Monday, July 24, 2017

The Case of Financial Woe Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Kind of kicking myself for bringing the microphone when I am most likely going to just use my phone to incriminate this scumbag. If I am going to get this guy I will have to look over his security, paranoia and overall standings, I am going to be cagey. This is going to be difficult. Presumably he is smart enough to hire some sort of protection, electronic and/or muscle. I went back to the office to go over the notes. It is pretty clear by Ms. Dietrich, "Chet" covered his tracks but what she didn't realize she accidentally given me a character profile on this jerk with ego, drive and ambition. With this I know the guy's choice of wines, scotches and tequila. Also how much attention he painstaking details over hair, clothes, choice of watch and meals.

Dipping back into the wardrobe I found that Kenneth Cole sharkskin suit is the term for this bright and flashy garment. I slick my hair wrong and I am sure to pick up a few men or two. Not really the outing I am expecting so I think I will just stalk Chet. A black dress suit,leather belt and loafers to complete my ensemble I am really out of my element but needs must as the devil drives.

Checking to see my smartphone was charged I prep my secret weapon. The very precise sound recorder app specifically for taping conversations for most likely interviews. I jab a small microphone plug and wire it to my jacket. Maybe I should find Chet's car to bug as well. We'll see. True to his word, Dave sent me a text reading: "The douche has arrived."

Armed with this information I was off. Leaving the apartment and holding the door for my upstairs neighbor, she eyes my suit in a form of confusion and intrigue. I simply smiled and said I am working in La Jolla and this allows me to work. With that I head out to Eddie V's simultaneously regretting my apparel as I enter the door sliding directly to the bar. Dave entertaining a couple of Asian college girls wearing sheath dresses that are barely there. A sight to behold no doubt but Dave glanced over in my direction, made his apologies and slid my way. "Get you something,man?" "Glenlivet on the rocks." "He glided out prepping my drink with a napkin pointing out the schmuck and I skated over in his direction. Chet was enthralling a couple of familiar cougars that were drooling over Dave seem to be captivated this putz. With a cursory examination of Chet I can see his hair is greying prematurely so his dye job is being done professionally, his manicure is recent as much as a week but the suit was almost as douchus maximus as mine. Sorry Tom but these glad rags are so not me.

I have another glass while watching the master at work and I saw it. A shaven moose in a suit and tie roaming around not far from Chet. So our man of smooth was indeed smart enough to have muscle and brother this cat had to be at least 210 pounds of solid muscle. Just a few tables down Moose sat down with another man with a lesser suit looking odd and weaselly. Maybe 5'8" 165 lbs blond with a deep scar into his right cheek that couldn't been anything but a knife fight that he won. So now we have two lackeys both looking like they know their business and will continue to deal with whatever Chet decries so long as the money keeps pouring in.

I plucked up my glass to get topped off, trying to not eye some of the more lovely roaming about on the prowl. Any guy that tells you he's never seen that hungry look in a woman's eyes clearly has been in his cups and not using his peepers at all.

Chet excused himself as he left to get his glass refilled. I knew this was my chance to bait the trap. I got Dave to fill me up and act as though I have been bugging him. "You sure you need another, man?" "Yeah why not. No wife to go home to and that divorce was a slam dunk. She wasn't smart enough to nail the pool boy outside of the house and CCTV caught it all." "So no wasted alimony?" Chet commented with a chuckle. I swiveled around with a exaggerated inebriation and said,"Brother not only that but I fired the pool boy and gave his name to a few powerful people that had his account as well. Dude's gonna be blacklisted." We laughed and clinked glasses together. "So what kind of work do you do?" Wow, he didn't even wait. I smirked, "I'm in investments. Always looking for a better venture to get me that closer to retirement early."

Chet chuckled and signaled to Dave. "Glennfich 18 years and leave us the bottle. I'm Chet" he said with an exaggerated out reached hand. I shook it. A firm grip and surprisingly neither slimy or clammy after all. "Jake Braddock" "Well Mr. Braddock if it is sound investment you are looking for, why don't you come to my table?" Glancing at his seated hunnies I make a nervous laugh. " I wouldn't want to impose." "Think nothing of it. The ladies love to entertain." "Well you can never have enough entertainment." Chet smiled a grin that just made me want to punch him in the temple.

