March 1, 2012

Latest Phone Scam, "Relative in Distress', Hits Memphis

One of the latest in a long-line of techniques devised by the unscrupulous to bilk the unsuspecting out of their money has begun making it rounds in Scotland County.

The new technique made national news back in December when law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles began warning the public of an increase in the number of reports by victims of telephone scams where the caller impersonates a family member of the victim and concocts a phony scenario suggesting the relative is in distress.

Steven Martinez, the FBI's Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office advised the public about the emergence of the "relative in distress" scam, or RID scam. Law enforcement agencies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of complaints by victims of RID scams according to the FBI.

That was the case last week when a local woman answered her phone around 10 a.m. and found a caller, claiming to be her grandson. While the voice didn't sound right, he used a correct first name, and told "grandma" that he had a cold, so he didn't sound normal. He asked for strict confidence, noting he was only being allowed one phone call, so he was going to turn the phone over to a public defender, who promised to get him out in a couple of hours and insure that the incident would not be on his permanent record, if I could help him out.

The caller claimed to have been in an auto accident after leaving a reception at which he had been drinking alcohol. He apologized for his mistake, but went on to ask grandma to wire him $3,600 that could be used as restitution for the accident victims, who promised not to press charges if the bill was paid to the rental car company.

Check, credit card nor insurance couldn't be used, because the accident victims were from out of the country, and they had to have cash to pay the rental car company.

If the money was not sent immediately, the grandson would be held in jail several days and would be facing serious legal charges and the court process. At this time, he turned the call over to his public defender, Mr. Stern.

She questioned Mr. Stern's first name and he replied, Richard.

Without giving any information out, the grandmother noted $3,600 wasn't going to be easy to come by. Mr. Stern then lowered the amount to $1,800, and requested she retrieve pencil and paper to write down instructions.

"Mr. Stern" told her to go to her bank and get cash and then go to Western Union where she would request a sender form and send it and the money to Wassim Barchan in Beruit Lebanon. He gave a street address, but specific instructions not to use it.

When grandma pressed for information about where the call was being made from, the public defender stated Lebanon, Missouri. The grandma replied that she was nowhere near Lebanon and that her grandson did not reside there. He must have realized he was in trouble at the point, because the phone went click.

While senior citizens are typically targets for these types of scams, these criminals got more than they could handle with this grandma.

Their prospective victim immediately called the local FBI office to report the incident. She then called her grandson and informed him of the incident.

"I have to admit this was very clever," said the grandmother, who asked to remain anonymous. "I knew it was a scam, but I followed along trying to get more information. I hope by sharing it with the media, that people will be aware of the problem and won't fall victim to the crime."

According to the FBI, RID scams can vary in terms of the details supplied by the scammer, the target demographic and the location from which the scam is perpetrated, however, the general fraud is carried out as follows:

Victims are contacted by one or more individuals claiming to be a relative of the victim in a situation causing them some form of distress. The scammer advises the victim of the circumstances of their situation and invariably concludes with a plea for help in the form of cash. Victims are asked to wire money to an address, many times overseas, and in some cases will be asked to send money more than one time as the purported circumstances evolve and become more harrowing. In some cases, the caller will introduce a third party, such as a purported embassy official, police officer, or lawyer, to the phone conversation in order to lend legitimacy to the scheme. In most cases, the caller impersonating the relative will claim to be in the hospital, in a foreign jail or in an otherwise compromising situation where cash is required immediately. In these cases, victims have claimed to be distracted by their emotion and influenced by an intense desire to assist their loved ones. In an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement or circumspect family members, victims have reported that the fraudulent caller advised them to refrain from telling other family members about their purported plight so that they would not be embarrassed. Law enforcement theorizes that many of the perpetrators mine websites or personal social networking sites to obtain personal details about their target victims.

Law enforcement has been successful to a degree in identifying victims and prosecuting offenders operating in the United States and from overseas, but stresses that prevention in the form of education is the key to preventing the continuous problem.

Victims who are contacted under circumstances that resemble a RID scam are advised to investigate requests for financial assistance from those claiming to be family members or others before sending money.

