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ElectricBoogaloo

The Con

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On 10/30/2020 at 12:28 PM, mamadrama said:

Lol. True. But Olivia Jade didn't seem smart enough to go along with that. Someone who gets on YT and announces to the world that she's just there to party and may or may not attend classes is the same kind of person who would giddily declare that her family is paying off her professors for her grades-unlike those other suckers who do lame things like study and show up.

I just don't understand rich parents who want to force their kid to go to college when she makes it perfectly clear that she's not interested and will end up wasting their money. I definitely don't get rich parents who will go to a lot of effort to cheat for a kid who has no interest in going to college. Hope it was worth the jail time

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I think a lot of the reason behind the cheating for college admissions is so the parents could brag, "my kids going to USC, pledged a sorority, and is on the Dean's List".     It's all about contacts, and networking, and hanging out with other rich kids.     Remember when a lot of the news was being reported, that Inmate Loughlin's vapid influencer kid was hanging out on the yacht of one of the college trustees.      

Also, I was watching an interview about this months ago.   One woman said she thinks it was also so the newly rich outsiders like Loughlin wanted their kids to get into the old money circles.   However, old money and people who are society big wigs don't want some influencer around they family, or their money.   

Edited by CrazyInAlabama
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7 hours ago, DanaK said:

I just don't understand rich parents who want to force their kid to go to college when she makes it perfectly clear that she's not interested and will end up wasting their money. I definitely don't get rich parents who will go to a lot of effort to cheat for a kid who has no interest in going to college. Hope it was worth the jail time

It seems like a really weird thing to me, too. Back in my day the rich people didn't pay scammers to get their kids into college, they set up fake nonprofits for their kids to run or made up bullshit job titles to bestow upon them within their own businesses/organizations.

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I originally wasn’t going to watch the college episode, bc there’s been plenty written about it, but it turned out to be interesting. The tax implications were an interesting consequence 

what was the deal with Singer?  He seemed like a weird loner. 
they’re talking about giving him a huge sentence. And that’s with cooperating. 

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On 11/2/2020 at 10:13 PM, GussieK said:

I originally wasn’t going to watch the college episode, bc there’s been plenty written about it, but it turned out to be interesting. The tax implications were an interesting consequence 

 

I felt the same way. I didn't expect to be interested, but I was. It made me strongly dislike everyone involved. They did harm to kids that worked hard to get an education. I wish they faced stiffer penalties. 

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On 11/5/2020 at 7:30 AM, TVbitch said:

Did anyone get an episode last night? AZ got election results.

I only got election results too.  Sad that it appears they won't be airing the one about the Sheik.

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Hulu has removed episode 2 but 1 and 3 are still there. What's up with that? 

I wish they'd get this show back on track. I was enjoying it. I know a bit about the fake Saudi prince and was looking forward to it. Can't they at least put them On Demand? 

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On 11/16/2020 at 5:58 PM, hilaryvm said:

I only got election results too.  Sad that it appears they won't be airing the one about the Sheik.

I read something soon after that indicated they would air the last episode at some point in the future so there's still hope

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It looks like the final episodes will be shown starting March 3 at 10pm. The Futon Critic has that date listed as the Spring premiere with a press release calling it "The Fyre Festival Con" http://thefutoncritic.com/listings/20210216abc11/&date=03/03/2021&filter=premieres and ABC is showing some title on that date on my DVR. The Futon Critic is indicating the final 3 episodes will be shown March 3 (Ep 6), 10 (Ep 3) and 31 (Ep 4)

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5 hours ago, DanaK said:

It looks like the final episodes will be shown starting March 3 at 10pm. The Futon Critic has that date listed as the Spring premiere with a press release calling it "The Fyre Festival Con" http://thefutoncritic.com/listings/20210216abc11/&date=03/03/2021&filter=premieres and ABC is showing some title on that date on my DVR. The Futon Critic is indicating the final 3 episodes will be shown March 3 (Ep 6), 10 (Ep 3) and 31 (Ep 4)

It's too bad they're doing one on the Fyre Festival. There have already been 2 docs and an episode of American Greed. I'm fascinated by Fyre, but I was enjoying these lesser known stories.  

