Having just finished Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels I’ve taken to wondering about a con one of the main characters suggests early on. Essentially, he proposes that they advertise some form of sex toy (a dildo, I think) in various gay men’s interest magazines, porn catalogs, that sort of thing. Those interested in buying their product will send them a check for 20 pounds made out to a company they’ve given a relatively innocuous name, something like “Joe’s Sporting Goods”. After recieving the check they wait a few days and send a form letter back to each customer, saying “We’re sorry, but we’re out of stock and unable to fill your order at the present time. We’ve included a check to refund your money.” The trick to this whole affair is that the check will be in a second, extremely lurid company’s name, “Ass ticklers anonymous” or something equally suggestive and offensive. The con men were banking on the fact that the vast majority of people won’t cash the check, due to their reluctance to let anybody wonder about their hobbies.
Assuming the scheme had a decent turnaround, and assuming that every suggestively named check returned to the unwitting victims was authentic, is there any way the con men could be prosecuted for a crime, or is it all perfectly (if unethically) legal?
(Disclaimer: I’m not asking for legal advice. ^^)