The FBI and its partners encourage the public to report any fraudulent activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint project of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, at

Tips for Citizens Who May be Targeted for Fraud:

Be suspicious of any offer that sounds too good to be true.

Take time to research any offers you receive over the Internet or telephone.

Fraudulent telemarketers may pretend to be government officials, banking representatives, or attorneys, or may send phony documents in attempts to make offers appear legitimate.

If you have legitimately won a lottery or sweepstakes prize, you will never have to pay money in advance of your winnings.

Hang up on anyone who solicits money in advance of awarding a prize.

Do not respond to mailed solicitations for money in advance of winning a prize; instead, report the fraud to law enforcement.

Never provide personal information over the telephone, online or through the mail in response to a solicitation. This includes date of birth, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, banking, or other personal information.

Never deposit checks sent by companies whose representatives claim the check is being sent to pay fees or taxes on lottery winnings. Fraudulent checks may appear to look legitimate. Some checks may even be drawn on legitimate accounts and may include actual routing numbers so they appear authentic when presented for deposit at banks.

Do not give in to high-pressure sales techniques.

Consult family, friends and/or trusted advisors before making major financial decisions.

Scotland County Library Presents ‘Build a Better World’ Summer Reading Program

Readers of all ages will explore exciting things this summer as the Scotland County Library presents “Build a Better World” during their summer library program.  The 2017 Summer Reading Program is open to young people ages three through 6th grade with programs and prizes.

Registration for “Build a Better World” begins Monday, June 5th, and the last day to collect prizes will be Friday, July 21st.  Prizes will be awarded based on hours spent reading.

Weekly programs will also be presented at 10:00 a.m. each Wednesday beginning June7th. The first program will feature Jeff Dyer’s presentation of a famous Scotland County resident.  On June 14th, Karen Armstrong of the Missouri Department of Conservation will give an animal presentation.  Other programs will include the Scotland County R-1 FFA presenting a Petting Zoo, Kim Ludwick of the Scotland County Health Department, and Brian Whitney and members of the Memphis and Scotland County Fire Departments.

For more information, call the library at 660-465-7042.  All programs are free of charge.

Residential Terrace Hosts 20th Annual Car Show

The soggy streets and roads didn’t keep 30 diehard vehicles from showing off at the 20th Annual Residential Terrace Car Show on Saturday, May 20th.

The residents of both the Scotland County Care Center and Residential Terrace were thrilled to view the vehicles in the parking lot. The weather threatened rain and was chilly so most viewing was from the many windows. Some brave residents ventured out for a closer look.

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg awarded Alan Hufford with the Mayor’s Award for his bright yellow 1972 Chevy Nova.

The residents chose a red 1993 Chevy S-10 owned by John and Donna Austin from Memphis as their favorite color.

The vehicle with the most memories was a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain owned by Ewing and Louise Dean from Kirksville.

The fun car award was a 1965 Volkswagen owned by Larry and Michell Balanda from Anchorage, AK.

The fancy car award was a 2015 Chevrolet SS owned by Michell and Larry Balanda from Anchorage, AK.

Peoples’ choice award was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible owned by Gary Harris from Moulton, IA.

Other awards for the top 10 cars, top 3 pickups and top motorcycle were awarded also.

A special plaque was awarded to Jerry Grosenkemper for his volunteering and dedication for the past 20 years of this car show.

As always, the organizers expressed their appreciation to all who helped and participated in this year’s show.

Tague Attends ‘Chosin Few’ Reunion in Springfield

Left to right: Don “Buck” Tague, Dr. Baes Suk Lee, Jong Kook Lee. Baes Suk Lee (center) was part of the Army in Korea, serving as an interpreter – in his capacity to do so – even though he was a youth at the time. He came to the U.S. post Korean War. Jong Kook Lee (right) , the Consulate General of the Republic of (South) Korea , stationed in Chicago, presented Tague (and other veterans) with the Korean Government’s Ambassador of Peace Medal at this reunion.

submitted by Sandra Kalman

Don “Buck” Tague of Gorin attended a Korean War battle reunion in Springfield, Missouri, May 18 to 20.

Commemorating the Korean War Battle of Chosin Reservoir, survivors of that battle have taken to calling themselves: “The Chosin Few.”

