Who is Don Vanuchi?

by on February 23, 2008

The Don’s daughter is getting married and, as is customary on such occasions, friends of the family and have turned up to enjoy the festivities and to petition the Don for favors. The scene is a darkened room and the CEO of a technology company approaches the Don and kisses his hand.

“Don Vanuchi,” he says, “that HaveMac blogger has been making negative comments about my technology again.”

“You’ve been a good friend to the family,” replies the Don, “I’ll send him an email his spam blocker can’t refuse.”

Next day I receive the email. (This is a real email, by the way, that has been doing the rounds recently). It reads as follows:

Dear Friend,

Goodday to you.

Am very sorry for you my friend, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply. As you can see there is no need of introducing myself to you because I don’t have any business with you, my duty as I am mailing you now is just to KILL/ASSASINATE you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.

OK, I know compliance is a big deal in business nowadays, but even Sarbanes Oxley has less steep penalties than you’re suggesting here. Also you don’t quite say which piece of legislation I may have fallen foul of, and, by the way, I think you’ve misinterpreted the official procedures in some way. Normally you’d check for compliance before inflicting the associated penalty for non-compliance. (By the way, here’s a tip; there are four S’s in assassinate).

Someone you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name, picture and other necessary information’s we needed about you. So I sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows that you are innocent.

If I get the gist of this correctly, it seems that there isn’t a compliance problem after all, but someone has hired you to kill me for some unspecified failing of which I am (to my relief, I have to say) innocent. (Not wanting to be too picky about your use of English, but that apostrophe after “information” is all wrong, and the word information doesn’t actually have a plural. By the way I like the capital “I” in Important – a neat flourish in what is otherwise rather pedestrian prose.) So. Is my life important to me? Let’s assume “yes”.

I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn’t tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now.

That’s OK, as long as you don’t sell the email address to a spammer.

As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring you and they are telling me everything about you.

Even that embarrassing incident in the locker room when I was 14? Damn.

Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid us to kill you. Get back to me now if you are ready to pay some fees to spare your life, If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my job straight-up.

Sorry to be picky again, but the capital I in If is only valid if you’re starting a new sentence.

WARNING: DO NOT THINK OF CONTACTING THE POLICE OR EVEN TELL ANYONE BECAUSE I WILL KNOW.

I’ll bet you’re reading this blog right now.

REMEMBER, SOMEONE WHO KNOWS YOU VERY WELL WANT YOU DEAD! I WILL EXTEND IT TO YOUR FAMILY, INCASE I NOTICE SOMETHING FUNNY.

We don’t do funny. This is a serious blog. (By the way, you really do need to pay greater attention to verb conjugation).

DO NOT COME OUT ONCE IT IS 7:30PM UNTIL I MAKE OUT TIME TO SEE YOU AND GIVE YOU THE TAPE OF MY DISCUSSION WITH THE PERSON WHO WANT YOU DEAD AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLIED WITH MY DEMANDS, THEN YOU CAN USE IT TO TAKE ANY LEGAL ACTION.

You know, I’m giving this sentence an “F”. Does it have a meaning?

GOOD LUCK AS I AWAIT YOUR REPLY

Regards

Don Vanuchi

What we have here is definitely a student who flunked English as a second language. It is also a Nigerian 419 scam which hopes to simply extort money from the recipient. It makes no sense at all, finishing as it does with the suggestion that the hired hit man sell you a tape so you can take legal action against some unidentified “friend” you have.

As if.

Don Vanuchi, you’ll be relieved to hear, is no relation to either Pearlas Sandborn or Anthony de Croud. He’s more difficult to track down than either of those two figments, possibly on account of the tradition of “Omerta” that pervades Mafia activities. Vanuchi is probably not an Italian name (Vanucci being a more likely spelling), although it could be an Italian name that had been anglicized. Sadly the scammer, who wrote the letter hasn’t even done his Godfather research properly. The “Don”, according to Mario Puzi, is the leader of the mafia family and would never get directly involved in any criminal act, let alone write an email.

The only mystery here is why anyone would take the email seriously; it reads like a joke by a 14 year old with learning difficulties. The FBI is requesting that recipients report such emails, so I assume they’re treating this as a scam that works. I guess some people of a nervous nature actually do react badly to this B-movie email. The FBI is probably doing email traces.

The activists at 419Eater.com have been responding to these emails pretending to be scared and trying to waste the time of the perpetrators, who are in the main Nigerians – 419s having achieved the status of an industry in Nigeria.

Research suggests that this email dates back to 2006 and that the name Don Vanuchi has not changed in that time.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Monica Bower February 11, 2013 at 14:31

Coming to this kind of late (God bless the eternal now of the internet) but I knew exactly who Don Vanuchi was as soon as I saw the headline of this post. You’re right, it actually is spelled Vanucci, and there are in fact two of them. Only my wide-ranging affection for strange comedies gave me the power to clear up this mystery, albeit now five years late to the party.

The answer is in the movie “Oscar”, a charming oddball prohibition comedy starring Sylvester Stallone. The Vanuccis are tailors who are at Oscar’s townhouse to do a suit fitting, but in order to frighten an unwelcome guest, Oscar suggests they are actually assassins, making for some cute wordplay.

This suggests a certain cleverness on the part of the email writer, and/or a perverse interest in Sylvester Stallone prohibition comedies. Certainly it can’t be mere coincidence that all the Vanuccis are fake assassins?

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