"I just wanted to be seduced by a swarthy British spy!"
Hendy-Freegard would then tell his victims that, fortunately, he could make the danger go away if they just gave him a few thousand dollars to pay off the terrorists. These weren't just average ditzy people he was messing with, either: His victims included company executives, child psychologists and lawyers. The aforementioned male victim was sent on a bizarre quest that involved buying a copy of The Gay Times, reading it openly in the subway and then handing a can opener to a specific (nonexistent) person in a bar. The friend started suspecting that something might be wrong when he reported back to Hendy-Freegard and he just laughed his ass off.
Hendy-Freegard was caught when he told his American fiancee to ask her parents for $50,000 to pay for "spy school" -- they thought that was slightly weird and got him arrested. The thing is, a con man of his level could have made a nice enough living just squeezing women out of their money without the ridiculous secret agent story. Or, you know, sticking to selling used cars.
"No, no, the engine isn't leaking. It's deterring pursuit."
Man Tries to Blackmail Nestle Using Carrier Pigeons
Alexandru Nemeth from Germany wanted a lot of money, and he decided that the corporate giant Nestle should be the one to give it to him. Nemeth successfully poisoned several Nestle products in over 20 cities across the country over a period of two years, but that was only phase one of his master plan ...
The Needlessly Elaborate Plan:
... with phase two being "pigeons." As in, sending carrier pigeons to deliver messages to Nestle demanding millions of dollars in diamonds, then using the same birds to bring the diamonds back to him. Because somehow, this was safer than just sending them an email.
Or just a good old-fashioned brick through the window.
First, Nemeth got hold of a bunch of pigeons, which his neighbors probably assumed he was just using for target practice. He then taught them to drop things off and come back to where he was staying -- training pigeons, in case you've never tried it yourself, isn't the easiest thing in world, and he had to do it all in secret while simultaneously traveling from city to city, leaving cyanide-laced drinks in playgrounds and things like that.
Nemeth then had his pigeon army deliver messages to Nestle leaving specific instructions for how he was to receive his reward for stopping the poisonous chaos -- in the form of small pouches full of diamonds, which would be attached to his birds. The pigeons would then take off and deliver the diamonds back to him. Knowing that, it wasn't hard for the authorities to figure out how to catch Nemeth using those same pigeons: They placed a homing beacon on the birds and just followed them in a helicopter about 200 miles to where the guy was hiding.
And yet not a single person in the entire Harry Potter series ever thought to do the same thing.
As far as criminal plots go, Nemeth was actually doing pretty well until he got to the "blackmail through pigeons" part. There was really no logical reason for him to communicate with Nestle through birds that are trained to lead back to him, other than a Batman-villain-level obsession with using feathered rats in all his crimes. We wouldn't be surprised if he was wearing a pigeon costume himself when they caught him.
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For fictional villains who are guilty of this, check out The 6 Most Pointless Supervillain Schemes Ever Hatched and The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots.