The Chicago Syndicate: The Dixie Mafia Lonely Hearts Scam
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Dixie Mafia Lonely Hearts Scam

Dixie Mafia inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola were behind a scam, in the 1980's, that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ringleader Kirksey McCord Nix—a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without parole—believed that if he raised enough money he could buy his way out of jail.

Here’s how the scam worked: Inmates paid guards to use prison telephones. Then they placed bogus ads in homosexual publications claiming they were gay and looking for a new partner to move in with. The men who replied to the return post office box address got additional correspondence and racy pictures. But there was a catch—the scammers told their victims a variety of lies about why they needed money before they could leave where they were.

“A lot of money came flowing in,” said retired Special Agent Keith Bell. “There were hundreds of victims.” Men from all walks of life—professors, mail carriers, politicians—fell victim to the scam. “One guy in Kansas mortgaged his house and sent $30,000 to the scammers over a period of months,” Bell recalled.

To add insult to injury, some of the inmates writing letters eventually confessed the scam to their victims—and then extorted even more money by threatening to “out” the men if their demands were not met.

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