10 DEC 2008
419 Coalition Commentary -
As reported in the Nigerian Tribune and many other Nigerian
newspapers today, Mrs. Farida Waziri, head of the EFCC said,
as part of comments blaming the Juduciary and deflecting blame
from the EFCC on lack of progress against corruption in Nigeria:
"[Mrs. Waziri] expressed worries over the slowness in obtaining
judgments in corruption cases as against advance fee fraud cases.
'It remains a puzzle that advance fee fraud cases are speedily tried
and judgments rendered[emphasis ours], but not so with corruption
cases'. [she said]"
419 Coalition simply cannot let that statement pass.... The idea
that 419 advance fee fraud cases in Nigeria are speedily tried and
judgements rendered is simply laughable. In fact, given the
magnitude of 419 operations operating from Nigeria, there are
few arrests, fewer convictions swift or otherwise, and even fewer
reparations of 419ed funds.
And even when there is a conviction for 419, the EFCC can
still move slower than molasses. A case in point is the Odiawa
case below [see 24 NOV 2008 News] where there was Eventually
(not swiftly) a conviction, and three years after the conviction
not one cent's worth of 419ed monies or assets have been repatriated
to the victim despite the court's order for restitution.
We don't see how EFCC can blame the Judiciary for any lack of
performance in repatriating funds in this case, for example, as the
EFCC is responsible for ferreting convicted 419er's funds and assets
and has in the past, under Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde, seen
to it that restitution is made in at least some cases (like the famous
At any rate, Mrs. Waziri's contention that in Nigeria "advance fee
fraud cases are speedily tried and judgments rendered" is absurd
on the face of it, as pretty much any expert on 419 (other than Mrs.
Waziri and perhaps some of her staff) will tell you if you ask, our
view. Therefore, statements like this recent one of Waziri's do little
to enhance the credibility of the EFCC in counter-419 matters,
And even if her comments were accurate, which they are not, 419
Coalition would say: Great! If the Nigerian judicial system is so
efficient in dealing with 419 advance fee fraud cases, then the EFCC
needs to arrest a whole Bunch more 419ers to keep the treadmill
running at speed :)
Here is the URL of an article where the Waziri quote appeared, for
as long as it is good:
24 NOV 2008
A 419 Coalition commentary on recovery and repatriation
of 419ed funds by the Nigerian Government:
The Government of Nigeria is constantly pressing other governments,
with considerable success, for assistance in finding and returning
monies stolen by officials of previous Nigerian administrations and
placed abroad. Of course, in such proceedings, the citizens of
Nigeria understandably want their monies repatriated in the maximum
amounts possible and as quickly as possible.
Likewise, in 419 matters the citizens of other governments want
the Government of Nigeria to expedite by all means possible the
repatriation of 419ed funds to their rightful owners.
The process of seizure and liquidation of 419ed assets and then
repatriating them has always been painfully slow, and things
have not improved since Mrs. Waziri has headed up the EFCC.
A case in point is the Harrison Odiawa case. Odiawa was
convicted in January 2006 of 419ing $2,212,894 and restitution
was ordered in the case.
Of course, Odiawa used all the customary means to launder the
stolen millions. The 419 Advance Fee Fraud section of the EFCC,
headed up by Mr. Olaolu Adegbite was charged with unravelling
Odiawa's schemes, seizing and liquidating his assets, and
repatriating the 419ed millions to the victim of the crime.
Adegbite, a very experienced officer who has served under both
Nuhu Ribadu and Farida Waziri, as Head of the Advance Fee
Fraud Section of the EFCC, personally inspects all case files
in which restitution and repatriation are relevant. He then
instructs his subordinate case officers on the priorities and
processes of proceeding in each case.
But despite Adegbite's best efforts, the process of recovery
and restitution of 419ed funds remains painfully slow. For
example, using the Odiawa case once again for reference,
restitution was ordered nearly three years ago. While
Adegbite has had moderate success since then in finding
relevant bank accounts containing funds, and automobiles
and real estate belonging to Odiawa or laundered for him,
(and 419 Coalition believes that with due diligence there
is MUCH more to be found) not one dollar has yet been
repatriated to the victim.
In general, competent observers have noted that the amounts
seized by the EFCC from convicted Nigerian 419ers have been
painfully low given the billions stolen and that the rate of
repatriation of such funds is painfully slow. The disappointing
performance by the EFCC in these matters, it is said, does not
engender a spirit of mutual cooperation.
419 Coalition would suggest once again, as it has in the past,
that if the Government of Nigeria wants maximum attention given
to the return of monies stolen from the people of Nigeria, then
it must in turn give maximum attention to the return of monies
stolen from the citizens of other countries by Nigerian 419ers.
We believe that in diplomatic parlance "linkage" is the term most
often used to describe such situations...
11 NOV 2008
From KATU TV ABC Channel 2, Portland, Oregon:
Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists
By Anna Song KATU News and KATU.com Web Staff
Janella Spears doesn’t think she’s a sucker or an easy mark.
Besides her work as a registered nurse, Spears - no relation to the well-known pop star -
also teaches CPR and is a reverend who has married many couples. She also
communicates with lightning-fast sign language with her hearing-impaired husband.
So how did this otherwise lucid, intelligent woman end up sending nearly half a million
dollars to a bunch of con artists running what has to be one of the best-known Internet
scams in the world?
Spears fell victim to the "Nigerian scam," which is familiar to almost anyone who has
ever had an e-mail account.
The e-mail pitch is familiar to most people by now: a long-lost relative or desperate
government official in a war-torn country needs to shuffle some funds around, say $10
million or $20 million, and if you could just help them out for a bit, you get to keep 10 (or
20 or 30) percent for your trouble.
All you need to do is send X-amount of dollars to pay some fees and all that cash will
suddenly land in your checking account, putting you on Easy Street. By the way, please
send the funds though an untraceable wire service.
By this time, not many people will fall for such an outrageous pitch, and the scam is very
well-known. But it persists, and for a reason: every now and then, it works.
For Spears, it started, as it almost always does, with an e-mail. It promised $20 million
and in this case, the money was supposedly left behind by her grandfather (J.B.
Spears), with whom the family had lost contact over the years.
"So that's what got me to believe it," she said.
Spears didn't know how the sender knew J.B. Spears' name and her relation to him, but
her curiosity was piqued.
It turned out to be a lot of money up front, but it started with just $100.
The scammers ran Spears through the whole program. They said President Bush and
FBI Director "Robert Muller" (their spelling) were in on the deal and needed her help.
They sent official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and even
from the United Nations. Her payment was "guaranteed."
Then the amount she would get jumped up to $26.6 million - if she would just send
$8,300. Spears sent the money.
More promises and teases of multi-millions followed, with each one dependent on her
sending yet more money. Most of the missives were rife with misspellings.
