AK: Scams, Fakes, Phonies & Cheats

This week on AK… the con is on! We’ll hear legends of Alaska’s most notorious shysters, and get the scoop on counterfeit Alaska Native art. Plus, avoiding the pitfalls of mortgage fraud, and what happens when military spouses become targets of some serious double dealing? We’ll find out, this week on AK from APRN.

Internet Cockroaches
We’ve all seen them: the e-mails proclaiming us the winner of an online lottery, requesting our help in accessing a foreign bank account, etc. AK’s Ellen Lockyer speaks with Brenda Smith of the Better Business Bureau Alaska office and Sergeant Francesca Popp of Elmendorf Air Force Base to hear the latest scams on everyone from military spouses to the elderly — and to find out why some people are still being duped.

State of the (Counterfeit) Art
Counterfeit Alaska Native art is a growing problem and selling it is punishable by law. When Saunders McNeill of the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Carrie Irwin Brown of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation tell AK’s Rebecca Sheir how to spot a phony, she hits the streets — and gift shops — of downtown Anchorage to test her newfound knowledge.

Legendary AK Scams: H. D. Reynolds
Steve Haycox brings us the tale of H. D. Reynolds, a notorious huckster in Alaska who pulled a fast one using nothing more than a stack of paper, a bit of wood and his own devious mind.

  • Break: “Lyin’ Eyes (Karaoke Version)” performed by Karaoke Grassmasters from Eagles Grass (Karaoke Version)

Fake it Till You Break It
Whether by using a phony ID or trying to scam a nearby adult into helping them out, every day in Alaska teenagers try to cheat the system by buying alcohol when they’re not yet legal. But some teens are doing a different sort of “fake”: they’re working with state troopers to bust the offenders. Noah Magen of the Alaska Teen Media Institute has the story.

  • Music Button: “Cigarettes and Alcohol” by Oasis from Definitely Maybe

Writing Alaska
Stephen Foreman’s Toehold, Kathryn Harrison’s The Seal Wife, Jodi Picoult’s The Tenth Circle… It seems that more and more books these days take place in Alaska, even if their authors are from outside the state and haven’t really spent much time here. Does that make them fakes? Katie Hecker spoke with authors Sherry Simpson, Joann Mapson and Liam Callanan to suss it out.

  • Calendar of Events (“The Entertainer (Featured In “The Sting”)” performed by Henry Mancini from Reader’s Digest Music: The Best of Henry Mancini – The 1981 Reader’s Digest Recordings, Vol. 2)

2008 Fur Rendezvous Outhouse Races
On February 23rd the 2008 Fur Rendezvous Outhouse Races will happen in Anchorage. The event is sponsored by UAA’s Architecture and Engineering Club: a service organization that works with Habitat for Humanity. This May, the club will spend two weeks building homes in Miami, the first area hit by Hurricane Katrina. But these days, they’re building something else entirely. AK’s Rebecca Sheir speaks with A/E Club supervisor Bob Maxwell to find out more.

Legendary AK Scams: Soapy Smith
UAA history professor Steve Haycox and Loussac librarian Bruce Merrill bring us this story of another historical flimflammer — Soapy Smith — whose name was as slippery as his dealings.

  • Break: “Can I Steal a Little Love” performed by Karaoke Tribute from A Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Vol. 1) [Karaoke Version]

Mortgage Fraud
The sub-prime mortgage debacle currently rocking the Lower 48 hasn’t really rattled Alaska, and new state legislation is expected to help clamp down on fraudulent mortgage-lending practices in the future. But after speaking with John Martin of Alaska Mortgage Solutions, Mark Davis of the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, and Sherrie Simmonds of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, AK’s Ellen Lockyer reports that it’s still up to the consumer to get all the facts before signing on the dotted line.

300 Villages
Buffalo Soapstone
Thorne Bay

Brown Haven
AK’s Scott Burton introduces us to a Juneau band that’s achieved a delicate balance.

Legendary AK Scams: Alexander McKenzie
Alexander McKenzie’s story was so deliciously devious that it inspired a 1906 novel, The Spoilers, which was later made into a movie… five times. UAA history professor Steve Haycox tells the tale.

  • Closing: “Your Cheatin’ Heart” performed by Ace Cannon from Close to You