The Case of Laurie and the Monegasque Prince

The Case of Laurie and the Monegasque Prince

One morning, the following email greeted my insufficiently caffeinated eyes, arriving as a message through my web site:

On Jul 11, 2020, at 6:48 AM, {Name (First):1.3} {Name (Last):1.6} <> wrote:

  Stefano Casiraghi
  I am Stefano Casiraghi Jr, and I reside in the principality of Monaco. I have taken the privilege to write to you today, because my fiance is a huge admirer of your work.

The reason I am writing to you is because I would like to quietly invite you to our wedding, which is coming up on the 29th of August, 2020, as her surprise guest of honour.

I assume that you are engaged in your busy schedules and it’s a bit impromptu however, your 20mins cameo will be a splendid experience and will mean the world to her. Hence, permit me to extend my hospitality by offering you a token for your preparation, so that I can make the necessary arrangement for a private to and fro flight for you and a few family members or friends.

If this cannot be made possible, please autograph one of your piece and address it to her, while I humbly ask you to accept the token that I have offered as a support from my family for your good work.

Kindly be informed that your acceptance to honour this request will mark the beginning of a new journey for all of us, while I hope that this communication will remain as discreet as possible, as to ensure that the expected excitement is achieved.

Yours Sincerely,

Stefano Casiraghi Jr.


Well, I thinks to myself, that’s a change from Nigerian princes. But still, there are odd people out there, and some of them have more money than they should, and so long as the fellow doesn’t ask me to click on a link or send him my bank routing number, I’ll play along.


On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 7:19 PM info king <> wrote:

Dear Stefano, what a most amusing way to begin my weekend, with a dream of flying off to Monaco for a royal wedding… (Although I cannot see that the world will be free of Covid in six weeks’ time.)

I am not sure what you mean by a “token” offered?

I am, naturally, happy to sign any book your fiancé might wish to purchase from my local Bookshop Santa Cruz, who, although they do not generally send things internationally, might be convinced to do so in this case.

As for any participation, I regret that my agent and accountant would require me to submit an invoice for however many days of travel spent (and hence writing lost), which currently begins at $3000 per day (for libraries) plus expenses.  If you wish to mail a check to the PO Box given on my web site “contact” page, my agent would be pleased to open a dialogue with you.

Thank you for your interest, and Miss Russell, Mr Holmes and I wish you and your intended the very happiest of celebrations.

Laurie R. King


On Jul 13, 2020, at 6:41 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Flying to Monaco from the United States and back, in this covid-19 moment is not a problem to arrange, provided you have a US International Passport. However, I do not wish to pressure you.

So, I will suggest you offer her the piece you believe is your best work so far, with inscription. I think that will be great and enough for her. Her name is Emilia and she is 25yrs.

As per the token as stated, that is strictly for you. But then, you put me through to your agent. Perhaps, I will have one of my associates make contact.

So sorry that I am currently operating within a very tight schedule. But will contact you at my earliest convenient time, let’s say; a week before the wedding.

Thank you.



On Jul 15, 2020, at 8:26 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Lou is my associate, and I have advised him to contact you.

He will provide the necessary assistance in regards to where the signed book will be mailed to.

Also, he will direct some funds to you as a token from me. Please accept it as my humble support to your work.

Sorry I have a lot on my schedule right now.

I hope Emilia would love to contact you, hopefully after the wedding.

All the best in your endeavors.

Stefano Casiraghi Jr.


July 16 On Jul 16, 2020, at 7:04 AM, Lou William <> wrote:

Hi Laurie R. King,

My name is Lou and I have been instructed by Mr. Stefano Casiraghi Jr. to arrange a payment of $150,000.00 in your favor.

The funds can cover your travelling preparation, if you can make the wedding. Otherwise consider it as a sign of his appreciation of your work, being that he intends to have you write his biography after the covid-19 pandemic. You may also support your favorite charity with part of it.

If you cannot make the wedding, he wishes that you inscribe your heart felt message in any of your personal book of choice that you wish to give to the wife; Emilia.

Either ways, I will need the beneficiary name for a cashier’s check to be issued, and the address it will be mailed to.

I will also issue you the tracking number of the mail, to monitor the delivery.

And do mail the inscribed book to the below information.


