Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

Categories: History | North America | World

A person who knows that he will die soon is capable of the most desperate actions. Moreover, it does not cost him anything to cross the law.

To accept and quietly wait for death, or to conclude a contract with her and live every day as the last? Mark Olmsted, one of the most unscrupulous and lucky scammers of our time, chose the latter.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

The siblings Luke and Mark Olmsted were very different. Luke, the older brother by two years, was distinguished by hard work and kindness. Sporty, cheerful and brave, he always met problems with his head held high. Mark could only boast of a quirky mind and wit — he tried to avoid problems and not overwork himself.

But the brothers had something in common — both Olmsteds were gay. Mark did not hide his orientation and, when the time came, he told his family everything as it is. Luke, whose sexual preferences no one knew, was angry with his brother for his coming out, which upset his parents, but a few years later he opened up to his younger brother.

At that time, Luke was preparing for admission to medical school, and Mark was studying at the New York film school. One day, Luke asked his more experienced brother to show him the gay hangouts of New York and it turned out to be the beginning of the end. It was in the 80s, when AIDS was killing homosexuals by the thousands. Very little was known about the disease, and the drugs for it were ineffective and very toxic.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

In 1988, after a long separation, Luke and Mark met in Brooklyn and immediately noticed each other's terrible changes in appearance. Both were painfully thin and had already begun to suffer from weak immunity. In 1990, Luke, who was already working as a doctor, suggested that Mark move to California with him. He did not give up hope of becoming a screenwriter, and in In Los Angeles, the chances of getting into the film industry were much higher than in New York.

There was another reason that prompted the brothers to move in together. They agreed that if one of them lies down, the second one will have to take care of him until the end. After moving to the City of Angels, Mark Olmsted got a job in an advertising agency, but at the same time continued to write scripts.

Luke's illness progressed faster, and he began to take the first one. Working in a clinic where AIDS was studied, he had access to the most advanced medicines and procedures at that time. In addition, Luke experimented on himself, transfusing blood, making questionable vaccinations and even incinerating himself for hours in the solarium. Nothing helped, and in February 1991, Luke died in the arms of his brother at the age of 34.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

The death of his brother, although quite predictable, deeply shocked Mark. He also had to watch the painful deaths of dozens of his gay friends. He lost friends and acquaintances almost every week and was close to complete despair. Statistics show that 80% of Americans who were diagnosed with HIV before 1996 died. This is half a million people, mostly very young people.

The apartment that the brothers rented in Los Angeles cost Luke $ 850 a month. Mark's meager salary would not be enough to pay for it. But there were 10 thousand dollars in Luke's bank account, which could be easily used. Mark had been signing checks in place of his dying brother for several months, so he just kept doing it.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

As the only relative and direct heir, Mark was supposed to send copies of his brother's death certificate to banks and other organizations. Of course, he did not do this and continued to receive his disability allowance instead of his late brother.

A month after Luke's death, it was time to update his rights. Mark sent the document for renewal, but with his photo. Thus, just a month later, he had a brand-new rights to his brother's name, but with his person in the picture. With the rights, Mark officially turned into a brother, which allowed him to live, although not posh, but quite decently.

But Olmsted's appetites grew, and his income remained the same. Since Mark was addicted to alcohol and methamphetamine, there was not enough money. I had to use Luke's credit card. The money from it dispersed instantly, but the fraudster already knew what to do. He sent a copy of his brother's death certificate to the bank, in which he corrected the date of death to a later one. The balance was reset to zero and the creditors left Olmsted alone.

The rest of the credit cards also dispersed very quickly — Mark believed that he was living for the last year and was in a hurry to get the most out of life. In March 1993, the first bell rang — Olmsted lost consciousness while taking a bath. Doctors diagnosed him with viral pneumonia and it became clear that the end was very close.

The tests showed a critical number of T-cells in the patient's blood. This made it possible for Mark to apply for disability benefits and quit his job. $ 18,000 wasn't a lot of money for a terminally ill guy, but Olmsted was glad of it, too. Incredibly, the number of T-cells soon recovered and death receded.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

But in the midst of negotiations, Blackwood stopped answering Mark's calls. As it turned out, the director died suddenly from a rapid form of lung cancer. Olmsted was shocked, but did not fold his hands. A year later, the same script attracted the attention of Steve Abbott, who shot "A Fish named Wanda". The producer bought the script and called Mark to Rome, where he introduced him to director Norman Rene, who created the drama about AIDS patients "An Old friend".

