Scamming the poor

The local chapter of the Ontario Native Women’s Association on the Fort William First Nation reserve in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was offered a truck load of brand new winter family clothes and children’s school clothes provided that they pay the shipping cost of $2,200. The person who made the offer was Alfred Krausel of Oshawa, Ontario.

The ONWA paid the $2,200 for shipping, and the transport arrived full of garbage: 44,000 pounds of moldy rags, rusty hardware, old plumbing, and needles.

This leaves a lot of families without the clothing they need for winter, and the ONWA without the money they need to find such clothing. The community as a whole is pulling together to meet the crisis.

I note that in Ontario we have tipping fees at waste disposal sites. We also have a law which makes the party which has the trash dispose of the trash, regardless of whether or not someone else dumped that trash on them. In other words, the cheapest way to get rid of a truck load of trash without risking criminal penalty is to donate it to an unsuspecting party. Due to legal costs being what they are and native charities being as impoverished as they are, there is very little risk of a civil judgment and no risk of a large civil judgment.

Krausel claims that the shipment was perfectly good, and that he has been making such shipments for years to Africa without complaint.

I have seen the trash. Krausel, you are a very poor excuse for a human being.

What a cockburger.

I have to disagree. Granted, I don’t know how the Canadian legal system differs from the USA, certainly not in Ontario, but it probably doesn’t matter. A case like that is the sort of thing that lawyers and politicians can build a career around. [sub]I know, not the most stunning endorsement, is it?[/sub] But if they can find somebody who’s willing to argue their case pro bono* or work for a percentage of the expected judgment, they still have hope.

I sincerely hope ONWA makes the attempt, and the Canadian gov’t passes a bill allowing corporal punishment for gross fraud. Who wouldn’t like to see this sonuvabitch gang-raped by syphilitic gorillas, flogged with barbed wire and rolled in salt-laden feces?

And from the follow up story in Saturday’s paper:
The Sally-Anne is coming through with an emergency clothing drive, and the poor fellow who steered the ONWA to Krausel in the first place has reimbursed the ONWA $2,200 out of his own pocket so that the ONWA won’t fold (they had intended to recoop most of the expense by charging the 2,000 registered recipients $1 each, so this mess has just about sunk them).

I am a civil litigation lawyer in the community here. Because the community will find the clothes elsewhere, the damage will have been mitigated to $2,200 shipping and $600 disposal. That puts it within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court where costs awards are only nominal. If ONWA wins, they would only be able to get about $3,000 to $3,500 all in.

This has to be weighed against a probability of the matter being heard about a thousand miles away in Toronto where the defendant is located. This would eat up any possible winnings.

This also has to be weighed against the possibility of the Court not finding for the ONWA by virtue of the contract being verbal. The ONWA claims the donation was for new clothes. Krausel will claim that the donation was for “African grade” materials, and that there have never been complaints before (as if a charity in Africa would have the resources to go after a company in Canada!).

All in all, I expect that the ONWA would win, but they would have to go out on a limb to do so, and might vey well be better off putting their energy and resources to scrounging up some new benefactors.

As far as a lawyer running the matter pro bona, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone comes out of the woodwork. We have six years (the limitation period for this sort of thing) to get the ball rolling. Many of us do a lot of free work, and we’re all truly swamped at the moment, so no one has come up to bat yet, but as I say, I expect that someone will sooner or later. The local bar works very well together, so we’ll find the resources between us. Perhaps one of next year’s crop of articling students can run with it? In the mean time, some of us are shelling out some cash for the ONWA.

As far a fraud goes, the burden of proof is even higher, and the police have already declined to prosecute.

That Krausel really annoys me. I sincerely hope that I or my friends down in his end of the province have the opportunity to take a large bite out of him someday.

Muffin, I’ve sent you an e-mail at your listed address entitled “Sofa King From The SDMB.” If I can help in any way, please get in touch with me.

Muffin, pleeeease get in touch with me. I work in American Indian affairs. I am not trying to get your business or scam you in any way. All I want to do is help.

I want you to forward this to a number of Indian-focused news sites as soon as possible. This is an outrage which cannot be allowed to go unnoticed, but I want you to have the credit for forwarding the story, if you want it. If you do not, I will be more than happy to do it anonymously, but please let me know soon.

I’m not kidding when I say that a story like this will not only enrage tribes across North America, it will almost certainly come to the attention of people who can and will be willing to help you. You’ve got to nail this bastard’s ass to the wall.

I would love to see an actual picture of the shipment.

Nuts and bolts are valuable in quantity, and always have at least a scrap value.

I’m curious as to the usefulness of the items.

This is why the Red Cross stopped accepting donations of material goods - companies were sending expired pharmaceuticals and food products and unusable junk in return for a healthy tax write-off.

Scylla, I’m sure bags of garbage and bits of scrap metal are “usable” to someone, somewhere - still, that’s not what the charity paid to have delivered.

I don’t understand what happened here at all. The guy who sent the shipment had nothing to gain. Why would he “Scam” them? There was nothing to scam.

It’s a truly bizarre story.