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S1.E3: The Fyre Festival Con

Quote

Entrepreneur Billy McFarland tries to plan a luxury music festival in six months; when the enterprise ends in disastrous failure, McFarland ends up with a six-year prison sentence and is ordered to pay back those he defrauded, totaling $26 million.

Original air date: 3/3/21

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The only (remotely) interesting thing about the rehash of the Frye festival was that they had interview bits with the in jail conman spread throughout the show, which I don't think any of the documentaries on it had. Spoiler alert: He is still a conman.  

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On 11/16/2020 at 3:58 PM, hilaryvm said:

 Sad that it appears they won't be airing the one about the Sheik.

According to IMDB, it is airing next Wednesday 3/10/2021.

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On 3/4/2021 at 12:46 PM, TVbitch said:

The only (remotely) interesting thing about the rehash of the Frye festival was that they had interview bits with the in jail conman spread throughout the show, which I don't think any of the documentaries on it had. Spoiler alert: He is still a conman.  

I hate hate hate the fact that he still is able to run businesses (i.e. the podcast) via the jail. 

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2 hours ago, greekmom said:

I hate hate hate the fact that he still is able to run businesses (i.e. the podcast) via the jail. 

He apparently got solitary confinement for a time because of that

I can't believe he straight up admitted to the interviewer that he conned his investors. I feel sorry for all the people he roped in to help him with putting this together, especially those who never got paid.

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S1.E5: The Royal Con

Quote

A man moves to Miami and pretends to be Prince Khalid bin al-Saud, attempting to swindle a wealthy Florida real estate mogul and others out of millions until one mistake acts as the catalyst to the investigation that reveals his true identity.

Original air date: 3/10/21

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I can't muster up any sympathy for anyone who gives more than $50 to a psychic.   I think I would point and laugh if I heard about someone who fell for this scam, even if it was a family member.  I learned that a tabernacle is not just a church.

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When someone talks about how hard their life is then turns around and drops a million on a psychic...🙄

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It’s hard to find sympathy for people who believe in curses and give thousands of dollars to a psychic. It’s a con in its own way but the people are willing to be conned.

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51 minutes ago, Madding crowd said:

It’s hard to find sympathy for people who believe in curses and give thousands of dollars to a psychic. It’s a con in its own way but the people are willing to be conned.

Same here. They’re just so dopey. 

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I could not stop shaking my head as the woman (Pritti, with a masters degree?) explained how she put a grapefruit and a pack o' money under her bed, and how she believed that some black goop inside the grapefruit was "evil" that was drained out of her.  Shit, that is gullible.   She is so lucky that her husband didn't disappear her after finding out how she wasted all that money. 

Also, the woman who dropped a $18K check for the psychic to "hold", and the next day she was gone got me to wondering how these con artists work - was that enough of a jackpot for her to pull up roots and leave town?   Do psychics live a lifestyle that allows them to run at a moments notice, abandon their little storefronts, mail, phone, rent all forgotten.  Do they then set up in a new location, new name and wait for the suckers.  What about the other people she's got on her hook - $18K is enough to kiss them all goodbye?  That must be exhausting.

EDIT:  @mamadrama reminded me that the check was for $27,000

Edited by patty1h
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On 3/11/2021 at 12:53 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

S1.E5: The Royal Con

Original air date: 3/10/21

I see no comments about this episode.  Did anyone watch?  I watched about half and then fell asleep.  I need the TLDR version of the story. 

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https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/south-florida-resident-sentenced-more-eighteen-years-prison-impersonating-member-saudi

I found a press release from the DOJ that explains the Saudi Prince con.  He pretended to be a prince and got people to "invest" in fake enterprises.  He just kept the money for himself.  But he had confederates, apparently.  Anyway, he got 18 years in federal prison. 

Edited by GussieK
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I watched The Royal Con and found it entertaining.   Quick recap:  Saudi guy shows up in the swanky Fountainbleau hotel in FL flexing his cash, says he can sell shares of Arab oil stock.   He makes contacts with the rich and powerful and wines and dines them.  One day, he has a lunch date and orders a proscuitto appetizer - eats it.   People get suspicious cause Muslims don't eat pork.   He is now suspect and some rich dude sics investigators on him to find out his story.