I slid into the chair across from Chet and introduced my cover to the ladies, Veronica and Chelsie. it was obviously they didn't recognize me from this afternoon. They giggled at my comments and after a few moments Chet starts going on about a few investment ideas that might interest me. We spoke for about an hour and I glanced at my watch. "Damn I have another appointment I have to hit. My money manager isn't the greatest but he is prompt. Can I give you my card?" Chet looked a little disappointed that I wasn't on the hook yet but he played it cool. "That would be great. We'll do lunch." I dove into my pocket to get my card half glancing at the shaved moose to get to see he is packing. Christ it looks like a Desert Eagle. Doesn't anyone carry a Sig or a Taurus anymore?

Feeling a bit buzzed I causally get up and Veronica slipped me her number with a sultry smile. Ho boy that looks like trouble. I pat down for my wallet and Chet insists to close out my tab. I thank him and tell him I will call in the morning if he is available.

Well the upside is I'm not out $60. The downside is the recording didn't incriminate him at all.
If he has any brains at all he will check me out even its just Google. Now I know what you are thinking. I have no secret agent skills to upload a false identity, travel documents, huge caches of weapons and cash at the ready. It is also unlikely that I can infiltrate his lair, drop his men and leave him bruised, battered with a Bond like quip. You are absolutely 100% correct.

I do however have friends. Friends say in high ranking official places like say my buddy Ray Grant, who is FBI. His assignment should he decide to accept it is fudging me a false ID, background, medical and history from a disused ID previously in a case that is no longer active. This cost a lot of begging, manipulation and even a bottle of 20 year scotch I was saving but all for the worthwhile cause of helping a good woman that got duped by a complete and utter scumbag. That being said, really wish I hadn't thrown the bottle of Glenlivet in the pot.

With a bit of subterfuge I carefully slide a tracker under scumbag's bumper, a 2016 Mercedes SL450. I wonder how many lives this cocksucker had to ruin to afford a set of wheels like that. You know he is just going to trade up to the next model much like he does with his marks. Slipping into the Charger I get a text from CPA Brooks. More specifically the automatic payment on my work and notice that my evidence will be used in his brand new divorce case. Apparently Hell hath no fury with Brooks either. No clue if son Billy was bounced from the house, the will and/or swimming with the fishes but that is another worry for another day.

Sure enough after three hours of gratifying himself with his cadre of cougars, Chet called it a night. His two gunsels slide in the back seat of the SL450 and they were off. I give them a block headstart and proceed to follow them. The key to tailing a potential bad situation is not to be bumper to bumper close but not so far away you lose sight of them. The tracker is performing even better than it was advertised. After about 20 minutes on the freeway we made our way into Encinitas. A half way point from La Jolla and Oceanside so it leads me to believe this is his main base of operations giving him close access to all his rented properties where he springs a flashy pad for his marks. I bet he has at least 4 maybe 5 different locations for wining and dining clients, fleecing divorcees and suckering innocent middle class. With his hideout being right on Mission Beach, a condo more than 2,000 sq ft. Best guess is it is at least a three bedroom, two maybe three bathroom, parking place for 4 vehicles, a propane outdoor grill, brushwood patio and a decent chimney for a fireplace.

No chance to be able to sneak a bug into the house. Thanks to a former SEAL buddy of mine, Paul Ecarde I got a crash course in electronic surveillance so logically if I can't bug the house, bug the car. Douchy left the top down and didn't even bother arming its alarm. About thirty five bucks and a trip to Radio Shack gives me the decent transmitter. Transistors, Ohms and solder oh my. Right in the dashboard should do it. We will see what we can find out. That battery will only give it about 8 days of life but I hope to rap this jagoff in a few days. The range on these things vary. Paul was telling me based on GPS, what transmitter and how much the power requirement was... okay yeah I got bored with the terminology. Point is I have gotten so good at making them I was thinking of making a few for Rodriguez on the QT in case they don't get the okay from the higher ups for a legitimate bug.

Dear God he didn't even put it in the garage. The balls on this guy is impressive. I would almost be amused if it wasn't for the fact he is complete slime but the bright side this will give me ears on him. You would be amazed the kind of business chatter that happens in a car. Maybe I'll sick Raoul and his boys on him.  Oh it's not what you think, Being Whedon fans they have chosen the name Reavers as their tagline for their extracurricular cyber activities. Yeah they're hackers. I came across Raoul a while back and when I convinced him it was in his best interest to return the police retirement funds and with that we became buddies of a sort. I do him favors and he does the same.

I woke up the next morning. The bourbon bottle was actually stopped properly. I brushed my teeth, showered and have two cups of coffee to start the day. Hitting the smart phone to see the daily events. More unrest in the Middle East, the Cubs lost 9 to 4 and our President was vulgar and unreasonable. Some days it doesn't pay to check the social media.  I grab my new Kenneth Cole blue sharkskin suit, check my automatic after cleaning it last night. Still not quite used to it but got to admit, it is less bulk than the python. Making my way through my "ID" and sure enough Chet has been biting at the bait but still not quite hooked yet. I will shoot him a text and see about setting up another meet and greet.

I can only hope I don't need to fend off his hired goons. 20 minutes to the office and sure enough I get three responses. He can hardly wait to see me, hope the divorce gave me time to relax and so on. Man this guy is a complete jackoff.

Making friends with this buttmonkey aside, most of his offenses have been plea bargained out or he hasn't even been tried. What kind of trump card is he holding to be allowed to roam free and victimize women? His last case was handled with records. Hmm with records comes Chomsky. I dial up the good Sergeant and get a earful of why I am not married yet and maybe you need a better profession and so on and Chomsky tells me Baker had some larger fish he flipped on and it is still be decided if his testimony is worth the US Marshal service to put in WITSEC. Can't say I blame them, I wouldn't waste a piss on him if he was on fire let alone taxpaper money to keep him living large.

Not sure what the hold up on the trial is but I can assume he got into bed with characters even less savory than him, got pissed scared and ran to dear old Uncle Sam to bail him out. Now he is just stringing them along until they meet all his demands. That being said, whoever he is selling down the river is probably still looking for him and with no direct police protection the hired goons are making a bit more sense now. Looks like this ruckus was started a month ago. Hmm, I don't know the logistics of how long the Marshal Services take to decide to work with this slime.

So with any bit of luck this meet up will give me some dirt on the little weasel that no amount of Federal assistance will aid him. I meet up with Baker at Eddie V's. Dear God isn't it a bit early for cocktails? When in Rome I guess. I left the morning's five o' clock shadow on because with short cropped hair, it's attractive apparently to some. Yeah I am lazy and forgot to shave. West side past the bar, Chet and gunsels already seated and having brunch. Oh they aren't sitting with Chet but you would be a damn fool to think he is rolling without Mutt and Jeff. Hmm maybe Heckel and Jeckel. I came up in good spirits, grabbed a mimosa and had a pull of it.

"Hey, there he is. Grab a seat, Mr. Braddock. Let's brunch." Chet exclaimed with enthusiam of the trained con man. "Okay Chet. I will." God I want a shower with bleach after shaking his hand.

I reached in my pocket with enough speed that Moose almost went for his piece but remembered I'm one of those guys that gestures with my hands. Damn good reflexes though. Grabbing the phone and dick with the recorder and prep the trap. A few bites of an amazing omelette later, I pop the recording button like I am dismissing e-mail and start my inquiries. "So Chet, we were talking finances and I was on your site for about an hour. I guess I'm a doof because I really didn't get what this investment is about. Is this equity or off shore? You got to help me because I was drowning in legal gobbly gook." Chet snickers to himself. "Mr. Braddock. What I am about is investing time and money for you. Certain real estate perhaps. Maybe a club from the ground up. Flipping properties like a foreclosed condo. What you have to understand is I won't make as much as you but my time, effort and expertise won't be cheap either." Restraining from punching him in the balls I press on.