When Spears began to doubt the scam, she got letters from the President of Nigeria,
FBI Director Mueller, and President Bush. Terrorists could get the money if she did not
help, Bush’s letter said. Spears continued to send funds. All the letters were fake, of
She wiped out her husband’s retirement account, mortgaged the house and took a lien
out on the family car. Both were already paid for.
For more than two years, Spears sent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Everyone she knew, including law enforcement officials, her family and bank officials,
told her to stop, that it was all a scam. She persisted.
Spears said she kept sending money because the scammers kept telling her that the
next payment would be the last one, that the big money was inbound. Spears said she
became obsessed with getting paid.
An undercover investigator who worked on the case said greed helped blind Spears to
the reality of the situation, which he called the worst example of the scam he’s ever seen.
He also said he has seen people become obsessed with the scam before. They are
so desperate to recoup their losses with the big payout, they descend into a vicious
cycle of sending money in hopes the false promises will turn out to be real.
Now, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim.
She hopes her story will warn others to listen to reason and avoid going down the dark
tunnel of obsession that ended up costing her so much.
Spears said it would take her at least three to four years to dig out of the debt she ran up
in pursuit of the non-existent pot of Nigerian gold.
KATU News On Your Side Investigator Anna Song comments:
We came across this story while attending a conference on financial crimes in Eugene.
State attorneys for the Oregon Department of Justice were using this case as a teaching
tool, with the name of the victim redacted. I was astonished, as many of you are, that
someone could lose $400,000 in a Nigerian scam. These are the type of emails we all
routinely get in our inbox, if our spam filter doesn’t catch them first. I inquired with the
state attorneys about whether this victim would be interested in talking with me. To my
surprise, she agreed.
I went to Sweet Home with a high level of skepticism. What I found was a normal,
middle-class home near an elementary school, a deaf husband trying to fix his phone
so that it would vibrate instead of ring, and his wife, Janella Spears, trying to get their
grandkids to calm down so we could do a television interview.
Investigators with the Oregon Department of Justice initially discovered Spears when
they were investigating a different money laundering case. While looking at Western
Union money transfers, they noticed someone had wired $144,000 to Nigeria over the
course of three short weeks. It got their attention. They honed in on Spears, and did a
full "money bust" at her home. After scouring her house, looking at all her financials,
talking with local bank representatives and otherwise doing a complete investigation,
the detectives concluded she was a true victim. Remember, investigators also had
hundreds of emails to go through, revealing her correspondence with the Nigerian
scammers and their creative stories aimed at bleeding money from her. Spears was
never charged, and I have to go on the investigators’ judgment for that. For good
measure, they’ve warned Spears that if she sends any more money to Nigeria, they will
charge her with a crime. She admits it may be the only real deterrent for her, as fixing
this became somewhat of an obsession.
Whether or not you believe her, Spears claims she wanted the money so she could
help others in need.
The Nigerian scammers look for people like Janella Spears. Most of us have the
sense to hit delete. But what about that older relative who has email, but is gullible or
easily confused? Obviously, the scam works. That’s why it continues.
Here is a link to the story for as long as it is good:
27 OCT 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper The Sun:
Cybercrime: EFCC arraigns 58 in Kaduna
By Sun News Publishing
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recorded yet another
breakthrough in its resolve to check the incidences of economic crimes in the country,
with the arraignment of 58 persons in connection with advance fees fraud before the
Federal High Court in Kaduna presided over by Justice Shuabu Mohammed.
The suspects were arrested in an operation tagged: Operation Cyber Storm1 carried
out in the nation’s three geo- political zones of South-West, South East and South- South.
The accused persons include Kalu Agwara, Emejuru Prince Patrick, Mang Agbai Ude,
Mukaila Aina, Maduka Nnamdi Stanley, Oti Gabriel Arinze, Precious Kalu, Onyekwelu
Peter Ndigwe, Anan James, Okunwa Christian Udeh, Kazeem Adewale, Abiola
Samson, Adigwe Ngozi, Okpere Pullen, James Momoh, Ese Irohoboinose, Yisa Adisa,
Odion Kevin, Ojo Solomon Taiwo, Abiodun Bashorun, Churchill J. Essien, Adewunmi
Aringbola, Sanusi O. Abdulwasiu, Babajide Lukman, Okeke Oscar Nkem, Elisha
Others are, Olasaide Dare, Koiki W. Adewale, Adebowale Muyiwa, Akinde Samson,
Imoh Idiong, Ezechukwu Samuel, Sagunwero Allen Ihama, Sunday Oladunjoye, Ubani
Felix Uzor, Imonima Kingsley, Emeka Asoanya, Prince Onyechere, Hak Azu Kalu,
Muyiwa Odusonya, Anthony Ugwude, Ibini Kayode, Balogun Otaigbe,Prince Iheoma
Esionu,Nnachi Ephraim,Dadi Ike, Chigozirim Nwafor, Adenuga Lateef
Olatunji,Ekwebelem Promise,Sorunke Odunayo Smith,Obasi Nwankwo Irem,Presely
Omorogbe, James Momoh,Oame Benjamin,Olumide Aluko, and Titus osita Okeke.
They were cumulatively slammed with more than 85 count charge all predicated on
internet related fraud, offences based on obtaining by false pretences between
Wednesday and Friday last week.
Seven of the accused persons were arraigned on the ground of failure to obtain full
particulars of customers, permission of their business premises for the commission of
the offences and non- registration of their cyber cafes with the EFCC.
A sample of one of the charges read; "That you, Kalu Agwara, on or about 5th April,
2008, at Preskal cyber café of No. 145 Azikiwe Road, Aba, Abia state, within the
jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, in a letter titled congratulations we have securd the
import licence sent to one Mrs. Minakshi Puri as Dominic Kingsley attempted to obtain
the sum of USD 2,162.50 and USD 3,092.00 under false pretence of expending the said
sum in trying to secure a fictitious import license as well as bank charges incurred in
trying to obtain the said license which you claimed was a government requirement to
enable the said Mrs. Minakshi Puri, send some goods that you falsely led her to believe
you were going to import to Nigeria thereby committed an offence contrary to section 8
(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act 2006 and punishable
under 1(3) of the same Act."
Though 17 of the 58 accused persons were not present in court, those in attendance
were represented by counsel including Suleiman Rufai, BenChurchill Aniekwena, E.B.O
Ibiloye, Mike Nwakanma, Obi I.I., M.A.Ikpe, B.M.Badru among others.