Lou William

2980 Fairview Park Drive

Falls Church

VA 22042-Virginia


(276) 708-7213


July 16: sidebar

(I text with my daughter, speculating what they’re after—clearly it’s not just a book, since sending to that address—the Northrup Grumman defense contractor’s building—would promptly get it returned to me stamped Addressee Unknown…)

It’ll come out soon. Meanwhile, it’s very entertaining. And I’m trying to decide if my next step should be A) telling him I’ll go ahead and mail the book now, and that I need Emilia’s last name, and I’ll put tracking on it (so when it arrives there and there’s nobody by that name and they send it back…) or B) say that I’m so touched by this offer I want to put Emilia in the next book but I need her last name and photo and some details about her life, so the character really reflects her, or C) tell him my good friend Lee Child is flying in his own private jet to Monaco next week and why don’t I come too and we can meet?


From: info king <>
To: Lou William <>
Sent: Thu, Jul 16, 2020 4:51 pm
Subject: Re: From Lou.

Dear Lou, this is amazingly generous. A check can reach me at my PO box, #4063, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.

And I have a copy of the new book, set in Monaco, that I will send when I’ve received the check.

Have a lovely day, and keep safe,

Laurie R. King


On Jul 16, 2020, at 11:54 AM, Lou William <> wrote:

Sorry, but I will need a physical mailing address to ascertain that the mail is received.

From: info king <>
To: Lou William <>
Sent: Fri, Jul 17, 2020 2:18 am

Hi Lou, I do understand—my own address has a mailbox that is far from secure, being on a road half a mile away, and my agent is working from home at present, but I’ll send you a secure physical address tomorrow.


July 17 , Lou William <> wrote:

I will be expecting the information.


July 20: , Lou William <> wrote:

Please find below; the Fedex tracking number.
[#  deleted]
Thank you


On Jul 20, 2020, at 8:11 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Dear Laurie,
I have just been informed by Lou that you have received the cheque.
Kindly confirm if you have received the funds and how much was made out to you, please.

On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 4:56 AM info king <> wrote:

Hello, sirs—the check arrived at my accountant, but it has her name on it, and since she and I do not have a bank account in common, she will need to send it back to you for re-issuing in the name of Laurie R. King.


Shall I have them send it to this address?

Lou William

2980 Fairview Park Drive

Falls Church

VA 22042-Virginia


On Jul 20, 2020, at 12:29 PM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Kindly inform Mr. Louis William that there was an error as made on the cheque and that it should be re-issued.

Please emphasize the error was your side.

It is very important you do this.

Thank you.



On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 6:21 AM info king <> wrote:

No problem, but you said you wanted the mistaken check sent to you in Monaco?



On Jul 21, 2020, at 5:39 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Yes, you can send it to;


6, Bd des Moulins, bureau 3, 1st floor, 98000, Monte Carlo


From: info king <>
To: Lou William <>
Sent: Tue, Jul 21, 2020 6:21 am
Subject: Re: Tracking number

Hi Lou, as I emailed earlier, the check will need to be re-issued in the name of Laurie R. King, but sent to my accountant, [name deleted]. I probably was not clear enough on this, I’m sorry for the error.

How would you like us to return the existing check?

Laurie King


On Jul 20, 2020, at 3:01 PM, Lou William <> wrote:

Hi Laurie,

Thank you for your email.

Please re-confirm if the check should be issued to the name and mailed to the address as stated

Thank you.



Laurie R. King

[her address sent]


On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 8:16 AM info king <> wrote: [to Stefano]

I shall have someone send the check to this address, thanks. Does it matter to you how it’s sent? Is the Post Office okay?

And I think I need to write your fiancée a story about all this, as her wedding present…



And at last, here it is:

On Jul 21, 2020, at 6:54 PM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Yes you may send it by Post.

Before the next cheque is issued, let me add that Emilia’s father has a medical condition, and this has brought some negative energy in the family lately. Such is not needed at this time as you can see.

Considering the above, there is a charity that she is affiliated with.I wish to ask you to make a donation to this charity using part of the $150,000. Also, inscribe in your message to her that you are aware of her support to the charity, therefore have made a donation to them.

All I want is abundant joy in her at this moment, and I know such will mean the world to her, and for me as well.

Please confirm if this can be arranged.



On Jul 21, 2020, at 12:03 PM, info king <> wrote:

Oh, Stefano, I am sorry to hear that, such a cloud hanging over your upcoming wedding.

Do feel free to give as much of that money to the charity as you think appropriate, with my best wishes.

And I shall include your fiancé’s family in my prayers.




On Jul 21, 2020, at 12:55 PM, [my accountant] wrote:

This is so interesting! The way this often works is you send the “donation” after you deposit the check, so that money is definitely gone. But it can take a bank months to determine that the original deposit was fraudulent, and then the bank just debits your account. These people are spending a fortune in FedX fees to defraud us! I’m sending you a picture of the check from my Iphone.

