The story is common and sad — a telephone scammer targets the savings of a 90-year-old man.
But in this case, the target was the only person who has led both the CIA and the FBI, whose wife is from Macomb and who helped send the scammer to prison.
"When the guy started getting rough with me, I got the FBI involved," Lynda Webster told Nick in the Morning. "I told him, 'Do you know what you're messing with? My husband may be old, but he's a former FBI director.'"
Her husband is William Webster, who oversaw the FBI from 1978 to 1987 and the CIA from 1987 to 1991. At 94, the former federal judge is chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, a cap to a life of public service that began almost 60 years ago.
None of that prevented the Websters from being harassed and threatened by Keniel Aeon Thomas, a Jamaican who last week was sentenced to six years in prison.
When the scamming began four years ago, Thomas called from Jamaica and told William Webster he had won $15.5 million and a luxury car. But William Webster needed to wire $50,000 to cover taxes, according to a CNN story.
Thomas became increasingly belligerent after William Webster didn't produce the money. In a subsequent phone call, Thomas told Lynda Webster he had been watching the couple's house in the Washington, D.C., area and threatened to kill the two.
By that point, Lynda Webster — known as Lynda Clugston when she was a youth in Macomb — had remembered the FBI's telephone numbers.
"We were terrified, but we weren't hurt financially or physically," said Lynda Webster, who considers her family fortunate. "Most people don't have the ability to get some attention."
Lynda Webster first attracted the attention of her husband in 1984, when they met at a symphony function in the D.C. area. She was working in the hotel business there.
Hospitality always has been a part of Lynda Webster's life. Her family founded what now is known as Clugston-Tibbitts Funeral Home, which has locations in Macomb and Blandinsville.
"My father was very proud to serve people, serving people at their time of greatest need," Lynda Webster said. "It probably carried over to me."
Currently, she leads a global event-management group.
William Webster's first wife had died by the time he met Lynda, who attended the old Western Illinois University Laboratory School and graduated in 1974 from Macomb High School.
"I had no idea who he was," she said. "He just said, 'My name's Bill.'
"It wasn't until I was in the elevator with my friend and she's going, 'Do you know who you spent half the night talking to?' I said, 'A guy from Missouri named Bill.'"
The Websters married in 1990, about the time William Webster's CIA leadership was ending. He has been a D.C. attorney since then.
Lynda Webster hopes what happened to her and her husband will alert other senior citizens about the dangers of telephone scams.
"Bill is still very much a trusting man, even though he's seen a lot of bad guys," she said. "It's profoundly sad we can't be the trusting Midwesterners we are. Like President Reagan said, 'Trust but verify.'"
Lynda Webster's role in the apprehension and conviction of Thomas might have evoked memories of how she moved to D.C. in the first place.
After she finished college, the CIA recruited her to be a spy, she said, but she flunked a health exam.
"Ten years later, I married the director of the FBI," Lynda Webster said with a chuckle. "So it worked out OK."