An FBI agent from the San Diego White Collar Crime Division seeks assistance from the BAU when the con artist he has been tracking for years starts to murder his victims.
tw: violence, blood and injury
“Look, I love Miami as much as the next guy—”
“No, you don’t,” Derek interrupted Piper from his seat across from her.
“But white-collar crimes?”
“Maybe actually go through the file and you won’t find it so boring,” Emily said in a sing-song voice as she pushed a file towards her. Piper grumbled from her seat as she took it, scanning through the file before JJ arrived with the man who requested their assistance as Spencer passed her a Skittle from under the table. They heard the subtle crinkle of plastic as he shoved the mini packet in his pocket. Though it had to be noted, Rossi thought, that the last time he’d felt caught, he’d shoved the entire packet in his mouth and Derek had covered for him by making up an excuse about anaphylaxis to the detective as Piper stabbed a pen lightly into his leg.
“Everyone, this is Agent Russell Goldman from the San Diego white-collar team,” JJ presented the agent. “You’ve already met Agent Hotchner. These are Agents Rossi, Morgan, Prentiss, Dr Reid and Dr Bishop.” Spencer waved and Piper smiled at the agent.
“A pleasure. I’ve been following this con artist for 5 years but 2 nights ago, I think he may have killed someone.” The team nodded solemnly, switching their gaze to JJ’s screen.
“Carla Marshall of Miami was found dead in her home. Asphyxiation by strangulation. She also had trauma wounds to the head.”
“Why do we think the con man killed her?” Hotch asked from the back.
“Last week, Carla contacted a fraud website to report a scam. The complaint ended up on Goldman’s desk.”
“We spoke on the phone at length. Her story matched my guy to the T. She planned on confronting him that night. I told her to cease all communications and wait for me, I’d fly to Miami and set up a sting,” Goldman said, picking at his thumbnail. “But that never happened.”
“Do you have physical evidence confirming it’s your guy?” Derek voiced from his seat next to Emily.
“No, but for her to be murdered the night that we spoke, I don’t think it was a coincidence.”
“There was no sign of forced entry, theft, or sexual assault,” Hotch explained, leaning into Derek as he spoke.
“And judging from the M.O., the motive was personal,” Rossi added.
“Maybe she caught him out, he got angry, lashed out,” Piper mused. “Didn’t want his con to fall apart.”
“What’s his hustle?” Emily asked.
“Investment fraud. Basically, he’s a smaller Madoff.” Piper turned to Rossi to mouth Who’s Madoff?
“Investment banker defrauding dozens of people,” he whispered back as Goldman turned to JJ.
“To give you an idea of how convincing he is, this is a sampling of his work going back 14 years.” Icons of people spread out throughout the map of the lower east end of the US.
“It’s prolific,” Spencer commented under his breath.
“He’s scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from people, but he’s never been violent before,” Russell said.
“Con men usually don’t murder, but when they do, it’s to conceal their crimes,” Rossi started to explain.
“Con man’s a nice name for these guys,” Derek scoffed. “They profile as psychopaths.”
“They see their cons as theatre and themselves as a sort of puppeteer,” Spencer continued. “They have to have absolute control over their victims and their cons.”
“Losing that control precipitates violence,” Piper maintained. “Their confidence in the con shatters which reflects on future cons.”
“He could go on to kill others when those cons fail too,” Emily surmised with wrinkled brows. “Also is there a better word for con?”
“Scam?” Piper suggested.
“Fraud?” Derek smirked.
“Hustle?” Spencer added.
“Don’t forget hoaxes!” Rossi included before Hotch cleared his throat, putting an end to their good mood.
“Well, my point was that if he’s spiralling, he’s a danger to everyone around him.”
“And because he’s so charming, the victims never see it coming,” Hotch finished. “Wheels up in 30.” The group got up, chuckling as they walked into the bullpen to grab their bags and a cup of coffee for the road.