Exclusive: Fake Checks, Sexual Come-Ons and Now Jail -- The Hipster Grifter Speaks Out

On June 6, 2008, Calvin Slaaen went to a Western Union counter to pick up an $8,300.72 money order from Ferrell, according to court documents. The Western Union office had received a fax purportedly from another Western Union official stating that such a money order will be sent and should be picked up by Karen or Calvin Slaaen. A fraud investigator for Western Union told police that the letter was fake.

Ferrell told ABC that the whole set-up was done "just to stall my parents."

Instead, the police got involved. Eventually other victims in Utah would come forward -- $1,600 here, $850 there -- because of the publicity of her case.

Ferrell was briefly in jail, before being bailed out by a friend. Then she skipped a court date and decided to move to New York.

"I had a bunch of friends who had moved there and whenever I talked to them, they said: 'You will love it here. This is the city for you,'" Ferrell said.

She had never been to New York before, but she packed a suitcase full of clothes, a suitcase of books and a box of knick knacks and headed east, skipping out on her $60,000 bail. Salt Lake City Police issued a warrant for her arrest.

Welcome to Brooklyn

Ferrell fit right in with Brooklyn's hipster community. She had the tattoos prove it: for instance, a giant phoenix spreads across her chest.

Her first tattoo -- inked at 17 -- is on her right wrist and says: "Live life to the fullest until you die." It's based on Greek mythology's three muses. Ferrell's mom signed for the tattoo and made her promise "that I would never get any more."

The next year, she moved out on her own and got the phoenix. It includes the eyes of her mom, little, brother Kyle and her grandfather. It also includes oleanders, which she said are "beautiful flowers but are poisonous."

Her third and final tattoo, on her back, which carried the message "I Love Beards" in words and images.

"I like guys who dress really, really nicely but have beards," Ferrell said. "Living in New York was great because you have these Wall Street investment bankers that had these nice-fitted suits and then beards. It was amazing."

Ferrell's past finally caught up with her when she started work as assistant to Erik Lavoie, publisher of Vice Magazine. Within her first week, Lavoie put her name into Google and came up with a wanted poster from the Salt Lake Police Department.

Ferrell said he was looking to add her as a Facebook friend. Lavoie did not respond to a request for an interview.

The Salt Lake City police have been posting most-wanted posters and You Tube videos for about a year, which has led to about 100 arrests, according to Sgt. Fred Ross.

"We're trying to stay on the cutting edge," Ross said.

Vice decided to do a story, "We Hired a Grifter," telling people to Google applicants.

The story said that in her week at Vice, Ferrell didn't cause much damage, except for some e-mails to the folks who run guest lists at music venues.

"We think that's because it happened to coincide with the week she came down with a light case of cancer. (It cleared up.)," the story said.

Shortly after that, the New York Observer did a longer story detailing Ferrell's criminal and sexual exploits. The newspaper called her The Hipster Grifter. The name stuck.

Soon stories started appearing on the Web about Ferrell. New York media blog Gawker picked up the story and ran with it.

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