"Okay, I get that. What I am wondering is how does your system differ from any other real estate dealer. Condos are great but you can end up taking a bath on it if you don't watch the spending and man some of the flooring and the appliances can run obscene in no time." Chet sensed he may have a tougher sale, puts the wattage of his smile up to 7 and sips his mimosa before answering. "I get the concern, Mr. Braddock. I move in this town and I see plenty of guys looking to retire before 40 and they're scared to go all in. Nobody's asking that. If you got money to burn, that's great but it's not my style. My job is to work with the client's means, how much they want to invest and above all else make you happy with your returns."

Christ, this guy is good. This tape is getting me nothing.

"Look Mr. Braddock. If you want to put away funds in T bills or mutual funds, that's fine. I can just see you living better, hell living large with a few of the things we could do together." Trap is set for the mark. Yup, he is signaling for the check and getting up. "I've got a full day today, Mr. Braddock. You want to give this a go, you've got my number. I'll get the check." I let him sweat it out for 20 seconds. He is almost to the door and I come up to him a bit nervous, "Y'know what? Let's see what you can do for me." Chet beamed, "That's the spirit, Mr. Braddock. I'll call you tomorrow, bring you over to my place and show you a few options and then we will be celebrating in no time." I thanked him, shook hands and then he was off. Goons took another exit and came in behind him without drawing attention to anyone untrained.

Well shit. My recording netted me nothing more than another sucker falling for a con. No details on the record, no real game plan and no incriminating verbal evidence. Bet he sweeps for bugs at home. Welp, time to check car bug.

Got back to the Impala and tuned into the bug, hit record and hoped for the best. "Mr. Baker, dat guy seemed pretty desperate." Guessing that was Moose. Chet's overtly loved tones followed up with, "Yeah Garry, most men are too afraid to do what's necessary in life so they play it safe, dot their i's, cross their t's and never get a taste of the good life. Did you see his watch? It was an Omega." Chet basked in his observations before cluing Moose in more. "He's hungry, not too bright and looking to spread his wings. We'll give him the big show, he'll drop big in less than a month, hell probably right into home equity and then we fleece him for everything he's got."

Bingo. I just about shut the bug off when a gravelly voice spoke up. "I don't trust him. He's got a cop face." "Jimmy, you say that all the time. I appreciate you looking out for me but where's this coming from?" Jimmy felt the need to school Chet a bit further. "I'm telling you I have seen that guy before. He's trouble. Either ditch him the moment you get the money or we just bump him off now." Chet sounded like he was mulling over where to fish or cut bait. I started up the Impala and followed to stay in range. "You are as always a very keen observer of men, Jimmy. Tell you what. I'm going to give him the invite and if it looks like bacon and then we fry us up a little piggy. I got a place up the coast to drop his ass off if this deal goes south."

I snapped off the bug, saved the recording and e-mailed a copy to me and gave serious thought of sending it to Clancy or Chomsky so my body isn't with the fishes. I don't have enough to make a real case with the department but it is enough for a search warrant on their end. I decide to send it to the Cloud as well, allowing for a back log just in case.

I head back to the office with a warm glow you only really get after a great glass of scotch or that body rattling orgasm with the girl that gets you. Parking a block away from the joint my glow dimmed as I saw two suits in a Lincoln continental with Federal plates. Maybe they're here getting their teeth cleaned. From the level of sweat on their necks, they've been waiting awhile. I glanced down at my watch then made like I left my phone in the Impala. I got in and was starting the car when a tap, tap tap came rapping on my glass window. Well it wasn't a raven but a badge pressed about the window door. The thick necked, ex-military man looked right at me through his Rayban aviator glasses and said the dreaded phrase, "Turn off the car and step out of it please, Mr. Malone."

Oh yeah, this should be just ducky.