With merriment,



(To M, July 21)

Note: the Better Business Bureau has “First Financial Bank” on their list of imposters.

And when I dialed the number listed for them, I first got the question if anyone in my house was over 50, and then (when I said no) the exciting offer of $100 worth of shopping credit for JUST $1.95, so get out my credit card NOW…  Thanks, no.


From: Laurie King <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 1:18 PM
To: M
Subject: Re: Fraud is fun

And is that return address on Happy Lane?

Oh, this is such fun.



On Jul 21, 2020, at 2:07 PM, [my accountant]> wrote:

In Sacramento. It’s a warehouse.


On Jul 22, 2020, at 1:54 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Thank you for your email.

Kindly confirm your understanding of my email of yesterday in regards to her charity.

Once this is clear, I will instruct for the re-issuing of the cheque.

And please confirm if the first cheque has been sent out.



On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 5:23 PM info king <> wrote:

Hi Stefano, sorry I haven’t been out of the house in a week (I’m about to turn 68 so I tend to shelter in place) but I do need to go out in the next few days, and will pick up the check from my accountant. And I’m mailing it to you at your Monaco address, right?



On Jul 22, 2020, at 8:28 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

I do not intend to stress you, please.

You can send the cheque together with the book after the second cheque arrives.

But before it is sent, do confirm that my explanation on the charity is clear.

Thank you.



On Jul 22, 2020, at 9:08 AM, Laurie King <> wrote [to Fed Ex]:

I have been in ongoing communication with a would-be scammer, and the matter is about to come to a head, in that he is asking me to mail him a check. This is a very sophisticated scammer, who has done a lot of homework into his target.

If anyone is interested in actually catching him in the act, the opportunity is rapidly approaching, when he will need to surface in order to receive his check.

His fraudulent check was sent through Fed Ex, the Ranco Cordova branch. on July 18. I can send the tracking information if you wish.

The cashier’s check was from “First Financial Bank” which is on the BBB’s list of impostors. (and is itself a scam, asking callers for credit card numbers.)

The FTC web site says that they do not investigate individual cases, only accumulate data, but if you know f someone who would enjoy making an arrest, that chance is coming soon.


Laurie R. King


On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 10:08 PM info king <> wrote:

Certainly, I do understand—you’re sending me a replacement check (or rather, Lou is) and then I will send the book and my charity check to you in your Monaco address.

Though I’ll need to know how you want me to dedicate the book, and what the name of the charity is. Also, how much you think would be right?

(And I apologize if I sometimes don’t answer you right away, I don’t usually look at email while I’m working.)

Best wishes,



On Jul 22, 2020, at 1:37 PM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

I don’t know if my English was as correct as I thought. But what I meant was that you will receive a check of $150,000 from Lou shortly.

Once you receive it and have it cleared, I will advise you where you will pay part of the funds to, and that will be the charity’s bank account.

Then you keep the balance as my support to your work as well.

The cheque that was sent previously, you enclose it alongside the inscribed book and send it to Monaco.

I hope that this is clear.



On Jul 27, 2020, at 10:43 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:


The above is the tracking number of the sent cheque.



On Jul 28, 2020, at 5:19 AM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

Kindly find the assigned Fedex tracking number for your shipment.




On Jul 28, 2020, at 12:27 PM, Stefano Casiraghi Jr. <> wrote:

From my side, I can understand the shipment is delivered.

Can you confirm to me when the donation can be made?

I will need to provide you with the details, when you are set.


July 30:

I picked up the above from my accountant.

I’ve been trying for the past week to interest some law enforcement in this. FTC, my bank, the sheriff’s office, Fed Ex. Because if I’m sending this chappie a check, that means someone will have to stick their head up to fetch it.

But nope.

And then tonight, I see this on Instagram:

William Kent Krueger got exactly the same scammer letter.

And here I thought I was special, Stefano.


Posted in ,


  1. La Donna Weber on July 31, 2020 at 9:33 am

    And our Stefano must be a previously unknown son of Caroline of Monaco/Hanover’s second husband. You should have gone straight to the National Enquirer (does that newspaper still exist? I don’t pay attention …) rather than try to interest law enforcement. *They* would have cracked the case and run an expose.

    • Keith Raffel on July 31, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      La Donna, there is a Stefano Casarighi who is the grandchild of Caroline and her late husband Stefano Casarighi. His father is Pierre Casarighi. The younger Stefano is indeed young. He is under five years old.

      • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:42 pm

        Yes, I figured it probably wasn’t him.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:48 pm

      Great idea to go straight to the National Enquirer, La Donna. I’m sure they’ll make it front page headlines!

  2. Judy Nappa on July 31, 2020 at 11:07 am

    What a great story – the scammer has no idea who he’s messing with LOL. Thanks for an amusing Friday morning read.

    Judy Nappa
    A HUGE Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes?Laurie R. King fan

  3. Gail McKelvie on July 31, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Oh my heavens. That was as fun to read as one of your books.

  4. Alice Wright on July 31, 2020 at 11:23 am

    I’m sitting here LMAO that “Stefano” did so much research on you, Laurie, and still thought you would fall for this scam. I do have to say using the Monaco connection was inspired.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      And the funniest thing is–that connection is totally coincidental! Because Kent got exactly the same letter.
      What would Holmes make of that?

      • Alice Wright on August 1, 2020 at 3:58 pm

        Don’t you think he would have tracked down the miscreant and brought him to justice had he tried this on someone Holmes knew or came to him for help?

  5. Kitty Macey on July 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

    what a good tale! thanks, As soon as you mentioned the Nigerian princes, I knew I was in for a great yarn.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:44 pm

      I guess princes of all sorts are into crime, whether from Nigeria or Monaco….

  6. Wendy Hornsby on July 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

    I love that he’s trying to scam crime writers. I wonder how many people have been targeted, and whether anyone fell for it. But thank him for a wonderful story idea, or ten.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      I have thanked him, for more chuckles than anything else has brought me in recent weeks.

  7. Storyteller Mary on July 31, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I got a much smaller fake check, a refund from a magazine to which I’d never subscribed. I turned it over to my credit union fraud department.

  8. Libby Toews on July 31, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    They brain power and machinations put into this. Must pay or they would be in politics.!

  9. Carol on July 31, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Reminds me of when someone I know got a (I believe Nigerian Prince) scamming e-mail. She helped herself to weeks of joy by responding as if she were in a Lovecraftian world.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      One seizes one’s entertainments where one can….

  10. Kathy Keenan on July 31, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    I joined a grief website and someone tried to get me to agree to “receive” a package for him! At least I had the satisfaction of getting him banned from the website! And your scammer has really good taste in authors! I wonder where Stephen King’s check is?

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      It’ll be interesting to see how many writers are in touch with the gent, and whether they’re all crime writers…

  11. Michelle Knutson on July 31, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    I had a fairly arduous day.. this way exactly what I needed! thank you for sharing yet another adventure with us.

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2020 at 10:50 pm

      I know, each morning when I spotted an email from Stefano it cheered me no end.
      I’ll be sorry to have him crawl back into his hole, actually.

    • Serena DuBois on August 1, 2020 at 2:32 am

      Do keep us posted if or when he resurfaces. I love the way you strung him along.

  12. Neil Nyren on August 2, 2020 at 10:07 am

    This is the best story I’ve read all week. Between you and Krueger, it’s clear he has very good taste in crime fiction. Maybe we should put him up for a fan award! And, of course, tell him that he can collect it only if he shows up in person.

    • Laurie King on August 2, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      There’s a plan!

  13. Kim on August 2, 2020 at 10:54 am

    For future reference, the FBI has a whole department dedicated to tracking down these scams.

    • Laurie King on August 2, 2020 at 4:43 pm

      I haven’t tried the FBI, I’ll do one there, too–thanks for the suggestion.

  14. Leslie S Klinger on August 5, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I guess I should be deeply disappointed not to have received a check. I thought that I was finally getting some recognition as a writer–but Stefano hasn’t contacted me! Maybe he doesn’t like footnotes.

    • Laurie King on August 5, 2020 at 11:20 am

      I’ll send you one of mine if you want, Les, I’ve received three of the things….
      And yes, this will make a great footnote. In my autobiography maybe?

  15. Elizabeth Zelvin on August 5, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Wait a minute. Did Kent Krueger have to think as hard as you did and send as many letters to get an actual check? Trying to follow your machinations makes my brain ache. And just think: without the pandemic, you probably wouldn’t have had time to have that much fun. You’d have been busy going places. Liz

    • Laurie King on August 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Kent seems to have followed a slightly different route, perhaps being willing to give the fellow an actual address. But yes, it was greatly entertaining.

  16. Marilyn Armstrong on August 5, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve been scammed, so I’m very careful when around these people. They can do a lot with just a little bit of information. Sure was a great story, though. I have a block function on my phones, but these guys never quit.

