back to article Eighty-year-old US 'web scam man' on the run after pocketing $250,000 in Dem 'donations'

A man facing criminal charges for bilking US voters out of $250,000 by accepting donations for politicians, including Beto O'Rourke, is on the run. John Pierre Dupont was due to appear in federal court in Manhattan back in March but failed to show, despite having posted $100,000 in bail. On Tuesday, federal authorities …

  1. mikus

    Better use of dollars?

    Likely better use of any dollars contributed than what politicians will do with it here.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Joke

      Right Now, On a US Interstate...

      There is a medium speed police chase underway going after a Buick (going the wrong way on a Florida highway) with the left hand indicator flashing continuously.

  2. elDog Silver badge

    At first I thought the perp would be a repuglican, but only $25K for a Mercedes?

    No self-respecting con-artist repuglican would be caught dead in a vehicle less than $50K.

    Still, kudos for the web work. Perhaps there's hope for this old sod sitting and typing this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      party membership

      It's unlikely he's a member of any party. I have not been able to find reliable figures, and party membership means different things in each party and each state, but very few Americans are members of any party. As to motive, again, who can say, since he's skipped out on the trial? Perhaps he wanted to harm Democratic candidates, perhaps he was simply more familiar with them, perhaps he targeted races he felt were likely to be competitive, perhaps he thinks Democratic contributors have more money, or perhaps he was simply being opportunistic in some other way. Given the rather pathetic nature of his efforts, I wouldn't assume too much thought went into it. There was once a forger who misspelled Washington's name on the $1 -- yes, $1 -- notes he forged: https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/finding-mr-880-case-1-counterfeit-article-1.109016. Some scams just rely on the marks being so gullible they don't care at all.

      Nor would I congratulate a criminal on a rather transparent scam, especially if in the long run it ended up doing harm to the campaigns of candidates I support, and more importantly the democratic process such as it is in the States. That someone can still build a web site at 80 is commendable but unremarkable since it requires little skill; the fact that a man has lived 80 years without accumulating wisdom or scruples is disheartening.

      As to the price of the vehicle he bought, your crass and immature partisanship is tedious and unhelpful; it's appropriate to a Marxist book club at a fourth-rate college, but this is the Internet and we're supposedly adults.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: party membership

        "this is the Internet and we're supposedly adults."

        Post proof or retract.

        1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

          Re: party membership

          Woof. We are all dogs. AFAIK.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: party membership

            I'm a cat, but I pretend to be a dog on the internet.

            1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: party membership

              I'm a cat, but I pretend to be a dog on the internet.

              Funny you should say that.

            2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: party membership

              I'm a cat, but I pretend to be a dog on the internet.

              And I'm an Android user, but I identify as an iPhone user.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: party membership

            We are all dogs

            Dogs? DOGS?

            Please. I have more class than that because I'm a cat.

            Meow.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: party membership

              I'm a llama - with cats, of course.

        2. BuckeyeB

          Re: party membership

          I'm a GIRL.

          Guy In Real Life.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Most registered voters are registered in a party

        Usually around 1/3 republican, 1/3 democrat, and 1/3 independent (not quite those amounts since there are a few percent registered in other parties) So there are plenty of voters registered in a party, though the registration only matters in states that restrict primary voting to members of that party (but you can change your party registration easily, so that's not much of a barrier)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Most registered voters are not party members

          Not even close. Voter registration has nothing to do with party membership any more than attending a fundraiser at the local Elks Lodge makes you an Elk. Members of a party, like any club, are those who pay regular dues in some fashion, have agreed to participate in and contribute to party/club business, and usually have taken some kind of loyalty oath or pledge. People who are not members cannot call themselves by the party demonym (far too often they do anyway, but they're wrong). So I say again: very few Americans are members of any party, and it's highly unlikely that our criminal mastermind is one of them. If he had been, any party would have expelled him by now (another way you can distinguish membership from voter registration: the parties have no control over the latter).

