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Nigeria jails woman in $242 mln email fraud case
By Tume Ahemba Sat Jul 16
LAGOS (Reuters) - A Nigerian court has sentenced a woman to two and half years in jail after she pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the country's biggest email scam case, the anti-fraud agency said on Saturday.
Amaka Anajemba, one of three suspects in a $242 million fraud involving a Brazilian bank, would return $48.5 million to the bank, hand over $5 million to the government and pay a fine of 2 million naira ($15,000), the agency said.
Video: Nigerian scammers arrested in Lagos
Scams have become so successful in Nigeria that anti-sleaze campaigners say swindling is one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa.
Anajemba's sentencing by a Lagos High Court on Friday is the first major conviction since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003 to crack down on Nigeria's thriving networks of email fraudsters.
The agency said in a statement that the judgment was "a landmark achievement by EFCC in the fight against advance fee fraud, corruption and other related crimes."
Typically fraudsters send out junk emails around the world promising recipients a share in a fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay never receive the promised windfall.
Anajemba, whose late husband masterminded the swindling of the Sao Paolo-based Banco Noroeste S.A. between 1995 and 1998, was charged along with Emmanuel Nwude and Nzeribe Okoli.
The prosecution said the three accused obtained the $242 million by promising a member of the bank staff a commission for funding a non-existent contract to build an airport in Nigeria's capital Abuja.
All three accused pleaded not guilty, but Anajemba later changed her mind to enter a guilty plea in order to receive a shorter sentence.
Her prison term was backdated to start in January 2004 when she was first taken in custody. The trial of the two others who maintained their not guilty pleas was adjourned to September.
Ranked the world's second most corrupt country after Bangladesh by sleaze watchdog Transparency International, Nigeria has given new powers to the EFCC which is prosecuting about 200 fraud and corruption cases.
The anti-fraud agency has arrested over 200 junk mail scam suspects since 2003. It says it has also confiscated property worth $200 million and secured 10 other convictions. ($1=132.70 Naira)
Off-site Links: Nigeria jails woman in $242 mln email fraud case
Connecticut Woman Lures Spammer to Police
6 NOV 2003. From 1010 WINS Newsradio NY
Video: Nigerian scammers arrested
(DANBURY, Conn.) A Bethel woman, fed up with suspicious email pitches promising millions, is taking credit for helping catch a Canadian man accused of fraud.
Like many other email recipients, Heide Evans received numerous messages purporting to be from Nigeria and promising millions of dollars.
But unlike others who delete the emails, Evans said she led the U.S. Secret Service and Bethel police to Nicholas Horvath-Howard, 24, of Toronto, who met her hoping to receive a reward.
"Over several months I managed to convince them I was gullible enough to go along with them, and surprise of surprises, they were stupid enough to send a messenger to see me to collect the money," Evans told The News-Times of Danbury.
Evans met Horvath-Howard in Bethel, where she said he expected to pick up more than $200,000. Instead, Bethel police were waiting for Horvath-Howard and charged him with first-degree attempted larceny.
Horvath-Howard was arraigned in Danbury Superior Court on Monday. Bond was set at $250,000 and his case was continued until Nov. 10.
The Financial Crimes Division of the Secret Service says it receives about 100 calls daily from victims or potential victims and between 300 and 500 correspondence daily about the scams.
The emails, which have become common in recent years, should be ignored, said Bethel police Detective Ron Ashker.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it is," he said. "The easiest way to avoid this thing is don't buy into it."
From the Straits Times (Singapore)
Duped of $2m - Five Singaporeans fall for Internet cheats
By Ben Nadarajan 3 Nov 2003
FIVE Singaporeans have been duped of almost $2 million, after falling for Internet cheats offering shares in non-existent family fortunes or shady investment deals.
The four men and a woman, aged between 25 and 50 lost between $50,000 and $400,000 each. Four of them are in sales and the fifth is an insurance agent.
Why did they fall for the email con?
One blamed his greed while the others felt they were too gullible, said the police, who are investigating all five cases.
So far this year, members of the public have forwarded to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) almost 700 email messages, originating mostly from Africa and promising big rewards in return for money up front.
Assistant Superintendent Milkeet Singh cautioned: 'These people are clearly out to cheat. Don't expect handsome returns. Expect a rude awakening instead when you discover your hard-earned money cleaned out.'
The scams, which originated more than two decades ago in Africa, used to be sent via letters or faxes, but email versions began appearing in 1996.
The con men are mainly from African nations like Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia and their recipients are picked at random.
Victims around the world fork out enough money to sustain an 'industry' which is the third largest in Nigeria.
Some estimates say these con men earn US$1.5 billion (S$2.6 billion) a year, with the money financing African drug lords.
Before the five Singaporeans fell for the Internet scams, many others were duped by earlier versions.
For example, in March at least 50 Singaporeans fell for a Spanish lottery scam when they received letters saying they had won prizes and were asked to send money to cover expenses for sending the winnings to Singapore.
Police are still investigating these cases, which involve about $150,000 in all.
Police have had some success in arresting suspects, when they come here to meet their victims.
Wasting the scammer's time
Since 1997, 19 men aged between 20 and 45 have been arrested for such scams, most of them Africans.
The most recent court case, in March, saw a Liberian man who cheated his victim of US $105,000 sentenced to five years' jail.
The maximum punishment here for cheating is seven years' jail.
The CAD said that it is working closely with various international counterparts to tackle these fraudsters.
The Nigerian authorities, long accused of not doing enough to fight these con men, prosecuted three nationals this year for cheating foreigners of more than US$2 million.
Despite police efforts, the email messages keep coming, and many of the fraudsters are now believed to be operating from South Africa.
ASP Milkeet Singh's advice: 'Be wary when offered such get-rich-quick offers that promise exorbitant returns. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
German Woman Leads Fight Against Nigerian Fraudsters
Wasting the scammer's time
LAGOS, Nov 23: Five years ago, three Nigerian men tracked Frieda Springer-Beck to her village in Bavaria, put a gun to her head and told her to drop charges against a man she accused of staging an elaborate international fraud.
Now the 54-year-old German woman’s fight against Nigeria’s notorious junk-mail conmen is starting to see results.
Since May, Nigeria’s new anti-fraud unit, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (SFCC), has arrested more than 200 people for junk mail scams, including the man springer-beck says duped her out of 360,000 dollars in 1993.
The so-called 419 scam, named after the article in Nigeria’s criminal code outlawing it, has become so successful over the last 20 years that campaigners say it is now one of the African country’s biggest exports after oil, natural gas and cocoa.
The fraud swindles hundreds of millions of dollars every year from people across the world, who respond to junk emails promising them a share of non-existent fortunes in return for an advance fee.
"I know through my own experience how you feel when you say you have been cheated. Nobody is in a position to help you or wants to listen at all," said Springer-Beck, who moved to Lagos last year to push ahead with her campaign.
In 1994 Springer-Beck formed the international Nigerian interest group, an association of fraud victims battling the swindlers through Nigeria’s notoriously slow and corrupt justice system. The association is currently handling 89 cases.
None has led to a conviction and, up until may, the association had brought about only one arrest.
Nigeria’s inaction over the fraud helped earn it the dubious distinction of the world’s second most corrupt country after Bangladesh from the sleaze watchdog transparency international.
Nuhu Ribadu, who heads the EFCC, said property worth 200 million dollars has now been confiscated in connection with more than 30 cases now before Court.
A member of Parliament was among those arrested, and others are being held for the biggest ever 419 swindle, which was worth 180 million dollars and brought down a Brazilian bank.
"Our intention is to bring them to justice for the first time...To return the money to the victims," said Ribadu.
"419 has destroyed the credibility of our country. As a result of this it is almost impossible to do business. No one takes us seriously," he said.
Wasting the scammer's time
Springer-Beck’s own 419 saga began in 1993, when a letter arrived for her recently deceased husband asking him to come to Nigeria to collect his interest on an investment in a Nigerian electricity plant.
She got in touch with the author of the letter, who recommended a lawyer to help her get all the information she needed. She took on the lawyer only after checking his credentials with the German embassy.
On her first of several trips to Lagos, Springer-Beck was taken to what she thought were the offices of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Officials presented her with documents displaying her late husband’s letterhead, showing he had invested a large, but undisclosed, amount of money in the country.
"Today I know it was the building in front of the Central Bank of Nigeria," she said, adding that she was fooled by security guards wearing CBN uniforms at the gate.
Although doubtful at first, she eventually paid her lawyer the 360,000 dollars he requested as a down-payment for staking her claim to the investment. After five months she realised she had fallen victim to a scam.
In August 1993, she tracked the alleged fraudster to his home in downtown Lagos and confronted him.
"He laughed at me, called me a snake," she said. "I told him if you don’t give me back my money I will find a way you will never forget me."
In 1995 the lawyer was arrested and held on remand for two years only to be released without standing trial, and the case has been adjourned repeatedly since.
But in May this year, he was arrested again by the newly created EFCC, and charged with defrauding a Dutchman of 1.7 million dollars.
Springer-Beck is optimistic.
"The cases will be successful. It is only a matter of time. You can’t change things at once which grew up over 20 years." (AGENCIES)
Off-site Links: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/03nov24/inter.htm#1
Winnipeg Free Press
By Bruce Owen
An 84-year-old man allegedly swindled out of $30,000 in a Nigerian email scam turned the tables on a suspect in the case who came knocking to collect even more money, city police said Wednesday.
The retired Winnipeg doctor called police about what happened to him and let officers into his home to arrest the suspect the moment he stepped through the door.
“Our officers were waiting,” police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput said.
She said the shameless suspect had just flown in from Toronto to collect another $7,800 from the victim — plus another few hundred dollars to cover his airfare.
The suspect, a Nigerian refugee who’s been living in Canada for one year, at first allegedly gave police a false name. But investigators soon sorted out his identity.
Police believe he was an agent for a fraud ring. He is now in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre and will appear in court Friday.
Chaput said the arrest was the first one in Canada outside of Toronto where police caught someone in connection to a worldwide fraud ring that has stung thousands of people for more than a decade.
How the case came to Winnipeg is a textbook example of how the Nigerian email scam works, Chaput said.
Starting last April, the senior was barraged by unsolicited emails, asking him to wire more than $30,000 to Ghana, Africa to finance an inheritance of $1.5 million. Who had supposedly bequeathed him the money is not known.
It’s called ‘the Nigerian scam’ as law enforcement believes most of those involved originate from the east African country.
Rather than hit the “delete” button, he wired $30,000 from his personal savings, expecting to get a windfall in return.
It didn’t happen.
Instead, the creators of the email asked him for even more money, as by now they knew who he was and where he lived.
The victim agreed — but this time he called police. “I called them and the police came here and caught that man when he came here,” said the man Wednesday, at his Osborne Village condominium.
It’s unlikely the victim will ever see his $30,000 again.
The man — who did not want his name released or photo taken — said he fears he’ll be targetted by members of the “dangerous” gang that pressured him for money.
Wednesday night, he shuffled quickly to lock the door behind him and kept the phone number of a police detective next to his phone for consultation.
“A promise of $1.5 million, you should question where it’s coming from,” Chaput said.
Police urge people who get similar emails, or a letter or phone call, to contact Phonebusters at www.phonebusters.com. If a person has lost money in this type of scam they should report the loss to police.
Toluwalade Alonge Owolabi is charged with numerous offences including fraud over $5,000, fraud under $5,000, and two counts of possession of a credit card obtained by fraud.
Romanian Town Gets Rich Through Scams
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
By Nicola Smith
DRAGASANI, Romania — Hundreds of people in the poor Romanian town of Dragasani have grown rich by conning eBay online auction customers with deals that seem too good to be true — and often are.
