Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam

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Vol 41 Issue 27

All Y'All Urged To Go Fuck Yo' Selves

DETROIT—In a strongly worded pronouncement to all y'all motherfuckers, Detroit resident Dwayne Combs urged all y'all to go fuck yo' selves Monday. "Y'all be bullshit," said Combs in a 3:17 a.m. address from the corner of Woodward Avenue and Grand Boulevard. "And yo' mama, too." Monday's statement marked the normally reclusive Combs' first since an October 1998 appeal to Detroit's city council to kiss his big, black ass. Representatives for all y'all have not yet responded to Combs' themselves-fucking offer.

Sole Remaining Lung Filled With Rich, Satisfying Flavor

GARLAND, TX—Local resident Jesse McCombs' sole remaining lung filled with the rich, satisfying flavor of Parliament cigarettes Monday. "Mmm, now that's a good smoke," said McCombs, 51, drawing a deep breath of Parliament smoke into what remains of his respiratory system. "It's just too bad I no longer have a right lung, because then I could be enjoying double the tobacco pleasure right now."

Magic-Markered Initials Fail To Deter Breakroom Rice-Cake Thief

FRESNO, CA—Despite clearly marking her initials on her rice-cake bag in black Magic Marker, secretary Elaine Fahey was once again the victim of I&G Marketing's breakroom rice-cake thief Monday. "Whoever's doing this really needs to learn about something called a supermarket," said Fahey, who has lost one strawberry and three caramel-apple rice cakes to the thief this month. "Rice cakes aren't free, you know." Fahey said she plans to take harsher security measures, including a Post-It note on the bag reading, "These are my rice cakes... Please get your own!!!"

National Filmstrip Board Calls For Quiet

WASHINGTON, DC—Insisting that "this is important, people," the National Filmstrip Board called for quiet Monday, urging U.S. citizens to observe proper decorum and be respectful during the showing of its latest filmstrip, Nation Of Good Listeners. "Come on, come on, come on," National Filmstrip Board executive director Madeline Herricks said. "Clear your desks and let's get settled, Americans." Herricks added that if citizens fail to keep their lips zipped, she may be forced to turn off the filmstrip and order all Americans to put their heads down on their desks. "You know, we don't have to have a filmstrip at all," Herricks told the populace. "This is supposed to be a nice change of pace for you. We could just have another census if you'd prefer."

The Social Security Time Bomb

Experts continue to urge Congress to cut the growth of Social Security, warning that the nation faces unsustainable deficits if action isn't taken. What do you think?

'Midwest' Discovered Between East And West Coasts

NEW YORK—A U.S. Geological Survey expeditionary force announced Tuesday that it has discovered a previously unknown and unexplored land mass between the New York and California coasts known as the "Midwest."
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Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam

AKRON, OH—Area resident Helen Crandall, 44, was arrested by Akron police Sunday, charged with conducting an elaborate "sex for security" scam in which she allegedly defrauded husband Russell Crandall out of nearly $230,000 in cash, food, clothing and housing over the past 19 years using periodic offers of sexual intercourse.

A 1993 photo of alleged "sex for security" scam artist Helen Crandall. Police suspect the groceries she is holding were paid for by her victim, husband David Crandall (right).

"It's the biggest scam of its kind I've ever seen," Akron police chief Thomas Agee said. "We're talking coats, dishwashers, jewelry, sewing machines, bathroom cleansers—you name it."

According to Agee, undercover agents spotted Crandall's husband handing her $50 in cash at approximately 4 p.m., just 30 minutes after the two had sex. Crandall then drove off in her car, returning home two hours later with five bags of groceries.

"That's when we made the arrest," Agee said. "After tracking her for years, we finally had proof that she was buying all those goods with dirty money."

During the arrest, Akron police officials entered the Crandall household and seized more than 150 items Mrs. Crandall had received from her husband over the last 19 years, including a four-speed adjustable food processor, 12 pairs of earrings, a matching sofa and loveseat, a box of two-ply kitchen garbage bags, and a portable radio.

In exchange for these items, Agee said, Crandall's husband received sex an estimated 950 times—most frequently in the master bedroom, but also in the downstairs den three times, and once on the floor of the sewing room.

In addition to physical evidence, Akron police have collected considerable eyewitness testimony. More than 250 Akron residents have come forward to report seeing Helen and Russell Crandall together, and several said they witnessed Mr. Crandall flagrantly purchasing items for his wife.

"Sure, they'd come in here," said Ray Greene of Greene's House and Home. "I think the last time they got one of those box fans with the three settings."

Perhaps the most damaging testimony has come from Mr. Crandall himself, who on Tuesday told police that while the couple was dating in 1977, Mrs. Crandall—then known as Helen Steuben—demanded that he buy her a ring worth over $1,000 before he could have sex with her. The first sexual liaison took place some six months later at Bob's Honeymooner Hotel during an all-expenses-paid trip to Niagara Falls.

It was also in 1977, Mr. Crandall said, that his wife quit her job at Shippee Shoes in downtown Akron.

"Clearly," Summit County prosecutor Andrew Dravecky said, "after quitting her job, the accused began receiving money under the table from some other source: How else could she have afforded to not work? It's now pretty apparent that at that point she began supporting herself by providing a certain service to Mr. Crandall."

Crandall's mother, Bernice Steuben, a resident of the Valley View Senior Home in Yuma, AZ, is being sought for questioning in connection to the case: Police suspect that Steuben may have introduced her daughter to the sex-for-security scam after having used it herself from 1932 to 1971.

But for all the evidence collected against Crandall, Dravecky said the case will likely be difficult to prosecute. "Helen was very careful to cover her tracks," he said. "She even got her husband to put her name on the bank accounts and credit cards."

The Crandall case is not an isolated incident, said criminologist John Ohlmeyer, who said there are "literally millions" of such cases across the U.S. each year that never come to court.

"This kind of thing isn't as uncommon as we'd all like to think," Ohlmeyer said. "A woman finds herself in a situation where she isn't employable. Or maybe she has interests like child-rearing, cooking and home-maintenance that keep her from getting a job. So what does she do? She cooks up a scheme to entrap a man using her body as the bait. It's frightening, but it happens every day in this country."

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