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A DOG’S TAIL
By K. Charles Spaniel
I am a dog; to be more specific, I am a pedigreed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and an award winner at the Westminster finals. That’s no small achievement; nor does it come with a small price tag. My owners are Andrea and Colin Chisholm, residing primarily these past many years in Minnesota and in Florida.
So why, you ask, does a four-legged pooch get a byline in a magazine as prestigious as The John Cooke Fraud Report? The answer is that (1) the rather elusive John Cooke is a fancier of dogs; and (2) I have a particularly interesting story to tell about my owners.
Just as many others do, I call them “Lord and Lady Chisholm.” Colin A.J. Chisholm III is 62 years old and likes to tell people that he is a Scottish aristocrat, not to be confused with a Scottish aristocat. When he bought his $1.2 million yacht, named “Wishing Star,” from a seller in Fort Lauderdale, Lord, who loved to put on the dog, claimed to be a wealthy executive in the advertising industry who controlled about $30 million in network television advertising on CNBC. That’s a whole lot of Kibbles ‘n Bits.
Lady, a/k/a Andrea Lynne Chisholm, is 54, and she prefers to live the life of the rich and famous, not to be confused with the bitch and famous. That includes things like sailing on the Wishing Star, getting massages at The Marsh Wellness Center and Spa in Minnetonka and residing in a $1.6 million dollar home rented for $2,750 a month. Lord and Lady never wrote the landlord a check; they always paid in cool, green cash.
Even if Lord has been described as a “con man of the first order” and “a flimflam man,” and a character worthy of starring in a movie like “The Sting,” he — and, of course, Lady — is nothing if not creative. Long before they got me, they struggled financially for a decade; so they sat up and begged the State for help. It worked and they were allegedly living welfare check to welfare check to pay for food, medical bills and job training.
In fact, Lord, Lady and Little Chisholm had to live with Lady’s mother in south Minneapolis because they were as poor as poor could be. Surely, if I were dependent upon them in those days, I would have been eating garbage can scraps, drinking out of a toilet bowl, and being groomed with Dollar Store shampoo and a garage sale grade hair dryer. Hardly befitting a Westminster champ.
Every year Lord and Lady were required to fill out public assistance forms; however, they always seemed to roll over and play dead when answering the questions, totally neglecting to mention the Wishing Star, the fancy northern house, or their ownership of a dog as valuable as me. They also forgot to divulge their numerous bank accounts. Even if my formal education was limited to obedience school, I can still count up the $3 million they stashed that simply slipped their aristocratic minds.
When Little Chisholm was born, the state covered the medical bills. After all, poor was poor and that is what “the system” is designed to handle. Eventually Medica insurance fraud investigators learned through good old-fashioned bloodhound work that Lord, Lady and Little were living significantly higher on the hogdog than their paperwork indicated, and the investigators started digging. (Why is it that when dogs start digging, we get swatted with a rolled up newspaper … but when investigators go digging, they get patted on the back and hear a whole lot of “good boys” …?)
When the Wishing Star was repossessed in 2005, Lord engaged in a long legal battle to get the yacht back. During those proceedings, Lord told the judge that he lived in Greenwich, CT. Long after, investigators who were checking the facts discovered that the address Lord gave actually belonged to a UPS store. When the judge ruled on the lawsuit, he said that he considered Lord’s testimony to be “at best evasive and at worst perjurious.” Talk about barking up the wrong tree!
In 2007, just two days before Little was born, my people told Florida public assistance workers that they were indigent. The nice people in Florida gave them cash, food support and medical assistance — and the nice folks in Minnesota covered the $22,000 pregnancy bill.The eventual investigation into the $60,000 paid by Minnesota’s Medica revealed that at least part of the money had been spent on massages and other feel-good therapies. Pampering and petting stuff.
All the while, the papers Lord and Lady filed reflected no income or employment, and the welfare checks just kept coming. Even when their payments were cut off one time, they managed to get themselves reestablished as poor and needing assistance. Crooked as a dog’s hind leg, all along the way they kept operating businesses or attempting to start new ones. Lord, while trying to woo investors into funding a satellite-delivered digital television network based in Miami, claimed to have $97 million in assets, although he specifically forgot to mention the ongoing welfare check income.
By 2009, with a two-year-old running around, Lord and Lady moved in with Lady’s grandma. Using a power of attorney that allowed Lady to handle Grandma’s accounts, they laundered thousands of dollars by funneling them through Grandma’s bank. Eventually, when they could not come up with any pawsible explanation of where they were fetching all the bill-paying money from, they were shut down.
As soon as the arrest warrant was issued, they were out the door like a pup without a leash, vanishing to somewhere that authorities figure is “warm.” And Grandma? She won’t even lift a leg to answer the phone.
Lord and Lady stand accused of collecting on $167,420 in fraudulent medical and food-stamp claims from 2005 to 2012 (which was a whole lot of scratch, so they were forced to flea,) When eventually collared, Ma and Pa Chisholm face a sentence of anything from probation … to 140 dog years in a cage and a $100,000 fine. Authorities may surely hound the judge for the penalty to be more along the lines of the latter. Or litter.
Me? I’ll be fine. In the canine world, with my Westminster credentials, I AM an aristocrat. I’m also now a published journalist in the John Cooke Dog Report, and thus, officially paper-trained…Even W. Bruce Cameron would be impressed!