The prosecution counsel, totaling 12, were led by Messrs. Johnson Ojogbane and
Reacting to the oral applications for bail by counsel to the accused persons, some of
who cited the fact that their clients voluntarily reported themselves as at when needed
by the EFCC, the prosecution lead counsel, Joshua Saidi, noted that it was pertinent that
a formal application be made to support the facts as being presented by the defence
He along with other prosecution counsel, argued that while they concur that granting of
bail was at the discretion of the court, it should be done in consideration of the nature of
the charge, severity of punishment and evidence before the court. Only three of the
defence counsel came up with written motion for bail.
Earlier in one of the cases, Francis Arinze Okeke vs Federal Republic of Nigeria, the
defence counsel, Aniekwena Ben-churchill just like other defence counsel, orally
applied for bail for his client citing the case of Abiola vs Federal Republic of Nigeria, as
basis for his oral application. He based his application on section 118(2) of the criminal
procedure Act which stipulates condition for bail of an accused and sections 35(5) and
36 of the 1999 constitution which state that an accused is presumed innocent until proven
Ruling separately in all the cases, the presiding Judge, Justice Shaibu Mohammed
Said; "Though an oral application for bail can be entertained in a Law Court, materials
must be made available to help the court make a judicial and judicious use of its
discretion. Discretion cannot be made in a vacuum. There are no materials".
While refusing all the oral bail applications by the defence counsel, Justice Muhammed
however, granted bail to only one of the accused persons, Nnachi Ephraim whose
counsel Joe Umoelin the trial judge said was able to substantiate with proof his written
application for bail.
The offence attracts a term of not more than 20 years and not less than 7 years without
an option of a fine if an accused is found guilty.
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
25 OCT 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian:
EFCC arrests banker, undergraduates over N2.5m internet marriage scam
By Samson Ezea
A banker who works in the Western Union desk of one of the new generation banks was
arrested yesterday by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his
role in a marriage scam involving two undergraduates of Olabisi Onabanjo University,
Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and a Malaysian lady who was swindled of $21,600 (about N2.5
In a statement made available to The Guardian, the spokesman of the Commission, Mr
Femi Babafemi disclosed that the prime suspect claimed that he met the victim, on a
dating site on the Internet and they started chatting. Soon, the chatting blossomed into a
love affair. The 18-year-old undergraduate who had assumed the identity of a non-
existent American national resident in Nigeria, said the only condition that the lady gave
for the consummation of their romance was that he must be a Christian which he readily
met. And to convince his prey about his identity, he downloaded the picture of a tall
American from the Internet and sent it to the victim in Malaysia.
The Malaysian, who is a divorcee with two children was fascinated by the photograph of
the white man she saw, and she started dreaming of an enduring relationship. Unknown
to her that she was being conned, she stepped up her chatting with the 'white lover'. The
online romance was so hot that the victim contemplated coming to Nigeria so they could
solemnize the relationship. She was so carried away that she promised to take her
'fiance' to a Lagos-based Pastor because, as she claimed, the pastor was known to
her. The suspect also promised to take his 'fiance' to a fictitious Pastor of a non- existent
church in Lagos.
Now conscious that he had the victim under his spell, the suspect began to release
tricks from his rich arsenal. He started by telling the woman that he would like to visit her
in Malaysia before she arrived in Nigeria for the marriage and that he would need
money for a ticket and other travel expenses. The victim swallowed the bait and agreed
to send money through Western Union.
At this juncture, the fraudster realized that he would need to recruit more people to
perfect the scam. He got a ready accomplice in his childhood friend, 18, who is also an
undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University. The accomplice's duty was to present
his identity card to collect the money being sent by the Malaysian and take it to the
prime suspect for a commission.
When they realized that the ID card might give them away because of the frequency at
which they visited the bank, they changed their strategy. The accomplice stole his
father's driver's licence, which they used to collect more money from the bank.
But despite the ingenuity of the duo, it wouldn't have been so easy to defraud the 35-
year old Malaysian but for the role played by the third suspect, the banker, who was in
charge of the Western Union Money Transfer desk of a branch of the bank. He threw
banking ethics into dustbin and provided cover for the fraudsters for a fee and in the
process, the trio successfully defrauded the victim of $21,600.
The cat was let out of the bag when the woman discovered that the photograph sent to
her by the principal suspect was actually downloaded from the Internet. Consequently,
she petitioned the EFCC and the operatives of the Commission swung into action. In no
time, the suspects were rounded up at Oshodi, Lagos. They have made useful
statements and would soon be arraigned in court.
Here is the URL of this article for as long as it is good:
18 SEP 2008
From the Ontario Provicial Police, Canada:
OPP dismantle counterfeit cheque operation
TORONTO, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - Officers from the Ontario Provincial Police
Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and Anti-Rackets Section have
arrested two persons in connection with the production and mass mailing
of counterfeit cheques throughout North America.
This investigation was primarily focused on the "lab" where the
fraudulent cheques were manufactured. The scheme was accomplished
by preparing counterfeit cheques and their supporting documentation in
relation to job banks, investment opportunities and lottery schemes.
In most cases, the victims received an unsolicited letter and cashier's
cheque and asked to evaluate a company. The victims were asked to
cash the cheque and wire the majority of the funds to a fictitious
company. The victims would discover the cashier cheque was
counterfeit and the financial institution held the victims liable.
The investigation was led by the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement
Bureau, Identity Crimes and Forgery Investigation Unit, in partnership with
the Vancouver Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection
Service and all major financial institutions within Canada.
Over 1,200 possible victims were identified with financial losses
estimated to be between $120,000 and $2.1 million.
On September 16, 2008, police executed two search warrants and seized
computer systems, printers, scanners, credit card data, and a large
quantity of cheque stock.
Adesoji Shakir SHITTU, age 32 of Etobicoke, Ontario, one count of
Fraud Over $5,000, Possession Of Credit Card Data, Possession Of
Property Obtained By Crime And Conspiracy To Commit Fraud. The
accused is being held for bail hearing.
Simone SHITTU, age 26 of Etobicoke, Ontario, one count of Fraud Over
$5,000 and Possession Of Credit Card Data. The accused was released
on a Promise to Appear scheduled on October 17, 2008.
The investigation is continuing.
For further information: D/S/Sgt James GORRY, OPP Organized Crime
Enforcement Bureau, Identity Crimes and Forgery, Investigation Unit,
Phone: (705) 238-9818
Here is the URL of the announcement for as long as it is good:
16 SEP 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper, The Punch:
EFCC arraigns businessman over N86m fraud
By Kayode Ketefe
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a businessman, Lewis
Amitaye, before Justice Morenike Obadina of an Ikeja High Court for allegedly
perpetrating fraud of over N86m.
The anti-graft agency had brought the accused to court on a 66-count charge of
conspiracy and obtaining thousands of United States dollars from Mr. Amadi Chukwuma
by false pretences.
