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Criminal: Attempted Tax Fraud And Bra Rental Etiquette

Everyday Genius

It's been a busy month for the Criminal Podcast. Host Phoebe Judge and her producers recently returned from a 14-city tour across the U.S. and Canada.

"I think our favorite show was right here in Durham," said Phoebe, adding that she told stories on stage, but also did a magic trick.

Judge said the live show was a great opportunity to share some stories that are shorter than the ones featured in regular episodes. Two of those are on this week's podcast.

In one, we hear from comedian Dave Holmes, who received a voicemail that set his heart racing on his way out of the gym one evening. The caller said he was an IRS agent, and that Holmes was being sued. Holmes returned the call, and the voice told him he needed to wire $4,500 immediately, or he could have his accounts frozen and be arrested.

Holmes had been audited before, and this didn't sound right.

"I said, 'Wait a minute. It's been my understanding... that all your communication with me needs to take place through my tax preparer.' And they were like, 'Well, we called him.' And I was like, 'Oh, it's a her.' And I was like, 'Did you? 'Cause she didn't try to get a hold of me, and I'm pretty sure she would.'"

Holmes realized the agent was a scammer and decided to turn the tables. He pretended to panic, and asked them for instructions to send them money.

Holmes sat in his car, making noises to convince scammers he had deposited the money at a bank. Just when the scammers thought they had him, he let them know he was onto them.

"This is the dumbest, most transparent scam in the world," he told them. "And someday, somebody's gonna come at you with something like this and you're gonna fall for it... You're not good at scamming, and you should stop."

In the second story this episode, Judge spoke with a retired attorney in Louisiana. (This 80-year-old woman has asked to remain anonymous.) She had driven out to the remote Angola Prison to visit a criminal she felt sorry for.  But the guards wouldn't let her in because she was wearing a denim jacket, and denim was prohibited by the dress code.

Judge said the attorney told the guards she couldn't take off the jacket because she wasn't wearing a bra that day. The guards insisted all women must wear bras.

They lawyer said it had been a long drive on a hot day and she didn't want to make the trip in vain, so she set about trying to find a bra for the visit. There were no stores around, so she hatched a plan: to go to the post office and see if a female employee might lend her one.

You can hear more about these hijinks on the latest episode of the Criminal podcast. It's recorded in the studios of WUNC.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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