If you've spent time on Craigslist, you know that people will do anything short of selling their kidneys to Russian mobsters to make a buck. But while some folks dither around in the shallow end of the lunatic pool, a handful of money grubbers dive head first into the murky waters of Insane Money Making Schemes Bay. These individuals show precisely the sort of can-do pluck and outside-the-box thinking that you'd see in movies that end with a dance off to save the orphanage, if those movies starred sociopaths.
#6. Selling Chicken Pox to Parents
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Getting chicken pox sucks when you're a kid, but contracting it as an adult can be downright dangerous. For this reason, or possibly because they hate their children, some parents opt to intentionally expose their kids to the virus. Seizing the chance to knowingly infect their offspring with a dangerous pathogen and forever ruin the bond of parental trust, soccer moms shuttle their kids to "pox parties." These shindigs are thrown by parents of sick children in the hope that their unwitting biological warfare agent will share germs, thus readying them for an adult life of spreading strange STDs at orgies.
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There's no funner time to have 30 people over than when you're running a 104-degree fever.
Doctors advise against intentionally sharing diseases, because duh, but some parents remain determined to make their children suffer. Tennessee native Wendy Werkit, sensing an opportunity to make some scratch off her sick kid, decided to reach out to parents who couldn't make it to pox parties. Werkit sold infected cotton swabs and lollipops for the bargain price of 50 bucks a germ-ridden pop, because what harm could possibly come from trying to spread a disease far and wide?
God only knows how she infected them.
Werkit launched her attempt to become the modern Typhoid Mary by posting an ad on the Facebook group Find a Pox Party in Your Area peddling a "fresh batch of pox in Nashville shipping of suckers, spit, and Q-Tips available tomorrow 50 dollars via PayPal." Before you rush to have a stranger mail you spit, you should know that her operation was quickly shut down. It turns out it's illegal to mail viruses, as anyone who follows the news, stops to think for 10 seconds, or doesn't have a raccoon nest where their brain should be knows.
"Don't look at me, pal; I thought it was dumb, too."
She told the local news that the idea came when she realized that parents were frustrated because "they can't get [chicken pox] the normal way anymore." No shit -- they're called vaccines, Wendy. It's the same reason you can no longer get rich quick selling polio braces and plague carts.
#5. Pretending to Have Breast Cancer to Get Free Implants
Pop culture has taught us that women with small breasts are living an empty half-life, forever denied the joy of being ogled in public and made the target of sex-starved teenagers' wacky schemes. Fearing she was doomed to this joyless existence, Jami Lynn Toler of Phoenix, Arizona, decided that she really needed breast implants and that she'd really like to not pay for them. Because really, shouldn't getting bigger boobs be considered a public works project?
All of a sudden, roads and electrical grids don't seem like the best use of tax dollars.
Now, unless you're content with having your breasts stuffed full of shredded newspaper and dog hair in a Tijuana back alley, a new cup size doesn't come cheap. The 27-year-old realized that she'd need some serious cash, so she concocted what could generously be called a plan. Telling friends, family, and her boss that she had breast cancer and needed reconstructive surgery, Toler organized fundraisers and a donation site, raking in eight grand to pay for her "mastectomy" and implants.
It takes a lot to make your "pay for boobs" site dishonest by Internet standards.
Sure, she probably felt a little guilty that the money didn't go to people who actually have cancer, but would those patients even want to live in a world where Jamie Lynn's breasts weren't bigger?
Sadly, things went south when Toler declined a doctor's offer of a free mastectomy, and also when she discovered that it's actually kind of tricky to fake having cancer. Paying the plastic surgeon in cash didn't help, and given what we know of her, she probably handed it over in a sack with a dollar sign on it. Toler was arrested, charged with fraud and theft, and sentenced to a year in jail followed by three years on probation, during which she presumably won't be allowed to use her new breasts.
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"In my defense, Your Honor, check out these ta-tas."
If only she had known that it's much easier to fund your implants by flat-out asking creepy guys on the Internet to give you money.
#4. Going to Jail for Health Care
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North Carolina resident James Verone had no money, no job, and some serious medical problems, including "a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks, and a problem with his left foot." When your diagnosis is so vague that you could be growing anything from a wart to the stomach monster from Total Recall, you need medical care fast. Verone decided that the best place to get it would be in jail.
They skipped that part in The Shawshank Redemption.
In 2011, the 59-year-old walked into a bank and handed the teller a note demanding the sum of $1. After establishing that this was a robbery and not a request to borrow money so he could grab a Kit-Kat from the vending machine, the teller called the police. Verone waited patiently for them to arrive, knowing that any villain worth his salt these days gets caught on purpose as part of his evil scheme.
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Telling the cops they've fallen into your scheme, however, seems like an invitation to police brutality.
In this case, going to jail was the lynchpin of Verone's retirement plan -- he needed a way to fix his physical woes and keep a roof over his head for three years before he could start collecting Social Security. Describing himself as a "logical-type person" in the worst self-assessment this side of online dating profiles, Verone even consulted a real estate agent as part of his pre-theft preparations. His dream was to put his Social Security money toward a condo on Myrtle Beach -- all that was standing between him and his little slice of paradise was three years in the clink.
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Then it's time to sit back, enjoy the fruits of your labor, and have flashback panics whenever you drop a bar of soap.
Unfortunately, a problem emerged when Verone was given the lesser charge of larceny instead of bank robbery, because it doesn't count as a bank job if you could have gotten more money from hitting the local lemonade stand. Verone responded by trying to bribe the judge with five bucks and a Quiznos coupon, hopefully.