The accused was said to have committed the offence between December 2005 and
The offence is contrary to sections 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Adavance Fee Fraud and Other
Related Offences Act No13 of 1995 as amended by Act No 62 of 1999.
Amitaye was alleged to have induced Chukwuma to give him funds, including $10,061
(on December 16, 2005) $30,000, (on January 9, 2006), $26,570 (on January 27, 2006)
and $66,667.00 (on February 12, 2006) by false pretences.
EFCC also alleged that the accused had promised Chukwuma that these funds were
meant to facilitate the transfer of $10m for the lease of 10 acres of land at Rumokparali
town, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State which Chukwuma would use
for a fish pond project.
Amitaye was alleged to have promised to help Chukwuma to obtain this $10m facility
from a company called Worldwide Financial Organisation through the Central Bank of
Chukwuma, who intended to use the 10 acres of land for fish farming, was alleged to
have given one sum of money after another to facilitate the release of the said $10m.
Amitaye (who often paraded himself under different identities like Dr. Tutu, Mr. Sikiru
Olagunju, Mr. Precious John etc) allegedly collected $33, 113 from Chukwuma on April 6,
2008 on the false pretext that he would use the sums to obtain EFCC clearance for
transfer of the $10m to him.
When the charge was read to the accused, he pleaded ‘not guilty’.
The court consequently adjourned the matter till October 6.
22 AUG 2008
From the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia.
[419 Coalition comments between the lines in brackets]
Jail the 'greedy' scam victims, says Nigerian diplomat
by Asher Moses
THE Nigerian high commissioner says people who are ripped off by so-called Nigerian
scams are just as guilty as the fraudsters and should be jailed. [419 Coalition comment:
Someone needs to inform the High Cimmissioner that it is not the policy of His Own
government, nor that of any other government in the world of which we aware. to
consider targets of 419 as criminals.]
Responding to a story in yesterday's Herald, which revealed Australians lose at least
$36 million a year to the online scams, Sunday Olu Agbi said Australians had failed to
heed repeated warnings not to deal with shady characters on the internet. [419 Coalition
comment: And of course the Nigerian 419ers have failed to heed repeated warnings
that they are involved in large scale criminal activity and should cease and desist mass
marketing fraudulent solicitations.]
He said media coverage of fraudulent activity stemming from Nigeria had given the
country "a bad image" and "those who want to transact business with us are always very
"The Nigerian Government frowns very seriously on these scams and every day tries
to track down those who are involved," he said. "It is not in the character of Nigerians to
be engaged in this kind of scam." [419 Coalition comment: Actually the Nigerian
Goverment has done an pretty lousy job combating 419 over the last twenty years,
though there were sone notable successes when the Nigerian EFCC was run by Nuhu
Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde. Even with those successes, the arrest and conviction
rate given the magnitude of 419 operations is abominable overall, and the recovery rate
and repatriation of stolen funds is even worse].
Professor Olu Agbi said there were almost 140 million people in Nigeria and fewer than
0.1 per cent were involved. [419 Coalition: Although no-one knows exactly how many
419ers there are in Nigeria, we suspect that they are considerably more than 0.1 per
cent of population - certainly a considerably higher number Benefit from the influx of
419ed funds into the Nigerian economy.]
Nigerian scams are typically conducted via email and there are many variations.
In one version, the scammer poses as a government worker who has embezzled
millions of dollars and is offering victims a percentage if they help retrieve the money by
providing a relatively small amount of money for bribes or other charges.
Professor Olu Agbi said "greedy" Australians who tried to partake in these crimes -
even though they are scams - should be arrested as well. [419 Coalition: Once again.
while that may be the opinion of the good Professor, nevertheless that is not the policy of
His Own government, the Australian government, or that of any other government in the
world of which we are aware.]
"People who send their money are as guilty as those who are asking them to send the
money," he said. [419 Coaltion: That is simply not true according to the Justice Depts of
every nation on earth, as far as we know, therefore the Prof should be reminded that
while his personal opinions are what they are they are NOT policy anywhere.]
Some Nigerian fraudsters go as far as setting up fake profiles on dating sites. They
string along targets for months before organising to meet them, but first ask for money to,
for instance, help pay for a plane ticket.
The head of the NSW Police fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Col Dyson, said he
was willing to work with Nigerian officials on an education campaign to warn people
about the scams, which were difficult to track because the perpetrators were located all
over the world.
He likened victims to gambling addicts. People were in denial about the scams even
after being warned because the thrill of a possible windfall at the end raised their
excitement and they became emotionally involved. [419 Coalition: Sometimes that is
indeed true, other times not.]
"The bottom line is anything that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true," he
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
27 JUL 2008
A concerned Nigerian has asked us to put a link in to the
famous 419 song and video "I Go Chop Your Dollar" by
Osuofia, so here it is for as long as it is good:
28 JUN 2008
More on the Fiedler case (see 25 JUN 2008 News) from
the Nigerian newspaper The Punch:
$2.1bn fake cheques seized from US, Nigerian fraudsters
by Sola Adebayo
American Postal Service agents have discovered counterfeit cheques, lottery tickets
and e-Bay overpayment documents worth $2.1 billion while investigating a scam
involving some Nigerians and a US citizen.
PCworld.com reports that a cyber investigator with the US Postal Service, Chris Siouris,
told a recent conference in Seattle, United States that the discovery was made when the
agency sent 15 postal investigators to Lagos on a three-month undercover operation.
Washington State Attorney-General, Rob McKenna, who also spoke at the conference
said they were pushing for ways to better educate Internet users to avoid e-mail scams.
The report said that an American woman, Edna Fiedler, was sentenced on Wednesday
to two years in prison and five years of supervised release for her role in the Internet
counterfeit cheque scheme.
The report said that Fiedler, who is from Washington, had pleaded guilty in March to
attempting to defraud US citizens in connivance with suspected accomplices in Nigeria.
She connived with them to send fake cheques to people who had agreed to cash them
on behalf of the sender, keeping some of the proceeds and sending the rest back.
The report, which quoted the US Department of Justice, said the Nigerian accomplices
found people willing to cash the fake checks via e-mail. They sent their names as well
as fake documents that looked like Wal-Mart money orders, Bank of America checks,
US Postal Service checks and American Express traveler’s checks to Fiedler, telling
her how to fill out the checks and where to send them.
The Justice Department said the recipients most likely thought they were helping out
someone who needed a person in the US to cash a cheque for them. It added that they
then got the money by cashing the cheques and sending most of it to either Fiedler or
her Nigerian accomplices. However, once the cheques were discovered to be fake, the
people who cashed them were made to repay the full amount.
In all, Fiedler sent out US$609,000 worth of phony cheques and money orders. When US
Secret Service agents investigating the case searched Fiedler’s house, they found
additional fake cheques worth more than $1.1 million that she was preparing to send out.
25 JUN 2008
As posted in the Yahoo discussion group Naijanet,
attributed to PC World magazine:
[American] Woman Gets Two Years for Aiding Nigerian
Internet Check Scam (PC World)
A Washington woman was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison and five
years of supervised release for her role in an Internet counterfeit check scheme.
Edna Fiedler pleaded guilty in March to attempting to defraud U.S. citizens in a scheme
known as a Nigerian check scam.
Fiedler helped her accomplices in Nigeria send fake checks to people who had
agreed to cash the checks on behalf of the sender, keeping some of the proceeds and
sending the rest back.
The Nigerians found people willing to cash the fake checks via e-mail. They would
send their names as well as fake documents that looked like Wal-Mart money orders,
Bank of America checks, U.S. Postal Service checks and American Express traveler's
checks to Fiedler. They told her how to fill out the checks and where to send them.
The recipients most likely thought they were helping out someone who needed a
person in the U.S. to cash a check for them, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
They were able to get the money by cashing the checks, and sent most of it to either
Fiedler or her Nigerian accomplices. However, once the checks were discovered to be
fake, the people who cashed them were responsible for the full amount.
All told, Fiedler sent out US$609,000 worth of phony checks and money orders. When
U.S. Secret Service agents investigating the case searched Fiedler's house, they found
additional fake checks worth more than $1.1 million that she was preparing to send out.
At a recent conference in Seattle, a representative from the U.S. Postal Service and
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna described ways they're working to
shut down these kinds of scams, particularly because they often involve people who
don't realize that they're taking part in illegal activities.
The U.S. Postal Service recently sent 15 postal investigators to Lagos, Nigeria, and
during a three-month period there, they helped intercept counterfeit checks, lottery
tickets and eBay overpayment schemes with a face value of $2.1 billion, Chris Siouris, a
cyber investigator at the U.S. Postal Inspector, said at the recent conference. Siouris,
McKenna and others are pushing for ways to better educate Internet users so that
people don't unwittingly help out in these kinds of e-mail scams.
12 JUN 2008
Ultrascan in the Netherlands sent in the following
June 12 (AFP)
Spain arrests Nigerians, others over fraud network
Spanish police have arrested 51 people, most of them Nigerians, suspected of a mail
and Internet fraud scam that may have netted them around 40 million euros, the interior
ministry said Thursday.
It said the gang sent out thousands of emails and letters every day to potential victims,
mostly in Europe and the United States, making them believe they had been selected to
take part in a Spanish lottery.
It then told them they had won sums ranging from 600,000 to three million euros (900,000
to 4.6 million dollars), the ministry said in a statement.
Those who responded received official-looking but faked documents asking them to
pay administrative costs and requesting their bank details.
A total of 112 people filed complaints, reporting average losses of 18,000 euros each.
But police estimated they were only about 10 percent of number of people scammed,
and the total amount netted by the gang could be around 40 million euros.
Police, which began investigating the network in May 2007, carried out raids in several
towns and cities that netted thousands of letters, 24 computers, 305 mobile phones and
more than 1,300 fake documents.
In April, they announced the arrests of 87 Nigerians in a similar scheme.
5 JUN 2008
BBC TV News UK did a couple of related pieces on 419
today. Our associates at Ultrascan in the Netherlands sent
this information in. Here are the URLs of the News
videos for as long as they are good:
The first is on Lottery 419 in the UK.
The second is a continuation of the first, featuring
additional discussion with the victim shown in the
4 JUN 2008
419 Coalition Note: For the last month or so, the Government
of Nigerian President Yar'Adua has been shaking up the EFCC,
which is, among other things, Nigeria's primary counter-419
law enforcement agency.
In the entire history of Nigerian law enforcement, there has never
been a more effective agency in the effort to control 419 than
the EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu and his number two, Ibrahim
Lamorde. Under these men, there have been more arrests
of 419ers, more convictions of 419ers, and more repatriation
of 419ed funds to victims of the crime than ever before in
In our view, the Nigerian Government made an error awhile
back when it shipped Ribadu off to "staff college" but it did
appear that he would be coming back to the EFCC at some
point in time. Until he did, it was the view here that at least
the agency would be in the competent hands of Lamorde,
who was fully aware of all the complicated details in all ongoing
operations, thereby assuring that continuity of effort would not
Now it appears that Lamorde is to be replaced, and that
Ribadu will not be coming back this fall as anticipated.
That means that the two most experienced and effective
counter-419ers in Nigerian history may be effectively
sidelined for the duration. No matter how good the
replacements for these men at the head of the EFCC
may be, they will have a long, long, way to go to match
the record of Ribadu and Lamorde in counter-419.
Therefore, we at 419 Coalition would prefer that Lamorde
be retained as Acting Director of the EFCC until Ribadu is
finished with "staff college" and returns as Director of the
EFCC. Of course, if the new people proposed by the
Nigerian Government still want to work in the EFCC in
high level staff positions under Ribadu and Lamorde,
that would be fine with us - the more the merrier.
But replacing the two most effective counter-419ers in
Nigerian history for no particularly good reason that
we can see seems pretty absurd to us. In terms of
the continuity of effective counter-419 operations,
this is not the time to rock the boat at EFCC.
C. A. Pascale
29 MAY 2008
From the UK Daily Mail:
Worldwide £20 million lottery scam busted by Spanish police
By Daily Mail Reporter
Busted: Police made 52 arrests at the resort of Velez-Malaga in Spain as
part of 'Operation Loto'
Police in Spain have smashed a fraud ring believed to have conned
hundreds of Britons in a worldwide £20 million lottery scam.
Squads of detectives backed up by riot police took to the streets of
Malaga in a massive round-up codenamed 'Operation Loto' in which more
than 60 homes and business premises were raided.
Officers made 52 arrests in the city and detained three other people at
the resort of Velez-Malaga, just east of the capital of the bustling
southern holiday coast. All were Nigerians.
Yesterday they were packed into cells at several police stations in
Malaga and nearby resorts on the Costa del Sol. They will be taken
before an investigating judge in Madrid over the weekend.
Those held are accused of swindling a total of 27 million euros- 21.6m
pounds sterling - from 1,500 people around the world, including hundreds
The gullible victims all received letters telling them they had won vast
prizes in Spain's famed state lottery which pays out many millions every
But they fell for a request to send cash to cover local taxes and other
The fact they had never bought a Spanish lottery ticket in the first
place did not stop them from falling for the trick.
Victims parted with sums ranging from £640 up to £720,000. The average
loss worked out at more than £14,000, police said.
There was no immediate estimate of how many of those conned were from
the UK, but Britons were believed to have made up a sizeable proportion
of the victims of the scam.
