4.10.2009

Catch me if you Pen


This story, while entertaining, serves as a stern warning to all fountain pen dealers. Fraud is something that we all try to be diligent to avoid, and the business of fine-writing is certainly not invulnerable to swindlers.

Possibly the most nefarious fountain pen con-man may be having a comeback. A US Dept of Justice press release, dated back in 2006, describes the account of one Mauricio Aguirre-Orcutt. Lies, false identities and forged documents are just one set of tools of the con-man's arsenal for coercing thousands of dollars of fountain pens into his possession. 

His dealings eventually caught the eye of the US Secret Service in 2004 when he impersonated a close friend to George W. Bush in order to accept an expensive David Oscarson limited edition fountain pen. He claimed that the President would use the pen to sign the Medical Relief Act during a White House ceremony. He even doctored a digital photograph, inserting an image of the Oscarson pen into a picture of the President signing a bill to "prove" that he used the pen. 

This was but one of the many stories of the fine-writing retailers swindled by Aguirre-Orcutt. Some of the biggest pen dealers in the business have been hit for tens of thousands of dollars by this con-man. As of the last few months, he has been released on parole and there is reason to believe he is back to his old tricks.

After speaking with several sources that have dealt with him previously, we have ascertained the following buying patterns of this individual:
  • Mauricio uses his name, or an alternate version of his name, or an alias to place orders or contact you.
  • He usually prefers buying expensive or limited edition fountain pens in broad point.
  • He may try to obtain a "sample" by explaining his contacts or associations of importance as a noteworthy public figure.
  • He may also swap the pen that he purchased with a lower-priced pen and request a return, asking for a full refund of his purchase.
  • He may also be looking to sell a large amount of expensive, limited edition pens.
We hope that everyone in the pen business will conduct their dealings carefully, especially in these times where a fraud order can be the difference between staying afloat or sinking in the red.

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