Sometimes you start to read a story and just can’t put it down—every turn just adds a new level of fuckery that has you wanting more. That’s exactly what this new story from New York Magazine about scam artist extraordinary William Mize IV is like: an absolute nail biter.
Mize used his money and gregarious nature to rope in members of his family. They’d agree to be injured by Mize personally and then be involved in some sort of accident in which to claim insurance payouts. His favorite scams always involved some sort of motor vehicle. Here’s how it went down:
Mize hurt you one at a time, pulling tools from a briefcase, cold and businesslike. He’d gash your brow with a razor or box cutter. Scuff up the wound with sandpaper, gripe if you didn’t bleed enough. For concussions or a busted knee, he’d smack you with a liquor bottle, a brick, a frying pan. You’d chug a Red Bull to spike your blood pressure. Pop aspirin so your blood would stream faster. Spill a bottle of your urine on your pants like you’d blacked out.
Inside the “victim” car, women could clamp on a neck brace, a helmet. Men typically wouldn’t get any protection: too wimpy, in Mize’s view. He’d get into the “at fault” car, headlights glaring through the darkness down the road. Your dread would be coursing now — fear about what’s to come, whether you’d pull this off.
Mize would hit the accelerator, speeding toward you at 40, even 50 mph — you packed in with the others, your girlfriend or cousin or best man, like bowling pins. Your wounds already throbbed, and you feared that the crash would go off-script to do further damage: steel warping unexpectedly, glass slicing something vital, a seatbelt rupturing a spleen.
After the impact, after the cars had spun and screeched to a stop, after you realized you were rattled but alive, Mize or another person would rush to the window to collect helmets and braces and pee bottles and burner phones. Mize would hop in a third car with a getaway driver and vanish. The at-fault actor would climb into the driver’s seat of the car Mize had left crumpled behind, ready to take the blame.
Then you’d sit in the eerie silence, listening to the drip of oil. You’d ask quietly if everyone was okay, tap your scrapes to conjure fresh blood as sirens started their tiny, far-off scream.
It only gets wilder from there. Mize styled himself as the don of a crime ring, because he essentially was. He’d use flashy Christmas parties and large financial gifts to shower kindness to struggling family and when he wanted something in return, he’d come up with another scheme. All told, the feds hit the ring with just charges steaming from 2013 cases, “…101 counts of money laundering and mail, wire, and health-care fraud.”
He used his family, promised to take the fall and went on the run as soon as consequences were doled out, leaving more than just twisted metal in his wake. Read more about this terrifying tale of a family in the grips of a con artist here.