trekandshoot_dreamstime_Prostockstudio_174550113
Trekandshoot Dreamstime Prostockstudio 174550113
Trekandshoot Dreamstime Prostockstudio 174550113
Trekandshoot Dreamstime Prostockstudio 174550113
Trekandshoot Dreamstime Prostockstudio 174550113
Trekandshoot Dreamstime Prostockstudio 174550113

Man Indicted for Selling “Ground” to Naïve EE Students

March 31, 2023
A scammer has been indicted for selling meaningless physical land to neophyte electronics students.

This article is part of the April 1st series in the Humor section of our Series Library.

You can also download the PDF eBook of this series.

A man with a long record of scams and cons has been indicted for selling entry-level electrical-engineering students small parcels of real land, 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.

Unlike some scams where the buyer gets meaningless, fake deeds to non-existent or unbuildable land, this scam worked differently. 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.

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.

Read more articles like this in our April 1st series in the Humor section of our Series Library.

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