Frank Smith and Joe Friday work the Bunko Fugitive detail. A secretary comes to the police station to report that her boss skipped town. The naive woman, Clara Gibbons, shares the details that ad up to document that something is wrong about the way her boss does business. She has only been with him for just 7 months, and was offered vacation time and an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. admits to not being the best stenographer or typist, not the best looking. Her mama thinks the man just wants a secretary who isn’t too bright. It isn’t enough to pin a crime on, but the situation has Joe Friday’s interest.
Clara tells how the office was cleared out, and more details about the business that sold uranium stock. Even the bank accounts were cleared out, and when Frank checks with City Hall he learns that no such business was ever registered.
It’s enough to get the cops out to the building to see the vacant office, an impressive office but empty none the less. The building owner gives Joe a bit of a hard time, but isn’t too concerned since his rent was paid in advance.
Since the rent was paid, and the secretary was paid up, who is this con man cheating? Joe checks with suppliers to find that no stock was ever purchased by the bogus broker. Clients are soon turned up to fill in details how they bought stock in highest of confidence. When the victims learn of the scam they are outraged, speechless, embarrassed,but the picture of how the con man gained his foot hold emerges. Bogus charitable donations of stock are made, and a word of mouth campaign spreads word about the aledged trustworthy company with the good investment.
Joe puts the word out to other cities of how the con man works, and reports come back that he has been active in several places. Weeks pass and the secretary again approaches word that the con man is back in town, she says her mama saw him, and mama is always right. Before Joe and Frank can head out though, a phone call comes in. It’s the cops in Utah, and they say the bogus businessman was just arrested there. It looks like mama isn’t always right after all.