      3. Kane Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: party membership

        "this is the Internet and we're supposedly adults"

        [citation needed]

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: party membership

        He chose the Democrats because he knew who would be fooled the easiest. Democrats are not known for being intelligent.

    2. e^iπ+1=0

      $25K for a Mercedes?

      I'd be quite chuffed if I'd acquired that Merc without cost to myself, and I'm not even 80 yet. Not that I'm out to scam people.

      Anyone who has a surplus to requirements $25k Merc can message me here.

      Of course I can pay shipping costs in advance.

  3. Tromos

    Profit!

    What idiot set the bail at 100k for someone who scammed 250k?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Profit!

      That's what I thought as well, he's still $150k up :).

      1. RM Myers

        Re: Profit!

        If he used a bail bond, he could be as much as $240K up. 10% down on a bail bond is not unusual.

        1. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: Bail Bonds

          10% is indeed typical, but If I was an 80-year old, I'd be careful about giving a reason for a bounty-hunter to look for me. I did know a guy who had made a plausibly successful escape out the window when the bounty-hunter showed up, and decided it was a good idea to sneak around the corner and clobber said (large, young, skilled fighter) bounty-hunter with a bit of discarded lumber. Turned out not to be a good idea. But then, setting up a marijuana farm on land he owned and then forgetting to pay the taxes, prompting a visit from the sheriff to post the tax delinquency notice, was also not a good idea. Criminals, like all people, have their brilliant moments and their DOH! moments.

          BTW: I assume the reason he targeted Dems is that there are so many running. Kinda like robbing banks because that's where the money is.

  4. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Happy

    Billions were spent in the last presidential election. I suspect he thought the money, well some it of it at least, would be off in his pocket than the politicians.

    He may have a point

  5. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Holmes

    So that's what Big John's been up to since he went silent.

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      I suspect ...

      ... John's not silent, he's just changed his handle and is refraining from trollingdiscussing politics and related subjects.

      Good plan, John. This round's on me.

      1. Bite my finger

        Re: A word from Big John

        No, I just decided to delete my registration here. I got tired of being silently censored by the staff here for my political beliefs. The ElReg editors in their wisdom placed me on their "must vet" list (secretly) which had the effect of holding up my posts while allowing my detractors to freely harass me.

        After leaving I found I could read what goes on here with much more aplomb and a lot less disgust. Still slanted tho.

        This organization is sick. They don't even see that what they've done is totally wrong and indefensible. I got that impression directly from one of the editors, who didn't even bother denying what they had done to me. BTW, I only signed up again a moment ago, just because I happened to see my name mentioned by my old antagonists. ;-/

        I won't be posting under this name after this, because the same censorship would occur again. I wouldn't mind so much if they made it clear to everyone what they were doing to conservatives. It's the sneaky underhanded treatment that ticks me off. And since they were reading all my posts before allowing them on the site, I couldn't expose them for what they are. This is why we conservatives keep saying we're being suppressed by leftists. It's happening.

        So enjoy your little protected bubble, guys. ;-/

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re:A word from Big John

          "I got tired of being silently censored by the staff here for my political beliefs."

          The fact people can read the above comment kinda shoots down your conspiracy theory.

          C.

          1. Bite my finger

            Re: Re:A word from Big John

            Hey, I had to delete my 12 year old account and make a new one to do this. That kinda shoots you down, don't it?

  6. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Missing a trick

    He could have saved himself a lot of bother by simply forwarding on 1% of the collected donations, and keeping the rest for himself as a "processing fee"

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Missing a trick

      Apparently it is legal if you send the first $5 of each contribution to the named campaign. If that will cause you too much projectile vomiting you can always sell MAGA baseball caps or just ask people to send you money.

  7. veti Silver badge

    The most depressing feature of this story

    ... is that, apparently, '.website' is a TLD now.

    1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Re: The most depressing feature of this story

      Article was copy and paste. No tech geeks were involved.

      Whois has an entry for sinemaforsenate.com

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The most depressing feature of this story

      ... is that, apparently, '.website' is a TLD now.