  17. Eugenia Parrish Author on August 6, 2020 at 11:11 am

    This was such fun, thanks! I once spoke to a scammer on the phone because they managed to freeze up my computer and fill the screen with a real scary message and an emergency number to call (purporting to be Microsoft, I think, but it was years ago). I was freaked out, so I called — what’s the harm, right? The “technician” then wanted me to pay them $3000 (via credit card number) to figure out what was wrong with my computer and “fix” it. I hung up, re-booted the computer and it was fine. A day or so later I got a phone call from “the IRS” saying that my audit showed problems, but if I sent money (via credit card number), I would not be arrested for tax fraud. I strung him along for a good hour until my questions about what part of Ethiopia he was in made him furious (the accent really started coming out then!) Finally I couldn’t keep from laughing, and he screamed at me that the FBI was on its way to my door so I’d better either pay or run! I kept saying, “Well, they aren’t here yet — what’s keeping them? Are you sure they’re not coming for you?” After that it devolved into screeching about how stupid American women are and how dare I question him. It was a great story to tell over drinks. BTW, I changed my number!

    • Laurie King on August 6, 2020 at 11:28 am

      The most puzzling thing about this one was how they chose their targets. I’m hearing an interesting variety of names…

  18. Kay Coyte on August 10, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    You can add mystery/romance author Patricia McLinn to your list. I’m her assistant and intercepted the message. I remember thinking, really? But it was a better than average email in terms of wording, spelling, etc. My main tipoff was the email address.
    But I did briefly get duped by the “Can you do me a favor?” scam. That one starts with a brief message to establish a connection; In my case, it was simply “Good morning.” I happened to be traveling, and so the “not sure you’re receiving this” made sense. What didn’t make sense was my friend asking me to buy a gift card for a niece. This friend is neither the niece-present-buying nor favor-asking kind, so red flags raised. Then I checked the mail details and the scammer had used an obscure email address for her and a different reply-to address.

    • Laurie King on August 10, 2020 at 10:11 pm

      Really, I cannot figure out how they composed their list. I even wrote to ask, hoping…but no, “Stefano” didn’t write back, alas.

  19. Kay Coyte on August 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    By the way, New York Times tech writer Jack Nicas in July reported on how Facebook gives scammers a worldwide platform — and hideout. They use FB to find photos of handsome military men, and they troll widows’ support groups and other pages to find potential victims. (And, yes, they look at romance fan sites, too.)
    But what angered me most is that FB hosts closed groups where con artists share tips, stolen identities and other information to better separate innocent people from their money.
    The Times’ documentary-style series, The Weekly, followed Nicas as he tried to track down some of these scammers, traveling first to visit a Florida woman who’d been scammed out of tens of thousands of her and her husband’s life savings and then to the Nigerian internet cafe where the grifters freely congregate. The fascinating, infuriating “Connecting the World” episode ( ) ends with a tragic twist.

    • Laurie King on August 10, 2020 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks, Kay–and yes, you have to figure people fall for it, or they wouldn’t do it.

  20. Minal Hajratwala on August 31, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Laurie, I’d be happy to connect you to my pal at the FBI, who emailed me just today. He’s definitely looking out for us!


    SUBJECT: Attention! Attention!! Attention!!!

    How are you doing today? Please confirm to us if you sent this man to receive your Fund.

    I am Christopher A. Wray, (Current) Director of FBI (Federal Bureau Investigation) There is presently a counter claims on your funds by one Mr John Wheeler whom is presently trying to make us believe that you are dead of Corona Virus also he explained that you entered into an agreement with him, to help you in receiving your fund. So here comes the big question.

    Did you sign any Deed of Assignment in favor of JOHN WHEELER? thereby making him the current beneficiary with this following account details:(MR JOHN WHEELER),AC/NUMBER: 6503809428. ROUTING/122006743,B/NAME:CITI
    BANK, ADDRESS:NEW YORK,USA, we shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said (JOHN WHEELER) if we do not hear from you within the next two working days from today. However, you are advice to email the bank and confirm to them immediately and let them know if (JOHN WHEELER) is from you or not.

    Here is the Banking In formations:


    Please note that you have less than 48hrs to get in contact with the Bank or the Bank will proceed to issue all payments to that (JOHN WHEELER.)

    Christopher A. Wray
    Director FBI DEPT.

    • Laurie King on September 9, 2020 at 11:52 am

      Well there you go then–this very much looks like a scam based on a scam. Very meta…

  21. Tahlia on January 15, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    A mystery writer tracks down a criminal, but the authorities don’t seem to care. How very on brand for the tv show you’ll star in someday 😛

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