FBI or Treasury department find out he's not even Arab - he's a hick from somewhere like Kentucky who has been conning folks since he was a kid and has just stepped up his game.   Most of his flash is fake Rolex. knockoff art and rented apartments, and forged bank statements and stock proposals.  At the end, we find out the dude started out life as an abandoned orphan in Colombia, SA and was adopted by a Midwestern family and somewhere along the lines he decided he wants the finer things in life and went to outrageous lengths to obtain them.   He even changed his name to an Arab one and refuses to acknowledge his past.  He's in jail now, but still scamming - getting other prisoners to do his bidding by making false promises.

Edited by patty1h · Reason: Added a bit more info
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8 minutes ago, patty1h said:

I watched The Royal Con and found it entertaining.   Quick recap:  Saudi guy shows up in FL flexing his cash, says he can sell shares to Arab oil stock.   He makes contacts and wines and dines folks.  One day, he has a lunch date and orders a proscuitto appetizer - eats it.   People get suspicious cause Muslims don't eat pork.   He is now suspect and some rich dude sics investigators on him to find out his story.

FBI or Treasury department find out he's not even Arab - he's a hick from somewhere like Kentucky who has been conning folks since he was a kid and has just stepped up his game.   Most of his flash is fake Rolex. knockoff art and rented apartments.  At the end, we find out the dude started out life in Colombia, SA and was adopted by a Midwestern family and he just decided he wants the finer things in life and went to outrageous lengths to obtain them.   He even changed his name to an Arab one and refuses to acknowledge his past.  He's in jail now, but still scamming - getting other prisoners to do his bidding by making false promises.

This is a great summary!  Eating the pork was such a dumb mistake, but clever of those people to catch on to it. 

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38 minutes ago, patty1h said:

.

FBI or Treasury department find out he's not even Arab - he's a hick from somewhere like Kentucky who has been conning folks since he was a kid and has just stepped up his game.    still scamming - getting other prisoners to do his bidding by making false promises.

*ahem* Not that we don't have our own fair share of "hicks", but he's not one of ours. The fake Saudi Prince is from Michigan...

1 hour ago, patty1h said:

What about the other people she's got on her hook - $18K is enough to kiss them all goodbye?  That must be exhausting.

A $27,000 check. 

This woman who just lost both of her jobs wrote a $27,000 check to a complete stranger to "hold" and didn't even call her bank to cancel it the moment she closed the door behind her. 

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@mamadrama are you from Kentucky?  I used to have a great law student assistant from Kentucky.  No hick she.  Neither is George Clooney.

As for us here in NYC, that's prime hunting ground for these dopes who go to psychics.  There are so many psychic shops here.

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Those ladies who got conned all seemed to be reasonably capable and well educated. But I guess millions of otherwise sentient people fall for con men (and women) everyday ~whether they are defrauding you out of a shady looking psychic storefront, a church pulpit, or a government office. 

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2 hours ago, GussieK said:

@mamadrama are you from Kentucky?  I used to have a great law student assistant from Kentucky.  No hick she.  Neither is George Clooney.

As for us here in NYC, that's prime hunting ground for these dopes who go to psychics.  There are so many psychic shops here.

Yep, I'm a Kentuckian. We do have our crazies, but we're mostly okay. 😊

 

2 hours ago, TVbitch said:

Those ladies who got conned all seemed to be reasonably capable and well educated. But I guess millions of otherwise sentient people fall for con men (and women) everyday ~whether they are defrauding you out of a shady looking psychic storefront, a church pulpit, or a government office. 

Yeah, that's the sad thing. These folks weren't stupid, they were desperate. I know little old women who tithe half their social security checks to their churches. When you're feeling that strongly that actions like that will help or save you then I guess you'll do most anything. 

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On 3/18/2021 at 5:54 PM, mamadrama said:

*ahem* Not that we don't have our own fair share of "hicks", but he's not one of ours. The fake Saudi Prince is from Michigan...

A $27,000 check. 

This woman who just lost both of her jobs wrote a $27,000 check to a complete stranger to "hold" and didn't even call her bank to cancel it the moment she closed the door behind her. 

I'm pretty sure she said she had regrets right away, but the fortune teller high-tailed it to the bank before she did - as in right away. Lol

I found the banality of the con to be fascinating. It's almost as if these women were in a hypnotic state and felt they had no control over their actions. And it wasn't like the con artists seemed especially bright or charming. But I have to give the victims props for taking their cases to court, not to mention telling their tales in front of a national audience. The embarrassment of the victims is generally what allows these creeps to remain in operation.