      It's almost tempting to register website.website and then run a web site at www.website.website. Or should that be website.website.website? (*)

      (*) Sadly no .spam TLD, so Viking websites are out.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        No .spam TLD

        _yet_

        (could you make do with sp.am, registered in Armenia? Yerevan is only about 3000km from Copenhagen)

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: No .spam TLD

          could you make do with sp.am

          My usual registrar has .am domains at £94 + VAT for a year. A bit pricey for a joke.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmm, changed name once, how 'bout I change country?

    "while using his previous name – John Gary Rinaldo – which he legally changed to Pierre Dupont in California in 2012."

    Is there really no explanation for this here? P'raps a prior bit of sleight-o-hand in the past? Y'kno, right-to-be-forgottenfelonious or sometin?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Mmm, changed name once, how 'bout I change country?

      Ah, you mean doing a Monsanto? Yes, not a bad idea.

      Call me Smith from now on.

    2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Mmm, changed name once, how 'bout I change country?

      The Du Ponts are a very well off family, and some have been elected to office. It is possible that the man in question hoped to profit by the reassuring sound of the surname: Dupont sounds like money, governors, and country homes, Rinaldo sounds like nothing in particular. (Apologies to any Rinaldos who might read this, but I think this is correct.)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Mmm, changed name once, how 'bout I change country?

        "Rinaldo sounds like nothing in particular. (Apologies to any Rinaldos who might read this, but I think this is correct.)"

        Sounds like a top flight multi-millionaire football player to us right-pondians (Soccer player for left-pondians)

        Spelling might be different. I don't follow football, but he's so famous here, even I've heard of him.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Mmm, changed name once, how 'bout I change country?

      Most people seem to have a general impression that the elderly are all nice, wonderful people who bake cakes or play chess all day. Criminals get old too! This guy may be a serial scammer from years back.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Criminals get old too!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatton_Garden_safe_deposit_burglary

        ...immediately springs to mind.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Criminals get old too!

          That's easy - just check if he's slim enough to fit through that hole. That rather filters out a lot of people, especially given the rising levels of obesity.

          That said, maybe that's the perfect camouflage - slim like a maniac, break into a bank via a very small hole and then immediate spend a few days at McDonalds making it appear physically implausible that it could have ever been you.

          Sounds like a plan :).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So money ended up in the hands of one slimy ne'er do well instead of the slimy ne'er do wells for whom it was intended.

    I fail to see a problem

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      The people who donated might see a problem

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he was only scamming Democrats..

    If he was only scamming Democrats I would suggest to have a quick look around the White House, Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower.

  11. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "And now he is officially considered a fugitive, presumably hoping that people won't assume that an 80-year-old is really a suspected con man on the lam."

    Well, it worked for Whitey Bulger for better than 15 years, so he's not completely wrong.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      >"And now he is officially considered a fugitive, presumably hoping that people won't assume that an 80-year-old is really a suspected con man on the lam."

      Listen up, ladies and gentlemen! Our fugitive has been on the run for 90 minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground, with a zimmer-frame, is 2 miles an hour which gives us a radius of 3 miles! What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Also, bingo halls.

  12. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    John Gary Rinaldo – which he legally changed to Pierre Dupont in California in 2012

    He was probably hoping any convictions against him wouldn't stick.

    (Anyone else here remember Teflon?)

  13. JohnG

    Back in 1992, this chap already had a criminal record interesting enough to warrant a story in the LA Times:

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-03-15-fi-6793-story.html

    1. Stephen McLaughlin

      Great read, thanks.

      I wonder if the judge that let him post bail knew of his background?

  14. P. Lee Silver badge
    Holmes

    Apparently he escaped to Mexico...

    where he ran into the rest of the Democrat fundraisers.

    1. Ghostman

      Re: Apparently he escaped to Mexico...

      Who will ask him to set up a deal like his to funnel funds to an "undisclosed account".

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