11:33 Thursday 6th October 2005, Maya
Matt was looking pretty smug as he showed me round our big store. The place actually looked like a bookies, with TV screens, booking slips, a counter, the works. It was undeniably an impressive piece of work. Much more my style than Art Deco.
‘We get the TV feed in here showing the live race. Obviously we can’t fix the races, they’re legit. Riley’s set up here, holds up the pictures until the end of the race,’ Matt said pointing to a small black box, ‘when we’ve got a winner, we’ll give it to you. You’ve got three minutes to put a bet on before we start feeding it through the front. As far as anyone is concerned, they’re watching the race live.’
‘Three minutes isn’t very long,’ I thought out loud.
‘You slow up the pictures any more, our man might smell a rat. Sorry Maya, it’ll have to do,’ Matt said, continuing to admire his own work. ‘The main area is fully functioning. Riley’s tapped into a street light for electricity, re-routed mains and water for the toilets.’
‘Perfect,’ I said. ‘I have twenty grifters coming in as punters. So, I guess we’re ready to go, the client will be here in a few hours.’
This con was going to be mathematically challenging with our current funds. We had just over £90,000 capital which meant our client wouldn’t be able to take a high stakes bet, as it would wipe us out. We were ready to feed him the convincer – the trick that actually works, before we pull the con. It was simple enough, Riley had already told him he had a non-fail tip system predicting the winners. However, most bookies don’t let you place high bets in the region of tens of thousands minutes before the race without raising suspicion. That was where our big store came in. Riley had told Albert he knew of a private bookies that the syndicates used and that he was a member of. He had given him the usual sell to convince him to place a bet with our big store, saying it was for strictly high rollers, cash only and they would take bets up to half a million without batting an eyelid. The problem was, we only had a three minute window to place the bet. I would call Riley with the winners name as soon as the race finished. Riley would tell the client that I was escorting his boss, and had somehow managed to get the next winners name from him. Riley was going to put down £15,500, which the client would likely follow. At a 2-to-1 winner on a £31,000 bet we would pay out a total of £93,000 (including the original stake) to prove the system works and convince the client to bet more money next time. I know what you’re thinking, if the client walks off with his half of the ‘winnings’ we’ve made a loss. But here’s the thing, clients never walk off. They’re greedy and always want more. That’s why the long con works.
As soon as the client had collected the winnings I joined Riley (or John) and Albert at the big store.
‘There she is,’ Riley said as I walked in, ‘£93,000 doll. Isn’t that right Albert!’
‘You wouldn’t believe what I had to do, to get that horse’s name,’ I said.
‘Well, maybe you could show me some time,’ Albert winked. ‘Why don’t we place one or two more bets.’
‘No, we agreed one race a day. We don’t want to raise suspicion,’ Riley said looking at me. We were flush and could not afford for Albert to win any more.
‘That was ridiculously easy,’ Albert said, loping like a greedy child who had just consumed the cookie jar.
‘Listen, the thing is if we want to make real money we need to put on one big bet while Kate’s still on the inside,’ Riley said, laying the groundwork for a big bet, where we would take the client for a few hundred thousand.
‘There’s no rush, surely?’ Albert rhetorically asked.
‘What if he calls the agency and asks for another girl?’ I said, trying to guide the client.
‘He’d be completely off his rocker to let you go,’ Albert answered, putting his chubby arm around my waist, with his hand creeping up a little too high.
‘Kate’s right,’ Riley added. ‘It’s not worth the risk. Besides, when we’ve made a pound or two, you lovebirds can take an extended break together? Just as promised, Albert.’
’So we can,’ Albert answered, tightening his grip. This was one of the downsides to playing the con, on occasion you would have to allow unattractive, balding fifty-something year old men to drool all over you.