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One thing for sure i.e. If you are clicking your own adds then Google with detect it for sure. There is really no way to trick Google. I still believe in "Don't be evil" moto. What I know is that the money is credited back to advertiser,s account i.e. Google does not profits from such actions. If it was really evil then the better alternative will be to continue such accounts and make more money. (Officially, Google makes money only from valid clicks and impressions. Therefore there is no point in banning such accounts if Google had evil intentions)

The recent flood of emails might be due to:
* You getting popular and thus more people asking for help.
* The panda and penguin updates must also be taken into consideration. You mentioned year 2012 and this matches with the release of those updates.

As per my personal opinion I am discarding the existence of any such scam.