Police Beat


The University Record, June 25, 1997

Police Beat

By Rebecca A. Doyle

U-M profs warned to
look out for scam artist

The U-M recently joined a list of more than 70 colleges and universities across the country whose professors have been contacted by a con artist purporting to be Harry Edwards, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1995, the man has talked university faculty members, mostly sociologists, out of more than $200,000 by claiming that his nephew has lost his luggage and wallet, is in the vicinity and needs money for a hotel and clothing.

An article last month in The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that the perpetrator sounds much like Edwards and seems to know his research in areas of race and sport. The Chronicle also noted that the perpetrator has now begun to use the name of William Julius Wilson, a former victim of the scam and currently a faculty member at Harvard University.

Capt. James Smiley, Department of Public Safety (DPS), urges anyone contacted in this manner to report the call immediately to the DPS detective bureau, 764-8559.

Toner fraud reported again
Several University staff members have reported that they have been contacted about buying toner cartridges. In at least one instance, a fax was received that indicatoner cartridges. Those who receive calls they think are fraudulent should contact the DPS detective bureau, 764-8559.

Oesterling pleads no contest
Joseph E. Oesterling, professor of surgery and head of the urology section, pled no contest in 15th District Court on June 16 to a single count of obtaining money over $100 under false pretenses. Oesterling was arrested by DPS officers that same day and charged with the crime, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

He is accused of billing both the University and the host institution for travel expenses. DPS, working in conjunction with University Audits, has been investigating the alleged crime since mid-March.

Sentencing is set for July 21.

Air bag bandits hit Hondas
Late last month, DPS officers were notified that eight Honda Accord automobiles, all parked in lots on North Campus, had been vandalized and air bags had been removed. The vehicles were all 1994–96 models. Smiley says each bag is worth between $800 and $1,000.

DPS officers request that anyone with information call the detective bureau, 764-8559.

Staff member charged with using
fraudulent transaction device

A female staff member was arrested May 23 and charged with obtaining money over $100 under false pretenses. DPS officers say she falsely claimed expenses and charged the University for travel to Washington, D.C., during a time between Aug. 27, 1996 and Jan. 23, 1997. The preliminary trial originally scheduled earlier has been set for June 25.


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