I imagine the original owners of the junk paid him to dispose of it. He accepts that money, gets the charity to pay for shipping, and voila, he profits at no expense except his soul.

Absolutely. They were told winter clothing, that’s what they should have got.

If that junk had some value at all though, it seems a shame to pay to get rid of it.

If somebody would have gone through it all, and put some man hours into it they might have salvaged the situation, or gotten back some cash.

Surely that seems better than paying to get rid of it, which just worsens things.

RickJay, the guy has a load of garbage he needs to dispose of. If he does it correctly, he will have to pay expenses to haul off and expenses to put in a landfill or expenses to sort and process. Whatever the method of waste disposal, it will cost him money.

Instead, he gets the charity to pay the shipping costs, and he ships it to them. Thus he not only isn’t out any money for transporting the materials, he didn’t have to pay any disposal fees. Ergo, he saved money. That is his financial incentive.

Muffin, sounds like Sofa King is very willing to help spread the word, so no other groups get slammed by the same guy. Won’t keep others from doing the same, but maybe this guy won’t crush some other needy cause.

What a sleezebag. I love that - “African grade” materials.

The guy got $2200 for a truck full of garbage that he didn’t have to spend $600 to dump.

Lately, I’ve been learning more about the lengths people will go in order to not pay the expense of legitimately disposing of waste, and I’ve heard some pretty amazing stories. This guy has no competition that I’ve seen for underhanded dealings.

He didn’t get anything. The carrier got the $2200.

I can see the point about getting rid of junk for free, but man… risking this for SIX HUNDRED BUCKS? If he’s a con man, he’s the stupidest con man in human history.

I liked his comment when accused of having the clothes full of rusty screws and needles; “well, they have value, too!” Gosh, thanks, Mr. Big.

Although they can’t lay charges, the cops have dug into their pockets to pay half the tipping fee the ONWA had to pay at the dump.

The trash made the national news on the CBC. Here is This is the list of newspaper stories in chronological order: 24 August 2001 Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal 25 August 2001 Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal 26 August
2001 CBC News

SofaKing: Thanks for the advice. I have followed it.

NoLongerPatrick: Thanks for the suggestion. Please pass on the info.

Scylla: Yes, there would be some value of the trash to some people somewhere, but not here. The clothes were mouldy rags (e.g. jeans with the crotches rotted out). There is no rag recyling up here. (BTW, a reserve up the road in Long Lac has been evacuated due to mouldy buildings, and the local university is forking out 1.2 million to take care of its mouldy building problem, so I doubt if the ONWA was too interested in storing and sorting through a huge pile of mouldy rags.) The screws and bolts mixed in with the rags were rusty, so their scrap value was negated by the need to get the load to the dump rather than unload it all, pick through it, and then pay for another transport to take it to the dump. There is no need what so ever for needles here. (Trust me on this one. A few of us just finished raising $120,000 for some local medical charities, and needles were never on any of the wish lists.) Obviously the needles would be valuable in some parts of the world, but here they were only hazards mixed in with the rags.

All: What the donor was thinking is hard to say. Yes, he avoided paying local shipping and tipping fees for trash, and probably took a tax break. If he were only caught once every few times, this would still be to his financial advantage. At the same time, he may actually think that he was doing something worthy. All I can say is that he is mistaken.


Thank you, Muffin, for doing the right thing. I wish you the best of luck up there.

Now let me get this straight… NEEDLES? Like in hypodermic needles? USED hypodermic needles? Unused needles come in nice sterile plastic wrapping, and any hospital or clinic would have loved to have them. USED needles are hazardous waste, and here in the US, they have regulations against improper disposal of hazardous medical waste. I assume Canada has similar regulations.
I have heard of places in africa that collect and “recycle” medical waste, mostly looking for used needles. Obviously this is what they guy was thinking when he said people want this stuff. But used needles are still an appalling health risk, no matter where you send them and no matter what you do to clean them. AFAIK, disposable needles are deliberately designed to melt if they’re sterilized in an autoclave, which is what you’d need to properly sterilize them.
Please keep us updated on this asshole. I look forward to hearing of his indictment for fraud and illegal disposal of medical waste. I especially look forward to hearing of his incarceration.

Seems to me that “a law which makes the party which has the trash dispose of the trash, regardless of whether or not someone else dumped that trash on them” is a really bad idea. Such a law inevitably has the effect of encouraging people to dispose of their trash by sneaking it onto someone else’s property, or via scams like the one described here.

The ONWA was offered and paid for what they thought were new winter clothes.

Alfred Krausel sent them his trash. At a single glance I could tell the difference between new clothes and garbage. I bet Krausel also shares this ability but lacks things most of us do have… morals and a soul.

Alfred Krausel of Oshawa, Ontario is a sad fucking excuse for a human being and appears to be totally unrepentant for his actions.

Here’s a thought…

It gets really fucking cold here in the winter and -40 is almost a guarantee. Krausel should be dressed in moldy rags and put out when winter is at it’s peak. While he’s out there he should be made to sort trash so that he learns to tell the difference between what’s good and what’s not.