“Escheatment”, Book 1 in the Maltese Cat Book Series continues with new chapters. Enjoy:
Chapters 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8, 9 & 10, Chapter 11,
Chapters 12 & 13, 14-16, 17, 18, Chapters 19 & 20,
Chapter 21, 22 & 23, 24, 25, 26, Chapters 27-29
Boys Club Meeting
The following day James called a meeting of the Boys Club. Some had protested the short notice, but James insisted that the gravity of the situation would more than compensate them for their time. As expected, all showed up. They were gathered at Charles Croyton’s house once again.
“How far along are all of you with making contacts in your accounting departments?” asked James.
Each one muttered that they were making good progress.
Ashton Price smiled to himself. Yes, he was making progress alright. Marilyn had always been enticing to him. Lately, with the project evolving, he had reciprocated with his attention and he had already bedded her on more than one occasion. She took this as a sign that the two of them were a couple now. Whatever she wanted to think. She was not the most stunning of women, but she was so thankful in bed that she made for a pleasing sexual partner. More importantly, she worked in the company’s section that dealt with reporting unclaimed accounts to the State.
“I think you can kiss those plans ‘Good Bye’. They won’t be necessary.”
The boys looked befuddled.
James held out a thick manila folder over the table.
“I have two persons at the State Controller’s Office in Sacramento. That is the where the money goes from unclaimed accounts that we report. One of these persons tracks the money. The other receives it and also refunds monies that were unjustly claimed. I believe both of these persons will cooperate with me.”
“Why should they do that? How much do you have to pay them?” asked Price.
“Not a penny,” smiled James as he turned over the manila envelope. The contents fell out. The photos lay strewn over the table.
The boys looked and made sounds of distaste and repugnance.
“What’s this?” cried Roxwell.
“Those two persons, gentlemen, are my contacts.”
“How did you get these?” asked Roxwell.
“I photographed them in a gay club.”
“What were you doing there?” asked Croyton, suspiciously.
For a moment James’s blood rushed, but he was prepared.
“I followed them there,” he lied.
Price smiled conspiratorially. “Very clever, VH.”
James elaborated. “Yeah, I noticed something wasn’t quite right with these two, if you know what I mean.”
The gang laughed.
“You can always tell those types,” added Croyton.
“Don’t know about that,” interjected Price. “Sometimes you never know. Could be one of us hiding in the closet.” Price laughed as Croyton punched him.
“What are you saying?” cried Croyton. “You know I’m no queer. You’ve been with me at enough frat parties.”
“Well, like I said, you never know,” added Price.
James laughed along with the rest and then brought the conversation back to its main point.
“Here’s what I think we should do. Go ahead and make sure each of your companies complies with the State. Make sure the money goes out on time. We wouldn’t want you fined for non-cooperation.”
He grinned. “I will encourage this one state employee to track all of our companies. Then I’ll get the other one to refund the money, but not back to your company. I have something else in mind. I’ll need a couple of days to set it up.”
He paused and smiled.
“You’ll see. This will work out better than we expected.”
The Boys were actually relieved that they no longer needed to conspire with their fellow office workers. They all agreed to James’s new plan.
The Boys Club disbanded and went their respective ways.
Price thought as he climbed into his car. Poor Marilyn. She won’t be getting any more from me! Such a pity. She really was quite good.
DHS Present Day
Traywick was anxious. He had put high hopes into tracking the Taliban. He had coaxed and cajoled his superiors for more finances to support his investigations of this project. He was successful but his superiors made it eminently clear that they expected to see results. Then, all of a sudden, all activity in the Bern account ceased. He had charts and data depicting the previous transactions, with the intent of discovering a pattern. Now the pattern was broken. It looked as it did two years ago before the account had mysteriously resurrected itself. Flatline.
What did this mean? Traywick asked himself. Did it mean that the sources of funding had dried up? Were they now using another account? An even worse scenario came into his mind. Did they have enough now to carry out some pernicious plot against the U.S.? Would he be held accountable for not discovering it in time, in spite of all the financial backing he had received? Traywick was fraught with tension and fear. He had put his career on the line when he asked to pursue this case. Now there was nothing, and nothing to show for it.
Simone Turner entered his office, carrying a sheaf of papers.
“Mr. Traywick,” she announced herself and awaited his acknowledgment.
“We have some interesting information for you. We cross-checked transfers of monies in and out of the United States with the amounts from the Swiss account you wanted followed. We think we have detected a pattern.”
Traywick took the papers from her, greedily. She explained to him.
“The amounts are not exactly the same, but there seems to be a pattern. In each transaction, when added together, they come to exactly eighty-one percent of the amounts that were deposited in the Swiss account. It’s a bit complicated, but you’ll notice here,” as she pointed to one section on a page, “that it appears more than a coincidence that every time money passed through this bank to this bank, and then on to Switzerland…” Her voice trailed off.
Traywick looked again. A bank in Riverside, California had made various transactions to banks throughout the United States. Eventually, they all landed in one bank in New York City. The Middle East Bank Libya.
“But why eighty-one percent?” Traywick asked.
“We figure that it could be that the New York bank was taking a ten percent commission and these other banks also took a total of ten percent. That works out to exactly eighty-one percent.”
Traywick thought, “This explains a lot. Where was all this money coming from?”
“That’s the biggest surprise,” she said slowly. “The State of California. Directly from the government.”