Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


My Dance with David

A Guide Through a Fool’s Paradise
My Dance with David

     It was a crisp morning right at the beginning of my junior year. Little did I know, my entire life was about to change. On August 14th, 2022, I received an email from a man mysteriously named “Cheung”. His message simply read “I have a business proposal to share with you, Please reply to me for more details.” I’m not stupid. I knew that this was going to be a scam. However, after years of waiting for a scammer to reach out to me I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by. I told Cheung I wanted the details. I figured if I corresponded with him he would have less time to defraud the elderly. 

     A few days later I received another email from Cheung involving the details of his proposal, and his supposed work I.D. I learned Mr. Cheung was a banker from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He also told me that he’s married to Mrs. Kim Chakeria and had many children. He kept talking about how he was the account manager for a mysterious oil contractor who died in a plane crash over the Indian ocean on a Cambodia Airlines flight. David operated an investment account for him. Mr. Cheung told me that the Cambodian Banking Act said that the funds of a deceased person must be brought to the government after 10 years if no one claims the money. Sadly, his entire family died in the plane crash so there was no next of kin. He was reaching out to me desperately because he couldn’t find any other next of kin. Apparently I’m very similar to the deceased, although he did not inform me how. I have wondered for a long time how I was supposed to think that I, a white unmarried teenager in high school,  was similar to the deceased, a Cambodian oil baron. He offered me 50% of “fourteen million six hundred thousand united state dollar” (Cheung 2). He would have offered me the entire sum, but he was worried that I would be greedy. He advised me to invest his money and told me the list of sectors he was spending his half on: “Oil/Gas, construction, Real Estate, Stock Speculation and Mining, Transportation, Health Sector and Tobacco, Communication Services, Agriculture Forestry & Fishing” (3). He assured me that this wasn’t a scam either. He said, “I am not unaware of the various atrocities propagated over the internet but please this is not of such” (3). He also begged me not to destroy his career if I didn’t like his proposal. Little did he know, this pleading would later be ignored. He guaranteed me 100% success and told me to take control of my destiny. He also warned not to try to communicate with him through official channels because he would deny his relationship with me. I decided to accept his proposal. I told David that I was a man named Barbara Lee Morgenrosthal, that I had two wives and three daughters, that my phone number was 911, and my address was 50 N W Temple St in Salt Lake City, Utah. 50 N W Temple St is the address of the Salt Lake City Temple of the LDS Church. 

      I waited for ten days with bated breath for Mr. Cheung responded to me again. I was worried he had found me out as a fraud. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. It seemed David was concerned about his moral integrity. He sent multiple paragraphs trying to justify the fact that he wanted the money. I wanted to reach out to him and tell him that he didn’t have to lie to me, Barbara Morgenrosthal. He also assured me that he would protect me come hell or high water. Finally, I received my role. I had to: [1]. Act as the original beneficiary of the funds. [2]. Receive the funds into a business/private bank account. [3]. Invest/Manage the funds. He even asked me for investment advice in American companies. I decided that I hadn’t given Cheung any reason to not expose me for my collusion, so I told him, “I am a product tester for the company GOOP, I work very closely with a certain celebrity (I will not name names, but it is Gwenyth Paltrow). If my employer (Mrs. Paltrow) were to find out I would be ruined” (Swenson 4-5). I hoped his empathy would win over if we ever got in a fight. Mr. Cheung was very unclear about how my money was going to be transferred to me, so I asked if the deal could happen over Zelle, the Venmo equivalent of the Wells Fargo app. He never responded to this query. 

     His next email began with “Dear Barbara.” He needed a copy of my ID and for me to set up an offshore banking account to comply with “Cambodian Banking Law.” He sent me the agreement letter to sign. I had to fabricate a Driver’s License but I don’t think he was able to tell. 

      He told me the documents were received. After this, David stopped responding. I sent him an urgent email: 


   I am worried that we have lost touch. Why haven’t I heard from you

in so long? Have you been captured by the government? PLEASE!! David.

I need to hear from you soon. I need this money David. One of my wives

is thinking about divorcing me. PLEASE RESPOND ASAP (AS SOON AS



     I then received a very difficult email. David had found me out. He knew I had an ulterior motive. 

     The form was not filled correctly and the copy of identity card you sent to me appeared to be doctored, i’m concerned that you may have an ulterior motive

     I tried to convince him that my ID was the one from my wallet, but he wasn’t having it. I decided to change tactics to continue my relationship with David because I considered him a close friend at that point. You know what they say: keep your friends close, and if they start to drift away try to scare them into staying friends with you.

Dear Mr. Cheung,

    I suppose the jig is up. I will have to expose you for the fraud

that you are. You see, I am the American ambassador to Cambodia and

have been working with the Cambodian government this entire time to

expose you as a fraud. However, I am willing to negotiate. If you send

me the money as soon as possible via CashApp I will be willing to let

your indiscretions slide and will not alert prime minister Hun Sen.

However, if you do not send me the money I will have no choice but to

indict you on all counts to Mr. Sen. Mr. Cheung, I beg you to work

with me on this.

    Maybe this reveal will inform some of the strange actions I have

taken. I will admit, Barabara was a pseudonym. My real name is Daveed.

Maybe this will explain how you inexplicably discovered the I.D we

fabricated was fake, even though we used the most advanced technology

we had available to us.

     I will still be willing to give you any information needed as long as our transaction is moved on expediently.

     I await your response. I will advise you to continue our working

relationship or you will be incriminated.


Daveed Chang

American Embassy in Cambodia

     I thought maybe I could scare him into continuing to talk to me. My strategy didn’t work. He told me that I sounded delusional and that I was living in a “fool’s paradise.”

You sound delusional, keep living in fool’s paradise

— David Cheung


I question you, sir, what part of this sounds delusional. I may be

living in a fool’s paradise, but you will be living in a jail cell

soon enough. I will give you three days before I inform the Cambodian

government AND a contact at the NY Post that I have acquired. I have

included a draft news story that will go live if you don’t cooperate.


     My news article may have been hastily created, but I thought it would do the trick. Mr. “Cheung,” if that’s even his real name, wasn’t fooled. I really miss David. I hope one day he will find it within himself to forgive me. I would give anything to have him try to rob me of my Social Security Number again. 

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