Earlier this year, a good friend recommended me to his boss to be hired as a freelance PHP developer.
I jumped at the chance. The pay was obscenely good, I could telecomute, and they even shipped me a company laptop.
I worked my butt off for three months, doing some of the best coding I had ever done. The boss was a great guy, it was cool working with my friend, and my bank account (and fiance!) was happy.
Suddenly, my friend called me to tell me to hold off on working, as something was going down. I halted work, and waited.
A week passed. My friend talked to me daily, telling me he could not get a hold of the boss for some reason. We were both a little worried, as paychecks were due and there was nothing from the boss.
Finally, after two weeks, the boss contacted us. We told him that we expected to get paid, and he said the company was in some financial trouble, asked us to be patient, and gave us the laptops as a down payment for the paychecks. We told him that was all well and good, but we would not continue work until we got paid.
A week later, my friend calls me to tell me the boss was now impatient at a mental hospital. He had been embezzling from the company, and most of what he had told us was completely bogus. We weren't even on the actual company payroll. He had tried to kill himself when everything hit the wall. So, he was resting comfortably in the loony bin while my friend and I were out almost a month's pay with no hope of ever getting it back.