Recently Inspector Antonio Pintano, head of the Spanish National Police
fraud squad's lottery unit said that Britons came second to US citizens
amongst those who part with their money to the Nigerian gangs.
'Many of those who are swindled are elderly,' he said.
In July, 2005, Inspector Pintano and his men went down in Spanish police
history for making the most arrests ever in a single case. Then they
detained 320 Nigerians -also on the Costa del Sol.
Yesterday's arrests serve to prove that the gangs can regroup and begin
preying on vulnerable targets again.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
2 MAY 2008
As reported by a concerned Nigerian:
The largest Nigerian bank and the ONLY one currently
allowed by the US Feds to have an office in the US was
assessed civil money penalty by the United States of
America Department of Treasury Financial Crimes
Enforcement Network, (FinCEN) without the bank
admitting or denying the determinations by FinCEN. The
civil penalty assessed amounted to 3.4% of the bank's
assets. The Bank, United Bank of Africa UBA) has a
Branch office in New York and it was only this Branch
that was involved in the FinCen action. The total
amount assessed was 1.785 Billion Naira.
On the face of it, i.e. without the benefit of UBA's
explanation for the apparent flagrant failures in the
bank's system for dealing with Money Laundering
issues, it would appear that the bank might have
knowingly or unknowingly aided 419 fraudsters and the
ever present corrupt Nigerian political leaders in
defrauding the Nigerian people.
If all the issues below seem to have escaped the
Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in
Nigeria it must be doing a great job indeed. What a
job! Surely UBA is not alone in this and only got the
attention because it is the only Nigerian Bank
operating in the US. So, how big is this type of
problem for a country that wants to deal head on with
corruption? Have EFCC of recent ever sanctioned a
Nigerian Financial Institution for aiding corruption
and money laundering despite the attention these have
attracted in the media in Nigeria, with all these high
profile corruption/money laundering cases?
Ghana-must-go bags are not involved in these cases
because they are illicit funds sent through Nigerian
and Foreign Banks mostly via wire transfers. Despite
these, EFCC appears not to be dealing with those that
ensures these folks loot Nigerian treasury. Is Nigeria
really serious about combating corruption but no
sanction or penalty imposed for those that knowingly
or unknowingly aid such and provide the conduit?
It was determined that the failure by the UBA's US
Branch to establish and implement an effective
anti-money laundering program resulted in extensive
violations in its failure to report suspicious
transactions of approximately $197,000,000. A Federal
Branch of a foreign bank in the US is required to
implement an anti-money laundering program that
conforms to the rules of the office of the Comptroller
of the Currency.
It was determined by FinCEN that there were serious
failures in the Bank’s internal controls. Some of
which were highlighted and they include the following:
1.The Branch failed repeatedly over the course of
multiple examinations to implement internal controls
that are reasonably designed to assess the risks of
potential money laundering or other suspicious
activity and ensure the detection and timely reporting
of suspicious transactions.
2.The Branch failed to implement effective procedures
for conducting due diligence on the Branch’s
3.Failure by the Branch to have effective procedures
to obtain critical information to establish risk
profiles including obtaining information on customer’s
business activities, source of funds, financial
4.As of June 2006, the Branch did not have procedures
for identifying Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and
any procedures for managing the risks associated with
such individuals. This is despite the fact that the
Branch processed transactions for high level PEPs,
including senior political figures in Nigeria.
5.The Branch failed to implement effective procedures
to manage the risks associated with
(a) foreign correspondent bank accounts,
(b) embassy and foreign consulate accounts
(c) foreign based cash intensive businesses
(d) Money service Businesses
(e) Import and Export Companies
(f) Jewelry and Precious Metals dealers
(g) Foreign Exchange houses
(h) Off shore corporations
6.The policies and procedures for investigating
suspicious activities were far too general and
according to FinCEN did not provide adequate
instructions to Branch personnel.
7.The Branch lacked effective procedures to detect and
respond to suspicious activities involving wire
transfers and dollar pouch transactions from other
8.There were no written procedures specifying the
responsibilities of compliance and operations
9.Operations personnel had the authority to approve
suspicious transactions without compliance involvement
10.The Branch compliance personnel had the authority
to REMOVE PERSONS FROM THE WATCH LIST without approval
from appropriate level of management at the Branch.
11.Independent testing of the Branch was not effective
to ensure compliance with the US Bank Secrecy Act.
12.The Branch failed to report transactions that it
either knows, suspects or has reason to suspect are
suspicious. Usually a suspicious transaction is the
one that could involve funds derived from illegal
activities, or is "conducted to disguise" the illegal
source or that has no apparent business purpose and
the Branch has no reasonable explanation for the said
transaction. Usually these types of transactions has
to be reported no later than 20days after obtaining
facts but under no circumstance would the filing be
done later than 60 days after the initial detection.
(a) The UBA Branch failed to timely file 140 required
suspicious activities reports between 2005 and
February 1, 2008.
(b) 29 reports were filed at least six (6) months late
(c) 5 reports were filed over 3 years late including
approximately $120 million of suspected proceeds of
corruption in Nigeria.
(d) It also failed to timely file reports on proceeds
of advance fee frauds also known as 419, structuring
or wire transfers to avoid reporting
The delays by the Branch of UBA to timely file the
suspicious activities report significantly impaired
the usefulness of the information because it failed to
timely report it for action by US law enforcement
Here is the URL of information on this matter direct from the
US FinCEN site: http://www.fincen.gov/20080428.pdf
2 MAY 2008
Fromthe Nigerian newspaper Daily Sun:
World Bank chief reveals how he was defrauded and the EFCC intervention
When Mr. Ishmael Lightbourne, executive director of the World Bank, ran into a
traditional ruler who goes by the name ‘Mustapha,’ abroad and learnt that the latter was
a ‘diplomat,’ he could have counted his luck.
This was even more so as the ‘diplomat’ told him he had some business connections in
South Africa, Ghana and Mali and wanted a partnership to explore them.
Lightbourne, who wanted to make investment in Africa, had jumped at the offer, perhaps
hoping that the friendship of a ‘diplomat’ would be worth the while. Unfortunately, he
miscalculated, as ‘Mustapha’ milked him dry. Not even his training as accountant and a
chartered accountant, for that matter, raised his antenna to know that he had entered into
the trap of a fraudster or what is called ‘419’ in local parlance.
Before his eyes were opened to the fraudster’s game, he had lost $1.4 million.
However, luck did not desert Lightbourne totally. He shouted to the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which came to his rescue. So far, the EFCC has
recovered some money from the fraudster, which was given back to the World Bank
chief. The anti-graft commission has also promised to recover all the money involved
and return same to him.
Lightbourne spoke to Daily Sun on his experience and the EFCC intervention. He is full
of praise for the anti-graft commission for its professionalism. He also sets an agenda
for the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.
