“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
Chapter 30, 31-32, 33-34, chapters 35 & 36.
Croyton’s Conversation with His Father
Charles Croyton, Jr. was the second son of Charles Croyton, Sr. and, as his namesake, he was his father’s favorite of four children. Older brother Jeremy had been named after his maternal grandfather, who Charles, Sr. never got along with. Charles, Jr. was the one who had been given the inside track at the bank. He didn’t quite deserve it, though. He had been more pampered than the rest of the children and came to expect the advantages he always received. As was the case with all the members of the Boys Club, Charles would prefer more to party than to work. Charles, Sr. knew this, so he tried to guide his son as well as he could. That had not worked out so well over the years. He had given his son a major position in the bank with an office on the same floor as his own, along with a generous salary. He had hoped to keep tabs on his son this way. But young Charles was not showing up for work as often as his father would have liked. That was precisely the reason for their conversation now. Charles had informed his father about the Caribbean trip and his father had reacted strongly against another vacation.
“Another one? You’ve been spending a lot of time on vacations. You were in St. Moritz earlier this year, skiing. You were in France, skiing, another time. Frankly, I don’t know how you can afford it. And then there’s that car of yours,” referring to Charles’s newly acquired Ferrari.
“I told you. VH arranged for that. It was a government auction. It was a steal! I got it for pennies on the dollar!”
“Yes. I was talking to Mr. Van Houten the other day at the club. He, too, couldn’t figure out how you boys are buying up cars and traveling around the world on your salaries. We started comparing notes. Just doesn’t add up.”
“Price has a travel agent who gets great deals. Last minute cancellations.”
“And this upcoming trip? On a private yacht?”
“One of the boys’ clients. We’re just along for the ride.”
“There are no free rides in life, son.”
“Just stay away from those government auctions, too. I hear that those cars and yachts are all from drug dealers. I would hate for you to get ixed up in that.”
“They are all officially approved and sold by the federal government.”
“Yes, but all the same. What if some cop pulls you over and finds drugs stashed somewhere in your car? Some secret compartment? Then where would you be?”
“Relax, Dad. That won’t happen. The DEA checks out those cars thoroughly, and there is no place on a car or boat they don’t know about. They’re experts.”
“Sure. Just the same, I don’t like it. I’d prefer it if you used one of the bank’s cars.”
“Sorry, Pop. The bank doesn’t have anything that can go over a hundred and thirty miles an hour,” he grinned.
“And there are no roads in the U.S.A. that allow you to drive at hundred and thirty miles an hour, either.”
“It’s good to know that my car can do that.”
“Waste of money. All ego. You should be thinking more about your future. I hope you’re putting something away for retirement.”
Charles Croyton, Jr. had to admit that he wasn’t doing that but that was OK with him. His father was worrying about nothing. He knew his father was a far more conservative man than himself, one not taken towards risk. His father also led a pretty boring life, thought Charles. As for thoughts about retirement, which seemed so far away anyhow, he always figured that the company’s retirement plan would suffice. Besides, he really couldn’t manage to put anything away at the moment. He was far too busy enjoying life. Perhaps a little later down the line, he would salt something away. According to what VH was telling all the boys, they were collectively hauling in a sizable fortune. That would be his retirement. Even split five ways, he would be able to retire better off than his father or his grandfather. Charles was pleased with his present state of affairs. He could pick and choose among several of his regular female companions. Life was good. Why should he spoil it?
DHS Still Working on a Swiss account
Lionel Traywick had summoned his team together in the boardroom. They had been discussing various cases on which they were working. Finally, they arrived at the subject of the Swiss accounts.
“Any new activity in these accounts?”
A special agent spoke up. “Nothing recently. Usually, it happens at year’s end. That, of course, is six months away.”
Trying to keep his composure, Traywick asked, “And what have you found out about where the money is coming from?” Traywick already had the information from Simone but he wanted to see what progress the other team members had made.
Another agent spoke up. “We are getting closer. We now know that the transfers originate from the New York branch office of The Middle East Bank Libya.
From there we have traced the deposits from various accounts across the nation. But it appears that they all originate from one bank in Riverside, California.”
“Could this be their funding source?”
“Possibly. Seems odd that it would originate in Orange County. That usually is seen as a conservative bastion.”
“Perfect cover,” said Traywick “Can we get surveillance on that bank?”
“Already been done.”
“And let’s review their bank records.”
“On as we speak, sir.”
Traywick had a good feeling about this, finally. His team was getting results.
Andy Cho & Governor Foley
Andy Cho was sitting in Governor Foley’s office. They had already exchanged pleasantries.
“So, Andy, you said you wanted to discuss something in person.”
“It’s about Thorton.”
“Ahhh. Thornton again,” the Governor repeated.
“I have a very bad feeling about him,” Andy said. “He intimated some suspicious things yesterday.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Did you know he is thinking of running for your office?”
“Doesn’t surprise me.”
“You’re not worried?”
“I’m the incumbent. I’ve had no scandals. And thanks to you, the state’s financial situation has had a marked improvement. I’m in good shape.”
“Thorton seemed to think that the party won’t be backing you.”
“Thornton thinks a lot of things.”
“Any possibility he’s correct?”
“Even if he were, which I doubt, he still would have to sell it to the public on Election Day.”
“He’s good at that, you know.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about all this, Andy. Mr. Thornton is a highly confident young man with just as high aspirations. He will succeed, someday. But not at the next election.”
“I hope for both our sakes that that is correct. He also implied that he could go around me to get his appropriation money, with or without your approval.”
“As I said, Highly confident. I didn’t say he was always right.”
“Can he get around me?”
“Just keep your books clean, as you always do, and there will be no problems. I’ll see that Grant Thorton will get his package…when I am good and ready.”
After Andy left his office, Governor Ed Foley wondered to himself about what his Lt. Governor was up to. Playing with the party heads? Doesn’t sound good. He had better keep a close eye on Grant Thornton, unless he wanted a short career in Sacramento.