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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Winston Lum, Accused Criminal Mastermind and Charming Envelope Artist

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 11:11 AM

click to enlarge Winston Lum, brooding artist
  • Winston Lum, brooding artist
Jail can be a lonely place. So we weren't surprised that Winston Lum would express gratitude for the hours and days we spent interviewing him while he sat incarcerated at the Hall of Justice for the Aug. 4 feature "Is Winston Lum a Criminal Mastermind or a Patsy?"

A month past deadline, we now learn that headline could have been extended with, "or Is He a Whimsical Illustrator Whose Chosen Medium Is Envelopes?"

Lum awaits trial on charges that he masterminded a scheme to take out $2.2 million in fraudulent home equity loans on Rincon Hill condos he only pretended to own.

Our story suggested he was actually a mere victim of apparent criminal kingpin Kaushal Niroula, who is standing trial on unrelated murder and fraud charges in Palm Springs. Though Lum's no mastermind, he's an epistolary genius of sorts. We could make neither head nor tail of the 10-page, handwritten Chinese Kanji and English letter he sent. But we were delighted with the pen-and-ink depiction on the envelope of a fish swimming through some aquatic plants.

click to enlarge Is that a confish sneaking up on that patsycoral? - WINSTON LUM
  • Winston Lum
  • Is that a confish sneaking up on that patsycoral?

click to enlarge Detail - WINSTON LUM
  • Winston Lum
  • Detail

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Matt Smith

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