This particular reunion was the U.S. Army Chapter reunion of The Chosen Few – another association holds reunions for both Marines and Army survivors together and Tague attends those Korean War reunions too.  He also attends World War II reunions with his Patton’s Third Army 65th Infantry Division Association.

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir lasted from late November, 1950, until the end of December, making this reunion not quite 67 years post battle.  Details of the battle are not pretty.  Tague played a part in the Army’s 79th Construction Engineering Battalion in Korea.

An interesting editorial written about this reunion by a local Springfield physician, Yung Hwang, M. D., published prior to the reunion, said the purpose of this reunion was “To honor the surviving veterans and the memory of those who died during that decisive battle…”

Hwang said:  “On the eve of Chosin Few coming to town, the Korean community will warmly welcome and happily join in their memorial service as we are also hoping North Korean and Chinese communism will stop their bad behaviors against the world.”

Several highlights of the reunion are described in text accompanying photographs in a Fathers’ Day ad, placed here by Tague’s proud children.

About the general feeling of the reunion, Buck’s son, David, said:  “They were glad to be here.”

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center


Thursday, May 25 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Cranberry Sauce, Slice Bread, Pudding

Friday, May 26 – Fish Fillets, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli Salad, Peas, Cornbread, Cream Pie

Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day, Center Closed, No Meals

Tuesday, May 30 – BBQ or Plain Pork/Bun, Scalloped Potatoes, Cauliflower Blend Veggies, Pears, Cookies

Wednesday, May 31 – Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Corn, Bread, Fruit Salad

Thursday, June 1 – Ham and Beans, Carrot-Pineapple Salad, Buttered Beets, Cornbread, Cake


Thursday, May 25 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day, Center Closed

Thursday, June 1 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Regularly Scheduled Audit of Scotland County Underway

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (May 19, 2017) Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced her office has started work on audits of Scotland and Mercer counties, located in northern Missouri.  Audit staff is on-site in both locations, and Auditor Galloway encouraged citizens to submit concerns or information through the dedicated hotline.

“The public deserves a government that is transparent and works efficiently on behalf of its citizens,” Auditor Galloway said. “These audits will provide an independent review, and I encourage anyone who has information to contact my Whistleblower Hotline.”

The most recent audits of Scotland and Mercer counties were completed in 2013 and both counties received good ratings.

Individuals who would like to provide information for consideration in this or any audit may contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at

MLRA Late Models to Highlight June 1st Races at Scotland County Speedway

Racing action will return to Scotland County Speedway next week as the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association will kick off a three-day circuit across northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa with a stop in Memphis on Thursday, June 1st.

The MLRA event will highlight a full schedule of events at SCS, paying $3,000 to win the late model feature. Modifieds, sport models and stock cars will all be racing for a $1,000 top prize with sport compacts battling for a $300 payday.

The track will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. for practice at $25 per car. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with hot laps at 7 p.m.

The local event is being sponsored by J & J Ag, Memphis Pepsi-Cola, Brain’s Foundation Repair and Crop Production Services.

The MLRA will be racing May 25-27th in Wheatland, MO. After the Memphis stop, the late models will be in action Friday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, IA before heading to Randolph County Speedway in Moberly on Saturday.

On May 4th-6th the circuit was in Iowa, racing at Lee County Speedway, Davenport and Independence with Chris Simpson, Bobby Pierce and Billy Moyer all picking up wins. Thus far in 2017, five races in the books have generated five different winners for the MLRA.

Rush Releases Latest Book ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!’

Pastor Terry Rush is no stranger to the people of his hometown, Memphis. But while Scotland County residents may know Rush from his frequent visits back home for speaking engagements, or as readers of his newspaper column of one of his books, his latest release starts with a revealing confession.

“All I ever wanted to be was famous.” That is the statement Rush offers to open “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!”, his newest book fresh off the press.

Of course that confession was made tongue-in-cheek to the high school guidance counselor, as Rush was clinging to his dream of one day becoming a St. Louis Cardinal. Fittingly enough, he offered stand-up comedian, as his backup plan.

It turns out, God had other plans for Terry. While his professional baseball career never took off, Rush has had plenty of brushes with the fame he joked about.

