to tell you but there is sure a ton of things.. Good detective work...

September 5, 2008 at 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

le tigre - she can still pretend (given her foreigner status) she was not aware that subletting was illegal and since he had all kind of papers making it look legal, how could she know?
Also, I don't think the police will do anything to them. Subleting is ilegal but it is not a crime. This scam though is a crime. They stole at least €3,000.

September 6, 2008 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger La Framéricaine said...

This is a very topical story, Sam. I would be willing to bet you that the very same thing is happening to people all over France right this very second.

Interestingly enough, the same sort of scenario is central to the independent film, "The Visitor," although the scam takes place in New York City rather than Paris.

One of the things that makes it very interesting in your case, above and beyond the, so far, expensive cultural experience of being scammed, is that because you are young, white, healthy, educated, American, in possession of a computer and Internet access, legally in France, and emotionally supported by family, friends, and resources beyond France, you have been able to express your righteous indignation, do fruitful research online and get useful information--all of which is totally in the public record and legally available to you. Thus, your sense of empowerment is greater and the possibility of making lemonade out of these lemons is much greater.

This is actually a great story with enormous potential on a number of fronts. I would not be surprised if there were social activists in Paris, as well as in cities like Marseille, who are quite sensitized to this scam happening to poor people of color who are desperately looking for housing and are not in a position to raise hell if they are scammed by unscrupulous, sociopaths.

September 8, 2008 at 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Severine- If something is illegal, then that makes it a crime ;)

I agree that there is a huge difference between subletting and scamming between I'm not sure the police see it that way if it's an excuse not to take any action..

September 8, 2008 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Squat the flat and change the locks.

Oh, and play a recording of a really mean dog whenever anyone knocks at the door with a sign outside saying 'Attention! chien méchant!

Just a thought...

September 8, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

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