The scammers have even put the new town hall up for sale on eBay, the mayor admitted last week.
"I mean, who would want it?" he asked.
Despite growing concern about online frauds, the European Union has poured $300,000 into computer training courses in Dragasani over the past three years in "special recognition" of its information-technology skills.
"I heard about another offer on eBay selling a MiG fighter jet. There was a photo and a very good price as the customer was only being asked to pay for the fuel to fly it. One guy paid $2,000!" the mayor, Gheorghe Iordache, exclaimed.
"The victims are mainly Americans because they are on the Internet most often and they're naive," he added. "I've heard about local guys who have suddenly bought apartments in Bucharest, Germany, Holland, but haven't a job. Others have BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches and they don't work. So where do they get the money from?"
With few local jobs available in this industrial town in Romania's Valcea wine-growing region, defrauding eBay customers has became a popular career path for many of Dragasani's young people.
A classic scam is the "second chance auction," in which fraudsters contact an eBay user who has just missed out on an item, offering them another chance to buy it outside eBay rules. The scammers persuade their victims to purchase the fictitious items using payment methods that do not allow them to recover the money.
Other frauds include hacking into eBay accounts and stealing an identity to make fake offers. Local police say thousands of victims have been defrauded by the scammers. The biggest case involved the sum of $300,000.
Mihai Popescu, 29, is serving a three-year jail sentence for his link to one such scam. He was lured into online fraud when he was unemployed.
Last week his parents protested that he had been made a scapegoat after playing a minor role in the crime, in which his identity card was used to pick up a cash payment from a victim.
"He is only 5 percent guilty. He doesn't even speak English," said his father Stefan.
According to Virgil Spiridon, chief of the national cyber-crime unit, there were 752 arrests and 84 convictions last year, many of them in cases where Romanians posed as Britons.
A spokesman for eBay said it had "invested millions" in fighting fraud in Romania.
Off-site source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,328878,00.html
Spain holds lottery scam suspects - At least 1,500 people were defrauded
Thursday, 17 April 2008
Spanish police have arrested 87 Nigerians suspected of defrauding at least 1,500 people in a postal and internet lottery scam.
The arrests were made in and around Madrid in an operation co-ordinated with the FBI.
Police said millions of euros were taken from the victims, most of them in the United States and European Union.
Those targeted were wrongly told they had won a lottery and asked to send a payment before prize money could sent.
Thousands of letters and emails, most in ungrammatical English, were sent out to prospective victims every day, police said.
The faked documents asked them to make an initial payment of 900 euros ($1,400, £720) in taxes or administrative costs.
The scam is estimated to have netted around 20 million euros, but the actual sum could be many times that, say police.
Police said the number of those defrauded could run into many thousands, as most of them probably failed to report the crime out of embarrassment.
Police estimate that only one in 1,000 recipients of the letters needed to fall for the fraud for it to make a profit. An Anglican bishop was among those duped, according to Spanish officials.
The operation to track down the gang began in May 2007 when a huge number of identical letters destined for addresses in the US was discovered at Madrid's Barajas airport.
Police confiscated hundreds of computers, mobile phones and 60,000 letters in a raid on more than 30 homes and businesses.
Law enforcement officers also seized a suitcase full of fake $100 notes which they say was used to convince some victims who came to Spain in person to collect their "prize money".
Off-site source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7353003.stm
Australier überweist Betrügern 1,28 Millionen Euro
Um an ein lukratives Geschäft zu kommen, überwies ein Australier Unsummen an eine dubiose Firma. Sechs Männer nahm die niederländische Polizei nun fest. Die Täter gehören vermutlich zu einem Netzwerk organisierter Cyberverbrecher...
Im Falle eines Falles klebt UHU wirklich Alles :)
You'll be doing others a service:
While these scammers are writing to you to entice you to quick riches, they won't be emailing someone else!
Off-site link: Victims Recount Their Story "We lost almost $400,000 on this matter. We are just a middle class family, my husband is a physician and I am a nurse. We borrowed money from many different places to pay to these people. Now we lost our credit and everything else..."