How and when did you get involved with ‘Mustapha,’ who eventually duped you?
A friend introduced me to Mustapha from Africa, who wanted my assistance, financial
and otherwise, on a transaction he was engaged in. I met Mustapha personally, in the
summer of 2002 and he represented himself as a career diplomat for Nigeria with
involvement in South Africa, Ghana and Mali. He invited me to become involve in a
mineral and mining venture in Ghana. I was introduced to the Chairman of the Ghana
Mining Corporation, with a view to becoming involved in investments in the mining and
How much was involved?
Over the period of about two years, 2002 to 2004, I transferred approximately US$1.4
million to Mustapha.
How much has the EFCC recovered?
I learnt through my legal representatives in Nigeria that the EFCC has recovered
approximately US$800,000 in assets from Mustapha and others of his associates.
However, I have not yet received a direct confirmation from the EFCC in this respect.
However, through Mr. Lamorde, who was then director for the EFCC, I received a total of
US$80,000 between 2004 and 2005. I have not received anything thereafter, but I am
hopeful that once the case against Mustapha is concluded, there would be the
possibility of a substantial distribution in the near future.
What is your level of confidence in the EFCC, especially now that Lamorde has taken
To my knowledge, Mr. Lamorde's involvement in this matter commenced around
December 2004, at which time he notified me that the EFCC was investigating the
fraudulent activities of Mustapha and urged me to cooperate with his investigation. I
provided documentary evidence of the payments made to Mustapha for investment
purposes and he promised that the money would be recovered and returned. I have
had communications with Mr. Lamorde several times during the past four years, in his
capacity as director of the EFCC and he has always assured me that once the court
case is concluded, the funds already recovered would be returned.
I accept his assurance entirely and because he is thoroughly familiar with my case and
now in his capacity as acting Chairman of the EFCC, I am even more convinced that
once the case is successfully completed, the funds would be returned.
What is your view about the recent Nigeria's position on Rule of law and fight against
The country of Nigeria has suffered greatly in the eyes of the international community
because there is a perception that fraudulent practices are rampant, not only within the
country itself, but in the aggressive and relentless practice of some of its citizens to
fraudulently manipulate people from any country. This certainly is not a good reputation
for a country to have and certainly, should not be the kind of reputation that the Nigerian
citizens would want its beloved country to have. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon the
Nigerian government to not only establish but also implement the rule of law to fight the
ugly scars of corruption and to restore the good name of its country.
Based on your experiences with the "419" dupes in Nigeria, what lessons have you
I still receive many scam communications via e-mail, fax and ordinary mail. I have learnt
from bitter experience and from the several documentaries that have been shown on the
‘419’ scams to stay as far away as possible from this unlawful and dangerous business.
What assurances has the EFCC given you to recover fully your money?
I have received assurances from the EFCC from time to time that it would make every
effort to recover my money. The process has been long and sometimes I have felt that
the goal would not be accomplished. I was particularly concerned with the fact that my
repeated request of the EFCC to disclose exactly the amount of money they have
recovered so far has gone unanswered. But I have not lost hope and now with Mr.
Lamorde's elevation to the position of acting Chairman of the EFCC I have even greater
expectation of a substantial recovery of my funds.
What is your advice to Nigerian government in her war against corruption?
The Nigerian government is the custodian or the trustee of the good name of the people
and country. It, therefore, has a representative and responsibility to vigorously promote
and uphold the good name of Nigeria and to implement measures to eradicate
corruption for the sake of its own citizenry and to rid the rest of the world of this menacing
The country should continue to fight corruption both at home and abroad and to work
assiduously to build strong institutions and citizens of good character and to raise the
national consciousness to fight against corruption in all forms and places. The
government should establish good governance in all government institutions and to
urge its citizens and private sector corporations to do the same.
It should also practise the golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto
What connection do you have with Global Society for Anti-corruption?
I am deeply indebted to the heroic and bold efforts of the NGO, Global Society For Anti-
Corruption; its President, Frank Ezeona and others in the organization for their hard,
unselfish and untiring work to rid Nigeria of corruption. I am grateful for their efforts to
restore money and property to those, like myself, who have been defrauded. The
government and people of Nigeria also owe the organization a debt of gratitude
because of their work to rid Nigeria of corruption and establish good governance and
the rule of law. Unfortunately, this organization needs more recruits and needs greater
funding from the public and the government, if it is to carry on its noble mission to banish
corruption and to restore stolen property to their rightful owners.
The group’s president has been particularly strong and diligent in representing me
sometimes without the proper funding. He has kept me informed about every new
development in the case and has given honourable and professional representation so
far. For this, I am truly grateful.
Here is the URL of this article for as ling as it is good:
24 APR 2008
From the Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper:
Court jails man 149 years for fraud
By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo and Yetunde Oyegbami
FOR being found guilty of defrauding a Saudi Arabian national of N36.6 million ($305,
337), an Ikeja High Court has sentenced a middle aged man, Christ Michael Mbagwu, to
149 years imprisonment.
This is just as another high court jailed a level 13 officer of the Lagos State government,
Ogundimu Mumir, for three years for fraudulently selling a plot of land at N1.5 million.
Mbagwu (also known as Duru Christian Chidozie) obtained under false pretence the
$305,337 from one Hassan Zean Satoohi of Alwayi Alonleai, Saudi Arabia.
But while Mbagwu pleaded guilty to the allegations, his accomplice Emmanuel Obinna
Oguine (alias Malik Mohammed) pleaded not guilty.
In his judgment, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole said that the jail term on the 31-count charge
brought against Mgbagwu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
would run concurrently from February 2, 2005 when he was taken into custody.
Mbagwu was charged with obtaining money under false pretence, conspiracy to obtain
money by false pretence, forgery and altering of forged documents, contrary to section
419, 516, 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Cap. C17 Vol 2, Laws of Lagos State of
According to the charge sheet signed by S.K Atteh Esq, the accused sometimes in
September 2002 with the intent to defraud, conspired to obtain money by false pretence
The accused persons on October 2, 2002 with the intent to defraud, obtained the
$5,640.00 from Hassan Zean Satouhi pretending that they had $30,000 to be transferred
out of Nigeria to the foreign account of Hassan Zean Satoohi.
To facilitate and to obtain the money, the accused persons forged the contractor's
certificate of registration (category 'A' special) purporting the certificate was issued by
the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Hassan Zean Satoohi of Alwafi
Alouleai Saudi Arabia.