After offering more than a dozen publication’s Rush penned his latest book in which he reveals how God has continued to send him to the right place at the right time, over and over again, to minister to the famous.

“In my younger days, I would never have guessed that the famous need and want spiritual and emotional support,” said Rush. “Surprised me. We tend to think they’ve got it made. Think again. They need people who care; just as we do.”

It has been the stories of meeting some of these needs that has led Rush to fulfill the new book’s subtitle, “Experiencing God Beyond Imagination”.

“I love people,” Rush says in the opening chapter of the book. “The famous have been ignored because it seems they are assumed to be both unneedy and unreachable. Fans just figure they have no problems.”

Rush goes on to explain in the book that his stardom, didn’t come from becoming a St. Louis Cardinal baseball player as he dreamed of as a young man, but instead only after he became a pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma and happened upon an ad for adults to attend a Cardinals Baseball Camp to play alongside past and current stars and coaches.

“When I read this article about playing baseball with these heroes, I wondered if God would use me to encourage them,” Rush says in the book. “As I thought of the possibilities, I wept.”

Little did he know that the Legends Camp would only be the beginning of the multitude of opportunities the Lord presented for Rush to interact with the famous and offer God’s encouragement. “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” is a collection of stories about “chance” meetings Rush has had with a number of celebrities from the movies, sports, politics, the music industry and television. The book is packed with amazing encounters that surely cannot be true, yet they are. These things couldn’t happen to a man from rural northeast Missouri, yet they did.

The book is chocked full of such unbelievable experiences that have put Rush in the presence of the likes of Charlton Heston, Loretta Lynn and James MacArthur.

It is through these experiences that Rush has learned that we are all alike, adding that everyone has confidences that are often undermined by fears. The author sais he hopes his latest book will open readers’ hearts to new possibility and potential.

Copies of you “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!” are available at J’s Foods in Memphis or can be ordered directly from Kelly Press, Inc. by calling 573-449-4163 or by emailing

Judge DeMarce to Address 71st Annual Memorial Day Services

Judge Karl DeMarce will be the featured speaker on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts the 71st Annual Memorial Day Services on the lawn of the Scotland County Courthouse.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with Post Commander Lloyd Erickson and program chairman Donnie Middleton welcoming the crowd.

Veterans Flody C. Baker and Mike Stephenson will perform the traditional wreath placement at the soldiers’ memorial on the southeast side of the courthouse. Fellow serviceman Bill Camp will lead the gathering the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pastor Leon Buford, also a Scotland County veteran, will lead the invocation prior to the playing of the National Anthem by the Scotland County R-I band. The Memphis Community Players will keep the music flowing with a series of patriotic selections.

Judge Gary Dial will again have the honor of introducing the service’s guest speaker.

Following DeMarce’s speech, veteran Jamie Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy accompanied by Connie Courtney.

Following the benediction by Buford, the VFW members will present a 21 gun salute before the performance of taps by service member Melinda Briggs with ECHO played by Chris Kempke.

The service is open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved indoors at the VFW post.

Gorin American Legion Post Plans Memorial Day Gathering

The Leslie Chambers #395 Gorin American Legion Post will be hosting their annual Memorial Day gathering on Sunday, May 28.  There will be a carry-in dinner at 12:30 at the Gorin Christian Church with a program following the dinner. The Post will present military services at the Gorin Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. and everyone is invited.


Casey and April Funk of Coatsville, MO are the parents of a son, Carter Bret Funk, born May 10, 2017 at 8:16 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Carter weighed 7 lbs 1.8 oz and was 20.75 inches long. He has a sibling, Caley Archer. Grandparents are Chris and Ida Archer of Moulton, IA; Ralph Funk of Coatsville, MO; and Judy Funk of Coatsville, MO.


Kara Ball of Kahoka and Johnathon Keefe of Kahoka are the parents of a son, Michael Raymond Keefe, born May 16, 2017 at 6:28 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Michael weighed 7 lbs 2.8 oz and was 21 inches long. Grandparents are David and Stacie Parson of Lawrence, Patrick Keefe of Keokuk, and Alicia Boyd of Eureka.

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