Nigerian spammers may contact you more than once using other names.
Scambaiters Turn Tables on Nigerian email Scam Artists
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Revenge is sweet — and thanks to tattoo ink, sometimes permanent — for a growing legion of "scambaiters" who have taken it upon themselves to punish the thieves behind those Nigerian email scams.
Posting their exploits online, scambaiters are turning the tables on the scam artists, conning the cons who have bilked unsuspecting people out of countless millions of dollars in a common scam referred to as the "419 scam" or advance-fee fraud.
Typically, scammers start an email relationship and get their victims to send money to people who claim to be dying or who need help to free a fictitious dead man's money purportedly tied up in a foreign bank account.
Ahmed Sadiq, of Lagos, Nigeria, first contacted Metimbers in 2005 asking for money for a trip to Mecca. After repeatedly trying to shake Sadiq, Metimbers sent him the email address of "Father Bruce Corbin," the fictitious head of accounts for the equally fake Holy Church of The Tattooed Saint.
After Sadiq contacted Corbin, the fake father responded: "All members of our church (myself included) must bear the tattoo mark of our saint, Saint Bartholomew Shiver. This mark of faith is tattooed on to each individual member of our church."
Sadiq, believing he'd get an exorbitant sum from the church, went to great lengths to get the tattoo on his thigh, only to find himself being strung along for more than three months by the fake father and a string of other phony personas created by 419eater.com's founder.
Metimbers is the online moniker of a British man named Mike, who has spent the last five years turning the tables on unsuspecting Nigerian email scammers.
"Scambaiting is frowned upon in legal circles," Metimbers told Wired in a 2006 interview.
But that hasn't stopped him and his crew from exacting revenge on the scammers.
Sadiq's story and those of other conned con artists are detailed on Metimbers' site, which has a gallery of photographs of would-be scammers holding self-effacing signage and tales of Nigerians who'll carve computer keyboards and cartoon characters in the pursuit of easy money.
The site offers a code of ethics for would-be scambaiters, noting that "we bait the scammers that come to us."
(I don't think this depicts a a REAL tattoo - ed.)
Off-site source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,338908,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/cybersecurity
Nigerian con man nabbed for role in US currency scam
CNA, TAIPEI Friday, Jun 06, 2003, Page 4
An African who calls himself "Jeff" and "a prince of a Nigerian tribe," was arrested by officers from the Ta-an Police Station late Wednesday night for allegedly conning nearly US$100,000 out of a Taipei resident by using fake US dollar bills.
Called by the Taipei resident, surnamed Lee, the policemen went to Lee's apartment, where the Nigerian man -- who was identified as Ezeogu Izucjulwu Edmonde by his yet-to-be-verified passport -- was talking with Lee about further payments for the purchase of chemicals which were to be used to restore some US$2 million in blackened bills to their original appearance.
The police search found Jeff's suitcase, which they said contained US$2 million in counterfeit bills.
According to Lee, he met Jeff -- along with another African named "Johnson" -- near the Taipei Grand Mosque on Hoping East Road several days ago. Lee said Jeff told him that he was actually an African prince who was in something of a predicament.
Although Jeff said he was in possession of US$2 million in cash -- funds that were part of a US aid package to Nigeria, he said -- he could not use the bills as they had been "cursed" and had all turned black. Jeff claimed that only by soaking the bills in a certain chemical solution could the bills regain their original color and then be spendable, Lee said.
Jeff told Lee was a golden opportunity for him to become a millionaire simply by spending US$150,000 to purchase the chemical solution, Lee said.
Lee paid Jeff US$93,500 over the past several days, but it seemed that the deal had stagnated. The US$2 million was to have been split among the three men, Lee said.
Feeling something was not right, Lee invited Jeff to his home while alerting police of their meeting.
Police are investigating the case and believe that Jeff and Johnson, who is still at large, are only part of an international crime ring looking for easy marks.
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Do these things suck? ~~ Unpleasant experiences with companies and organizations. Scams.