Something occurred to me about Dashcon while I was considering the glories of coffee. I’m pretty groggy and not a lawsmith, so I could be wrong, but if the Dashcon folks did, in fact, forge that Marriott letter to support some kind of con, a con perpetuated over the internet (and thus by wire), there’s an argument to be made the organisers of Dashcon have committed wire fraud, which is a fantastically illegal federal crime.
It’s made no better by the fact they’re potentially operating without any legal bearing in Illinois. Generally, any time you cross state lines to commit a crime, especially fraud, the severity of the crime ramps way the hell up. Generally, fraud is a lot easier to prove than wire fraud (as the “wire” bit can get tricky sometimes). Proving an instance of fraud can really just come down to “selling a good or service when you have no good reason to believe you can actually provide that good or service”.
Mind you, that whole “crossing state lines” thing is incredibly true for all crimes, but in the case of fraud, it is absolutely doubly true. Interstate fraud is an incredibly serious criminal offence. There’s also the fact Dashcon’s organisers took money from minors. In terms of fraud, there’s no specific relevant statute, but there are a million and one laws regarding committing crimes against children and prosecutors can, will, and often enjoy nailing people to the wall for it.
Honestly, I have a hard time seeing how there’s not something incredibly criminal about the whole Dashcon thing.
I’m going to be a little surprised if some criminal charges don’t come out of this. And, you know, because I’m a helpy helper, here’s a link to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.