Fraudpocalypse: Chapter Eight
CHAPTER EIGHT: UNDERLING
Agent John Underling relayed to the group that one of the last things he remembered was chatting with his fiancée just before everything went dark. His online love had convinced him to make a mobile deposit so he could send her the money back so she could use the funds to pay off her corrupted family lawyer who had seized her inheritance of $5,000,000. After this, Underling and she would be married.
Conner and James seemed sympathetic to Underling’s plight, but Bonhoeffer would have none of it. The vague notion that Underling was behind the events had grabbed hold of the woman. She confronted the agent.
“What is your fiancée’s first name?” Underling seemed caught off guard. He paused, and for too long.
“Deb…Debbie.” James and Conner looked at one another. They were near Deb’s office; the name plate was visible from where Underling was.
“Underling is an Uberfroder!” Underling began sobbing to his superior, pleading innocence. Bonhoeffer continued. “He’s been pretending to get scammed from the start to throw us off. If we would have spent any more time with his investment scam, the world would have already ended. Plus, he had the experience to work at DAFT; the same agency that attempted to blow us up. Who else related to DAFT could have done it? The two DAFT agents are out fishing somewhere.”
Underling was no longer crying. The tears were dried.
“Who are you really and how’d you do it John?” questioned Conner. A sinister smile crept over Underling’s face. With great effort he reached under his shirt collar and pulled off a rubbery mask. Face transformed; he was no longer the young Underling. He seemed much older and wore a villainy pencil thin mustache.
“Guten tag so called Betrugsbrechers! My name is Jan…Jan Uberfroder. It was very simple, so long as I played as the idiot Underling.”
“The forty quadrillion dollars…that was you?” said Conner.
“But how? How was it even possible?” It was a question that James had on his mind since he had learned about it from the two agents earlier.
“That was child’s play. I just hacked into the treasury and created new trillion-dollar bills. Had 40,000 of them sent directly to me, and no one was the wiser.”
“You were the one who also got Bob and Deb to go fishing!”
“I had been planning that for years; always feeding them information about the joys of the water. Relaying to both of them how much the other liked them. I hear they are honeymooning in Maui. I’d wish them well, but this really is the end. You can’t stop Fraudpocalypse.”
“You’re under arrest Uberfroder,” said Conner.
“Ah yes, being arrested. It’s fraud, I’ll be out before you know it. Really, why can’t we come to an understanding? I have the money to make each of you rich beyond your wildest dreams. One quadrillion each!”
“You’re trying to bribe us?” Bonhoeffer asked. “What is the point? You’re literally working to destroy humanity. What are we going to do with a quadrillion dollar?”
“Die rich…ah, so you can’t be bought.” They all shook their heads. “Very well then, you leave me no other choice. If you try to arrest me, I’ll let everyone know that I gave you the money to keep quiet.”
“Blackmail won’t work either,” pointed out James. “Once again, you’re literally trying to destroy the world.” Conner approached the criminal and placed handcuffs on his former agent. Uberfroder didn’t attempt to fight it but sneered at the three.
“You think this changes anything? It doesn’t. The end will come. My brothers and sisters will defraud the world to death. I will be avenged. And the name Uberfroder will be the last one on earth!” The other three remained silent to Underling-Uberfroder. For all they cared he could have the last word. Conner proceeded to walk the schemer out of the building, calling for a slew of government vehicles to take away the disgraced and arrested agent.
“I can breathe again,” commented Tess. She reached into her purse to pull out the Fraudometer. “90.”
The last 48 hours had been the most strenuous two days of James’ and Bonhoeffer’s lives. They went to their respective houses for some rest. Conner had told them it would be a few days before they would debrief. They had seen numerous fraud schemes, multiple plane rides, a hacked car, and nearly been blown up. Montana started sleeping within minutes of entering the house, sitting in a recliner. He would process the information later.
Conner called James three days later wanting to meet him and Tess at DAFT HQ. The truck drive gave James more time to think about how close they had come to annihilation. Was it seconds or minutes, he wondered?
At the front of the headquarters Neal and Tess were waiting for the professor. Tess waved and smiled to him. Two fraud breakers, he thought. To stop the end of the world. I’m glad it’s her and me though.
“Good morning doctor,” said Conner. “Both of you, right this way. We have some things to discuss.”
“John Underling…or should I say Jan Uberfroder is being interrogated. We’ve been able to get very little information from him. Seems that in this specter of an operation, he was merely an underling.”
“How ironic,” said James.
“Anyway, we were able to piece something things together about the other aspects of the prophecy. He sang about that. Couldn’t stop with what he knew. Trying to make a plea deal.”
“You’re not giving into him on that, right?” asked Bonhoeffer nervously.
“No, not at all. Uberfroder won’t see the light of day anytime soon. Anyway, the analysts are going over the data to figure out what is the next priority to stop Fraudpocalypse. You heard Uberfroder, there are more threats out there.”
“James, what you said about having people, technology, and processes made perfect sense. Someone fell asleep at the wheel, which led to the government losing the 40 quadrillion dollars. We won’t be in that position again. I am taking over DAFT to disband it and create a new department. Needs a better name too; something smarter, I think. Anyway, we have the people, and we will get the technology and process pieces stood up as soon as possible…thanks to both of you!” Conner smiled warmly on Tess and Monty.
“Speaking of the 40 quadrillion dollars, what happened to it?”
“Oh yes. We went to John Underling’s apartment. Turns out that was a cover address. We then tracked where Underling-Uberfroder frequented using the GPS of his agency issued car. He was holed up in an abandoned warehouse. Had a whole operation set up there. The money…all the money, was hidden underneath a cot. He was going to go down with quadrillions of dollars, just like that. It was confiscated, records of it have been updated, and it has been destroyed.”
“So, Underling, the underling of the Uberfroders almost gets away with 40 quadrillion dollars and he is just the start?” James let out a sigh. “Okay, bring it on.”
Tess relayed that in the days since Underling’s arrest, the Fraudometer had gone down significantly, currently residing at 60% to desolation by fraud.
“So, we have to tackle industry and society,” she said confidently. “Are there any leads for us Conner?”
“Word on the street is that the new social media platform iIdentify is creating waves in the fraud community. The people using it are encouraged to put in all of their personal information and are automatically connected to everyone on the network. They can also buy and sell things and it is generating its own currency. It is being promoted to unify the world. Or if you want to go the industry route, I hear that companies are now experiencing Ultra-Mega Attacks.” Even James hadn’t heard of this.
“What is that?”
“You basically take a Business Email Compromise, add some Ransomware for good measure, stir in some mule accounts, and multiply that by a thousand.”
“Fraudpocalypse,” muttered Monty under his breath.
“Well, we are back up to 61%,” Tess Bonhoeffer pointed out. She looked to Dr. Harrison “Montana” James. “Ready Fraud Breaker?”
“Let’s go save the world!”