SINCE MY INCARCERATION in November 2006, I’ve met countless carders, scammers and even a couple counterfeiters. For the most part, they all have the stereotypical look of a computer geek. They’re either too fat or too skinny. Pale. Socially awkward. So when I met John J. Boseak at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex and he introduced himself as a credit card counterfeiter, I was shocked.
What struck me most about Boseak, other than the tattoos that covered most of his body, including his neck, was his tough guy persona. He had a serious, closed-lipped-scowl and gangster gait. Despite his small frame, Boseak had an intimidating presence. Between the ink and the attitude, I assumed he was some type of white-supremacist—Aryan Brotherhood or Neo-Nazi. I was certain he was a methamphetamine dealer, although, a serial bank robber was also a strong possibility.
Regardless, I liked his story and I agreed to help him write his memoir. We met—out of earshot of our fellow inmates—in a makeshift legal-locker-room inside Coleman’s B-4 Housing Unit. Over the course of writing Boseak’s outline, the truth slowly came out. His charade crumbled and it became obvious Boseak wasn’t the tough guy his image suggested.
Like a chameleon, he’d changed his skin to blend into his environment. The tattoos, the angry frown, and ridged tension in his shoulders, all adaptations developed during an adolescence spent between stints in tough juvenile facilities and surviving as a homeless teen on the streets of Miami. But that wasn’t Boseak’s true nature. In fact, he was just a scared kid. Non-confrontational, good natured, funny, and extremely likable. He was soft as cotton and helpless as a puppy.
During our interviews we went over every aspect of Boseak’s early life. Being abandoned by his mother. Living on the streets. Surviving by dumpster-diving for his meals and shoplifting for clothes. During one of our sessions, Boseak mentioned going to Detroit after graduation and I said, “Graduation, from high school?”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Why?”
In the middle of growing up homeless, dodging the cops, never quite knowing where his next meal would come from, or where he’d sleep on any given night, Boseak never stopped attending school. “That’s crazy,” I said. “I mean, you were homeless…”
“Yeah,” he shrugged, “but I still wanted my diploma.”
To me, that said more about his character than anything else. More than the ingenious scams and escapes. More than the millions he’d made selling counterfeit plastic to the Russian mob. More than duping the Secret Service. What impressed me the most about John Boseak was that, despite being homeless, he never even considered dropping out of high school.
I ORDERED POLICE, SHERIFF, U.S. Marshals and Secret Service reports, indictments and transcripts. Every aspect of his story that could be verified, was verified. In fact, while reviewing the numerous documents, I was able to corroborate his juvenile record through warrants listing Boseak as a missing homeless teen; the names of his cyber underworld contacts and a near arrest that Boseak had never even mentioned to me.
Over the last decade I’ve heard some astonishing stories and I’ve met some interesting people. Boseak, however, is by far one of the most cunning and ingenious characters I’ve ever come across; and he just so happened to be an absolute genius plastics counterfeiter with a story like no other.