That said, the woman who was getting the divorce did one smart thing - she hid her identity. Imagine being her ex and finding out that while you were both laboriously haggling over the divorce, she was throwing money away like it was moldy bread. And speaking of bread - the woman who lost the sandwich shop (among other things) has a husband worthy of sainthood!

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14 minutes ago, Mannahatta said:

I'm pretty sure she said she had regrets right away, but the fortune teller high-tailed it to the bank before she did - as in right away.

She had regrets right away but didn't call her bank until the next day. I'm sure the psychic deposited it before the ink dried, but this is a good lesson in listening to your gut. 

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On 3/19/2021 at 9:48 PM, Mannahatta said:

I'm pretty sure she said she had regrets right away, but the fortune teller high-tailed it to the bank before she did - as in right away. Lol

I found the banality of the con to be fascinating. It's almost as if these women were in a hypnotic state and felt they had no control over their actions. And it wasn't like the con artists seemed especially bright or charming. But I have to give the victims props for taking their cases to court, not to mention telling their tales in front of a national audience. The embarrassment of the victims is generally what allows these creeps to remain in operation.

 

It seems there's basic script for these curse cons that is used by all of the psychics. They may not be especially bright or charming (one was really aggressive), but they are very practiced.  They use cold reading techniques to suss out the right victim.  These are tricks of the trade that have been passed down for generations.

They wait until a live one comes in who seems vulnerable to the curse scenario.  Then it's Katy bar the door on the requests for money.  I would love to know how many they have to wade through before a live one comes in. 

Edited by GussieK
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The psychic con episode was pretty interesting. It’s a shame how many people get scammed by these things. I guess the cons go for the vulnerable or gullible types. Good for these women for taking them to court, but it seems justice is pretty slow for them. Did the one with ongoing stomach problems get that resolved?

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The more I think about the curse cons, the more I have to wonder--what kind of person could possibly believe in curses--and enough to shell out tons of money to remove said curses.  And to shell out the money to the clearly low-rent proprietors of these fly-by-night psychic shops.  I'm sorry we don't get more information on what drew these people into the shop, why they chose that particular shop, did they have past experience with psychics?  I think the detective didn't want to embarrass them further by impugning their intelligence, so he was avoiding asking them the tough questions. 

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9 minutes ago, GussieK said:

The more I think about the curse cons, the more I have to wonder--what kind of person could possibly believe in curses--and enough to shell out tons of money to remove said curses.  And to shell out the money to the clearly low-rent proprietors of these fly-by-night psychic shops.  I'm sorry we don't get more information on what drew these people into the shop, why they chose that particular shop, did they have past experience with psychics?  I think the detective didn't want to embarrass them further by impugning their intelligence, so he was avoiding asking them the tough questions. 

I believe in the paranormal, negative energy, and karma (good and bad). Some people get in such dark places that they become desperate and believing in a curse, something that can be lifted, sounds better than their current situation. I don't find believing in curses or magic to be that much different than believing in a lot of religious things. Some people pray and/or repent to help them change their circumstances and they believe these things will work. If it gives the person comfort or helps them understand the world in a way that makes sense to them, and they're not forcing their beliefs on anyone or engaging in poor behavior, then I don't see a problem. I think the problem comes when you start shelling out half a million dollars to catch the curse in a grapefruit under your bed...  

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7 hours ago, mamadrama said:

I believe in the paranormal, negative energy, and karma (good and bad). Some people get in such dark places that they become desperate and believing in a curse, something that can be lifted, sounds better than their current situation. I don't find believing in curses or magic to be that much different than believing in a lot of religious things. Some people pray and/or repent to help them change their circumstances and they believe these things will work. If it gives the person comfort or helps them understand the world in a way that makes sense to them, and they're not forcing their beliefs on anyone or engaging in poor behavior, then I don't see a problem. I think the problem comes when you start shelling out half a million dollars to catch the curse in a grapefruit under your bed...  

It really is like a religious faith issue--but then it goes back to the money and the setting.  Why would anyone think that these low-lifes in these low-rent digs have any special powers, and enough to give them thousands of dollars!

