Part 1 – Colleague
Part 2 – Friend
Part 4 – Sociopath – The final, frightening instalment
If you’re going to be a liar, you need to have a very good memory.
Myles had managed to live off his mythical lives for a month or so but he had either mismanaged his stories, miscalculated his genius or just forgotten that Mike and I were friends and would eventually talk.
We were in the middle of our own Usual Suspects and I would spend the next week making calls confirming the horrible truth.
Myles had not told us the name of his employer, of course. But he did tell me, gladly and obliviously, when I rang him.
“Caltron” he said. Yes, that sounds any large IT firm, with a bizarre interest in oil refineries.
Nothing showed up in the phone book. Actually, one place did, in an unrelated industry, but the owner who answered had never heard of Myles Lambert.
Snap. You are so going down.
I was fired up. Myles was demented – I had proof! – but then again, I was a dumbass if I could be screwed over by someone demented. So now it was as much about my pride as it was exposing a smooth criminal and getting back $6000 for the Celica, getting back Mike’s hundreds for computers, getting back a slick black Mercedes.
I called Toyota and tracked down the Celica’s last owner – a dealership in Penrith.
You want to steal a car? Do what Myles does. Buy it on the dealer’s finance, make one repayment, ignore the bills, then, if you are not just stupid but also cocky, sell the car to someone else.
I called the hire car place where we rented the Mercedes. They themselves were dodgy and had tried to deduct five grand from my credit card when they decided their Kompressor wasn’t ever coming back.
This scam, again with me as the helpless imbecile as its target, is as simple as it is extravagant.
Hire a desirable convertible sports car for just two weeks, get a buddy to sign off on it – should anything go wrong – then,
a) keep the car as long as you want. By the time I called, the car had been gone two full months.
b) Drive it as far as you want. The papers said I would pay a premium for every kilometre he drove beyond 500km. If I was him – a nutcase with no self-doubt or sense of right and wrong – I’d have driven to Melbourne or Adelaide by now.
Understandably, I was fuming. I was documenting my rage, but it was still rage and my new wife was none too pleased with my choice of ‘friends’.
Next stop, Myles’s parents’ house. I found two modest pensioners living in a humble home in the lower Blue Mountains, seemingly without their one surviving son. It was hard to keep up the anger.
And they’d had visits like mine before.
They said Myles came and went and they couldn’t control him. They said they could do nothing to help me as they held up a wad of papers three inches thick. I flicked through the bills, fines, court orders…. all of them ignored.
Apparently you can just live like this, no one ever arrests you or chases you apart from sending a debt collector to your postal address. Someone would eventually catch up with him, I thought.
But they were already thinking the same thing. “He wouldn’t survive in prison,” his mother said. I didn’t reply.
I don’t know how much they know but they claimed he gives out their address, never pays for anything, they get the bills and fend off debt collectors, sheriffs and people like me.
It was totally pathetic. He was using them even more than he was using me.
Later on, Toyota called me back to say the car I had bought was to be repossessed. I explained my (now rather fantastical) story to Toyota Finance, who sais when they got the car back it would go to auction and I could buy it again for the reserve price. Excellent. I could get a car I didn’t really want, that I had spent $2000 repairing, a car that stunk of a greasy sociopath’s cigarettes, if I would just pay for it twice. Done. (I eventually sold it again and made some of this money back.)
A trip to the police offered little hope that they would assist us. One jaded detective came down to the counter to give us a speech I would like to title “The world is full of bastards”. A range of other cops gave us excuses including, “you need more evidence”, “that’s probably a civil matter”, or my favourite, “we have murders going on, and you lost $10,000 to some prick?”.
I wasn’t jaded. I was pissed off and my friends were buying baseball bats to settle their scores with Myles their own way.
But where was the prick, with his dyed black curls, tight jeans and his blessed Merc? And what was his life of charades? Did he have a gambling addiction? Was he paying off loan-sharks? Was it all a game of wit and chance that might end but it might keep going and that thrill gave his life meaning? All these ideas crossed my frenzied mind as I regularly drove past his parents’ driveway, just checking to see if he was home. I didn’t know what I would do if I found him.
One day, a week or two later, the Merc was there. Oh, and I noticed the bumper was scratched AND dented. And Myles had put over 3000km on the speedo. I called a lawyer (ok, I called a friend studying to be a lawyer) and we arranged to show up bright and early.
Next day, at 7am, we stormed in. I was nearly shouting as his worried parents showed us to Myles asleep in his room (which included a large TV and new stereo – some things never change).
We pulled him out into the driveway and I laid it all out, everything I knew. His scam was up. Myles began smoking ferociously. Marlboro after Marlboro, both hands quivering.
We know you have no job. We know you don’t own the car you sold me. We know you dented the Merc that you should have returned by now and that I am paying for and there are people larger than me who know all this and, when they find you, they deliberately WON’T bring a lawyer.
Wide-eyed, Myles took it all in. He tried to deny it, at times, but he also had no idea of how to concoct an explanation. I demanded the keys. I wanted the TV. Anything. I demanded he come to the police station. He tried desperately to promise he would return the car and that he would repay me and everyone and that he was sorry.
But, oddly, in the same twenty minutes we spent there, he conceded he couldn’t repay me. Or anyone for that matter.
In fact, Myles’s story switched to admitting he was so far in debt he would never get out. He admitted he had banks chasing him for over $100,000. I said I didn’t believe him so he showed me his bank balance on his mobile phone. It said, and I am not joking, -$28,297.
He, a man who had multiple agencies chasing him, a weedy 22-year-old who must have the worst possible credit rating of anyone I will ever meet, had overdrawn his account $30,000 and he wasn’t even finished. He probably wasn’t lying when he said he had pulled this at more than one bank. Unlike Mike and I, banks don’t seem to talk.
We left a spineless, shaking mess of a man in his driveway as I drove the Mercedes, the car I had effectively rented for two months, for the first time. Sad thing is, I couldn’t enjoy the drive one bit as I was too aware each additional kilometre costed me more and I was petrified at what the total cost might be. (The bill totalled about $3500).
With annoying predictability, Myles disappeared again. I have not seen him since.
The police have Myles on a list of people “Wanted for Questioning” and say if he gets picked up by traffic cops this alert will show up. That is, if the cops care enough. And let’s be honest, Myles could sweet talk the badge off a commissioner.
In the years since this happened, I have had calls from other housemates of Myles who tracked me down to say he ripped them off too. I have changed into someone who trusts fewer people and whose suspicions are raised much more easily. I have learnt many lessons, from being content with what I have to also being more careful with money and valuing real friends.
Myles has been spotted in Katoomba, NSW, and in Sydney CBD, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he has moved states. Contact me if you see him or meet him. And don’t lend him any money.
At the time of writing, nothing shows up for “Myles Lambert” on a Google search, so I thought I would write this to confirm anyone’s suspicions or to warn others who might have met him. I have an old photo of Myles which I will post when I find it.
About two years ago, my brother-in-law was in a conversation with a group of strangers at a pub. One girl was saying how much she liked a guy called “Myles” but a bloke chimed in to say, “Yeah, nice guy but he owes me a fair bit of money.” “Really? Me too,” said another. They soon realised they had all lent Myles various amounts of cash, all for different, plausible reasons. It turned out Myles had promised to pay each one of them back, but to no avail. And strangely, no one had heard from him in weeks.