Saturday, April 1, 2023

Man Indicted for Selling “Ground” to EE Freshmen

Georgia State police today announced the arrest of a suspect with a long record of arrests for fraud, scams and cons.  The suspect's name and other details have not yet been released.  The indictment was for selling entry-level electrical-engineering students at the Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) small parcels of real estate, leveraging the fact that they had been told their circuits and systems needed as much “ground” as possible.

The unidentified man says he got the idea from listening to his niece, a first-year student in an electronics program. She told him that the instructor and textbooks repeatedly cited the need for more and better “ground” to make circuits work, or for system safety—you could never have enough of this so-called “ground.”

After listening to her, the alleged con artist developed a long list specific ground types to sell, such as signal ground, ac-line ground, power ground, RF ground, and shield ground. It did seem like you just never have enough of this thing called ground.

In the world of scams and cons that I've heard of, this one sounds like it will be hard to get a conviction on, because the only dishonest thing about this appears to be selling misinformation; selling pieces of land to students as a way to get more and better ground

The indicted man would find odd-shaped pieces of real available land (similar to fabric remnants) and work with the owners to buy those few square feet here and there. He would then resell these small pieces at a much higher price complete with a legitimate deed to the students, saying “you’ll be needing more ground for your projects to succeed, and as you know, they’re not making more land.”

Note that the charges don’t claim he sold land that he did not own or misrepresented the land itself. Instead, the charges are focused on selling land under false representation of the application of the land. Ironically, it’s not entirely clear if the charges against him (no pun intended) will actually “stick,” since the transactions themselves were completely legal and properly done.

Selling misinformation, of course, is something the government does all day, every day - with exceptions for weekends and every holiday known to man.  I suppose it's the old story that the reason men like this get arrested is that the government doesn't want the competition.  

An ironic twist to this story will be most familiar to hams, hobbyists, and engineers who specialize in broadcast; especially in the AM Broadcast Band (AM BCB) or lower frequencies.

Of course, for higher-power transmitter towers and antennas such as those used by commercial broadcasters, especially in the lower-frequency “medium wave” band (several megahertz and lower frequencies/long wavelengths), the land on which the antenna sits actually is critical. In most cases, these antennas need acres of relatively conductive ground to form a ground plane under the antenna, as well as install grounding rods for the lightning rods protecting the antennas. But that’s a different “ground” story and a few square feet won’t make a difference.




  1. It's too bad that these students didn't have any resistance to such an obvious scam.

    (Sorry, couldn't help myself)

  2. His crime was competing with the government....

  3. Any college level student who fell for this deserves the embarrasing lesson.

    Then again, what an indictment of a failed educational system!

    1. Wonder how many of them were affirmative action intakes?

  4. With all the craziness in our 'current" regime it's kind of sad I'm actually laughing at a properly grounded con job.

  5. Indicted for his intent rather than his actions? Say what???

  6. My brother sold elevator passes to freshmen.

  7. I'm all too familiar with ground radials, etc for medium wave (AM) tower systems. It's a real pain when the buried ones get damaged or fail from age and corrosion. Does weird things to the directional patterns also.

    Anyone who would fall for this scam needs to find a different career to pursue.

  8. Had he only have been involved in a conspiracy to do this, he would have simply been plotting to sell ground.

  9. The stupid level is subterranean.