Another issue is with the crime conviction.  It has been difficult to get criminal convictions because you have to show it was a fraud--but how do you show that if it is something that you supposedly believe in that is supernatural.  It's all very interesting.

Here is an article from The Atlantic from 2014 about Bob Nygard and these cases.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/11/when-is-fortunetelling-a-crime/382738/

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22 hours ago, GussieK said:

It really is like a religious faith issue--but then it goes back to the money and the setting.  Why would anyone think that these low-lifes in these low-rent digs have any special powers, and enough to give them thousands of dollars!

Another issue is with the crime conviction.  It has been difficult to get criminal convictions because you have to show it was a fraud--but how do you show that if it is something that you supposedly believe in that is supernatural.  It's all very interesting.

Here is an article from The Atlantic from 2014 about Bob Nygard and these cases.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/11/when-is-fortunetelling-a-crime/382738/

There's no question that this is a crime on the fraudester's part and that they're awful people. My comment was just in regards to "what kind of person believes in curses." 

I've never been in these people's shoes, but when my kid died it would've taken very little for someone to convince me that they could communicate with him. I'm not religious, I don't even believe in a supreme being,  but at my lowest point I wanted someone-ANYONE-to be able to tell me that he wasn't gone for good and that he was okay. Luckily, I didn't have wads of cash to throw around at random people.  

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If you were interested in the wine con then you should check out the documentary SOUR GRAPES. It goes into more detail. 

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The wine con didn't grab my attention that much.  I'm not a wine drinker, so I spent most of the episode being amazed that there are folks throwing around millions for some aged grape juice.

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1 hour ago, patty1h said:

The wine con didn't grab my attention that much.  I'm not a wine drinker, so I spent most of the episode being amazed that there are folks throwing around millions for some aged grape juice.

Same. People throwing gobs of money at psychics, wine...

Wine dude, though, may have had a future in wine making. He seemed good at it.

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Jeez, must be nice to be so rich that you can be swindled out of millions, then say that "it was fun" spending more millions to investigate the guy who swindled you. Having said that, if it weren't for that Koch brother's willingness to come forward, they never would have caught this guy. As it is, he is not getting much jail time, and I'm sure will write a book and get a movie deal.   

Edited by TVbitch
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American Greed has already covered a lot of these topics (Fyre Fest, fake prince, admissions scandal, and wine con). Those are good episodes, too. 

Honestly, the whole time I was watching the wine con all I could think about was how at least this guy DID something. Creating fake labels, making his own wine, etc...He worked his ass off. And it's kinda funny that if he hadn't made a couple of slip ups with dates he probably could've fooled those wine aficionados for quite some time. Was his fake wine really that good or was it a matter of nobody wanting to admit the emperor was naked? 

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I was a pretty extensive red wine drinker, and I think once you get above a $100 bottle it doesn't really taste much better and you are paying mostly for the prestige. He was smart to make custom blends from other cheaper wine. I used to do that to, and you can really come up with some nice ones. 

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On 3/22/2021 at 11:30 PM, mamadrama said:

I think the problem comes when you start shelling out half a million dollars to catch the curse in a grapefruit under your bed

As a person that doesn't believe in any religion, I don't find it any different than the folks that give money to their church.  I guess religion had its place back when most people were uneducated and it was used to explain things, but now, science.

Religion today teaches people to believe in things without any proof.  They are indoctrinated into this belief as young children.  Not a big jump to believing in the grapefruit under the bed thing.

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1 hour ago, dshgr said:

As a person that doesn't believe in any religion, I don't find it any different than the folks that give money to their church.  I guess religion had its place back when most people were uneducated and it was used to explain things, but now, science.

Religion today teaches people to believe in things without any proof.  They are indoctrinated into this belief as young children.  Not a big jump to believing in the grapefruit under the bed thing.

That's what I said up above, too. I know old women on SSI who give half their checks to their church. The psychic was a con but the women's beliefs reminded me of millions of others'. People on 90 Day Fiance make fun of Mike for not being religious and believing that Aliens might exist. I don't see his beliefs any different from someone believing in most religious doctrines. To each their own. 

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Thanks for the reminder about the wine episode.  I'll have to catch up on it.   I'd never heard of this con.

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