All photographs taken by and used with permission from Polly Chandler.
When Austin large format photographer Polly Chandler deposited a $2000-something cashier’s check to her bank for a sale she made for two of her valued prints, she never really thought it would eventually led to setting her back a couple of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for her, she got screwed over by a horrible Internet scammer who not only scams her out of profits but her highly valuable prints as well.
It seems that those “Nigerian 419” scammers have upgraded to zeroing in on artists trying to make an honest living, and they’re not being shy about their new “business” either.
As Chandler tells Feature Shoot, she was corresponding through email with a man named Corbett Bonilla from England (remember the name and spread the news folks, we don’t know which photographer he’s going to scam next!) who was interested in purchasing two of her 16×20 prints. After many backs and forths to work out the details, this man finally sent her a Canadian cashier’s check, which she then deposited into her account with Wells Fargo without a second thought.
Even though she waited two weeks to send the man her prints, the funds from the check were already made available by the bank (and she says she was never informed by the bank that they usually put foreign and cashier’s checks on hold for a month) so she, like any of us would, thought that the check had come through and everything was fine.
Everything was far from fine, however, when the fraud was made known to her, a few weeks later, after she had already spent some of the money, sent the man her prints, and the bank’s charged her overdraft fees for the fraudulent check. And despite all the efforts she’s made to report the scheme and to reason with Wells Fargo, she still owes them $2,736.56!
This whole ordeal has left an amazing and talented artist trying to make an honest living in a difficult situation. She now have to pay Wells Fargo this huge amount of money to cover for the charges. And she’s not the only one who’s fallen victim to his scheme – there are dozens more out there who had found themselves in a similar situation.
Unfortunately, it might prove difficult to catch a man who’s made a living out of fooling people and make him pay for his crimes, or at least make him give back all the money he stole so his victims can financially recover. The best thing for us as a community to do right now is help disseminate information so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
To recover from her financial situation, Polly Chandler is having a fundraiser, in which she’s selling her hauntingly beautiful creations at incredibly low prices! Help a fellow photographer out and buy her wonderful prints – contact her through her website or Facebook page for details. See some of the images she has on sale below. The fundraiser ends tomorrow, June 13.