Abbott demanded changes to the plot, for which he sent Olmsted and Rene went to the picturesque Tuscany, where they had to finalize the script on the farm of a friend of Norman. It seemed to Mark that his financial difficulties were over, but it was not so.

The situation with Blackwood was repeated — Rene stopped picking up the phone. It turned out that he was in the clinic near death with a diagnosis of AIDS. On May 24, 1996, Norman died and the project remained unrealized. And credit card debts continued to grow, leaving Mark no room for maneuver. While he traveled around the world, trying to adapt his scripts and lived in London, Rome, New York, San Francisco and In Montreal, I only had to spend. It's time to think about where to get money again.

Not only Luke's credit cards were already in use, but also Mark himself. It was necessary to forge death certificates again and reset the debts. Olmsted was afraid for the first time — death had passed him so far, but the threat of getting a prison sentence was more real than ever. But there was no other way out, and Mark again made five copies of the certificates and sent them to credit organizations.

But fortune, like death, favored Mark and the alarm turned out to be false — the girl-employee actually simply did not see the seal on the form. Olmsted continued his activity — his credit card debts exceeded 50 thousand dollars and there was a lot of work.

The fraudster got a job at a small magazine and almost immediately submitted Luke's documents for disability benefits. At the same time, he registered as unemployed under his own name and began receiving social benefits. When Mark once again appeared at the West Hollywood administration office under the name of his brother, the clerk looked at him in surprise and, consulting the computer, reported that Luke Olmsted had died.

Mark did not lose his composure — he had prepared a heartwarming story about working in Africa in the Doctors Without Borders mission, where his passport was stolen. But the clerk himself saved Olmsted from having to lie — he looked at Luke's license with a photo of Mark and admitted that such errors occur in databases. By pressing a few keys, Luke Olmsted was resurrected again.

At that time, Mark was refused to receive benefits, because they decided that he was not so ill as not to work with a dead Luke. The situation was desperate and Mark decided to use the last trump card — an insurance policy. In the United States, there are companies that purchase insurance from a terminally ill person for a part of the amount in order to receive the entire payment after his death.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

But it was already the end of the 90s and AIDS was no longer a death sentence. Olmsted was taking medication and felt quite well. The only way to convince the buyer of the policy that Mark is a non-resident was to stop therapy. It was a big risk, but he took it and reduced the number of T-cells to a dangerous minimum.

Mark was believed and his policy for 100 thousand dollars was purchased for 58 thousand. Olmsted started taking pills again and death spared him — he got away with the trick of temporarily canceling therapy. After paying off the debts on credit cards, there were only 10 thousand dollars left and it was necessary to solve something again. Luck came unexpectedly — a dealer who had been selling methamphetamine to the Brand for many years offered him to work as a drug dealer. Olmsted agreed and his business went up the hill.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

But new trials were waiting for Mark ahead — he was arrested on August 14, 2003 on suspicion of drug trafficking. The lawyer, focusing on Olmsted's illness, achieved a very lenient punishment — a $ 2,200 fine and 300 hours of community service. The fine was paid, but Mark decided to dodge the work in the usual way. On October 25, 2003, he sent a letter to the probation department on behalf of Luke that Mark Olmsted had died and could not work out the required time in any way.

This was already outright arrogance and on February 5, 2004, Mark was arrested again. During the search, they found fake documents in his name and in the name of Luke Olmsted, notorious death certificates, prepared for future use and equipment for forgery of documents. Already on April 12, Mark went to prison to serve a 16-month sentence.

Snub-nosed in the share: how fraudster Mark Olmsted took death as an accomplice

In prison, the puny Mark lived well — he managed to intimidate other prisoners with AIDS, threatening to spray them with blood in case of any excesses. Therefore, the cunning Olmsted served his short term without incident.

After being released, he decided not to tempt fate and left the games in the style of "dead-alive". Mark lives with his boyfriend in a small cozy apartment and works for a company that creates subtitles for Hollywood. Death is still bypassing him, it can be seen from old friendship, so Olmsted looks enthusiastically into the future and has many grandiose plans.

Once he admitted that all his life he feels guilty before the deceased Luke, since it was just that he should have died. But Mark calms himself with the fact that after living in fear for many years and having served time in prison, he has atoned for his guilt and Luke wouldn't be mad at him.

The audacity of some scammers is amazing. How, for example, do you like the story about the guy who sold the Eiffel Tower twice?

Keywords: Fraud | Drug dealer | Fake | Director | Death | Aids | Prison

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