"I have considered the allocutus of the learned defence counsel, I have also
considered the fact that he is a first offender. From admitted facts of this case however, I
am inclined to believe that the posture of the 2nd accused is more prudence than
"In the circumstances, I hereby sentence the 2nd accused to five years imprisonment
without option of fine on each count one to 29 respectively. Two years imprisonment
without option of fine on each of counts 30 to 31 respectively. And the accused shall pay
the sum of $32,165.00 to the victim as restitution and all prison sentences shall run
concurrently and shall be reckoned from February 10, 2005 when the accused was
taken to custody," Justice Oyewole ruled.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
17 APR 2008
From BBC News UK:
Spain holds lottery scam suspects
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 e-mails, 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
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".
Here is the URL of this article for as long as it is good:
16 APR 2008
From AP via Fox TV Channel 2 St. Louis:
Postal Inspectors Return Funds From Nigerian Internet Scam
U.S. Postal Service inspectors in St. Louis return $4,500 to a St. Charles County woman
who sent money to Nigeria after she was duped in an Internet scam.
The inspectors say the case marked the first time their agency ever successfully
recovered funds sent overseas in this type of Internet scam.
Christine Shepherd, 41, met a man at an online dating site and they e-mailed for about
He falsely told her he was living in the United States, traveled to Nigeria, and then
needed money from her after being beaten up and hospitalized.
The cash she sent was intercepted by Nigerian authorities, who told the postal officials
the suspect is now serving six years for the crime.
419 Coalition note: Kudos to the Acting Director Ibrahim Lamorde
and the EFCC for recovering and repatriating the 419ed funds and
for jailing the perpetrator.
Here is the URL of the article for as long as it is good:
2 APR 2008
UK 419 Victims Wanted for Television Documentary
Channel 4 in the UK are currently producing a documentary programme about e-
mail fraud and are interesting in hearing from anyone in the UK who has been a victim of
an 419 e-mail scam - no matter how big or small the loss turned out to be.
If you would like to help raise awareness of the issue and prevent other people being
scammed, or just talk about your experince over the phone, please forward a contact
telephone number to the following e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Discretion is of course guaranteed by the producers.
19 MAR 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay:
NIPOST Seizes N28bn Fake Currencies
From Patrick Ugeh in Abuja
The Postmaster General, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, has revealed that
the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) last year intercepted over 100
forged certificates and fake currencies in different foreign denominations.
He said the fake currencies amounted to N28,810,230,644.80.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, the NIPOST chief also said
the agency intercepted 7,831 scam letters meant to defraud international
businessmen and investors.
In January 2008 alone, he said $1,840,000.00; 296,631.00 pounds sterling;
703,710.00 Euros; 917 blank cheques; 16 international passports and
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ATM cards were intercepted, while
$2,853,979.00; 1,186,650.00 British Pounds Sterling; 890,980.00 Euros; 21
international passports and 1,086 blank cheques were seized in
February... [the rest of the article deals with matters other than 419]
Here is the URL of the atricle for as long as it is good:
19 MAR 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper Daily Independent:
EFCC Arraigns Man For $59 Fraud, Forgery
By Anthony Okoro and Dolapo Oseni, Lagos
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday
arraigned a middle-aged man before a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, for an
alleged Advance Fee Fraud offence, popularly called ‘419’.
The accused, Akeem Adejumo (alias Stephen Williams), was charged
with a four-count charge of fraudulently obtaining money and forgery.
According to the charge sheet signed by the EFCC Head of Legal
Department, S. K. Atteh, the accused had, on April 25, 2007 obtained a
parcel with tracking number 857342903764, containing a Motorola mobile
cellular phone valued at $59 by false pretence, from Shyrah Johnson of
United States of America, contrary to section 1 (3) of Advance Fee Fraud
and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
He was also alleged to have forged an e-mail titled, "EFCC
Undercover," and purported it to have been written from EFCC address,
to Myles Mclellan, contrary to section 467 of the criminal Code Cap 17,
Vol. 2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.
More so, he was alleged to have been in possession of a document
containing false pretence with intent to defraud, contrary to sections 6, 8
(b) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related
Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
The presiding judge, Justice Olubunmi Joseph Oyewole, adjourned the
case to April 14 and 16, 2008 for proper trial.
The URL of the article is http://www.independentngonline.com/?c=117
&a=12775 for as long as it is good.
17 MAR 2008
From BBC News television in the UK:
Trauma victims at risk from scams
Victims of some of the most high-value scams have previously suffered
from trauma, according to a new report.
Dutch IT fraud agency Ultrascan reviewed 362 cases when victims lost
more than £150,000 and found that 308 had suffered family trauma.
The agency estimated some 300,000 advanced fee fraudsters were in
operation across the world in 2007.
Latest research from the Office of Fair Trading suggested victims were
most likely to be aged between 35 and 44.
The Ultrascan report claimed that £2.1bn was lost internationally to
advanced fee fraud, the most successful of scams for con-artists.
Victims are typically asked by e-mail to help in transferring millions of
pounds overseas, for which they would receive a cut.
The fraudster will then ask for bogus processing fees upfront or extract
victims' personal details and clear their bank accounts.
A spokesman for Ultrascan said that people, often white-collar workers,
suffering as a result of bereavement or trauma appeared to be losing out
in these scams.
"We are looking at the profile of victims to help warn others," he said.
Research published last year by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
suggested it was wrong to assume that only the vulnerable were victims
"Our research dispels the myth that only the vulnerable, elderly or naive
are taken in by scams," said the OFT report into mass-marketed scams,
the first study of its kind.
Older people were more likely to lose more money on average, the
research found, but victims were most commonly aged 35 to 44.
Those in less affluent groups were particularly at risk of foreign lottery,
career opportunity and clairvoyant scams.
Those earning more were affected by advance fee, property investor
and high-risk investment scams.
Nearly two-thirds of victims of all scams were in employment, the OFT
[The remainder of the piece doesn't have anything to do with 419]
Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:
8 MAR 2008
From the Nigerian newspaper, The Punch:
Nine Nigerians jailed for forging Ghanaian president’s letterhead
By Emeka Madunagu with agency report
An advance fee fraud (419) syndicate, made up of Nigerians who used the forged
letterheads of the President, Ministry of Finance and the signature of the Governor of the
Bank of Ghana to dupe foreigners on the Internet, has been handed a five-year jail term
by an Accra Circuit Court.
According to www.ghanaweb.com, the first accused person, Victor Okechukwu Okoye
Ibueze, now at large, was sentenced in absentia while the remaining eight, namely
Ibrahim Mato, Benson Nnadi, Budy Sampson, Raymond Popson, Ashanor Wright
Waheed, Adeotan Oluwafemi Adeniyi, Abolade Oluwaseyi Toyosi and Ekpemadu
Chukwu Andy, were all jailed.
They were each sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit crime and 18
months for possessing forged official documents. But Ibrahim Mato, using a Ghanaian
passport with the name Edward Mensah, was found guilty of forgery of passport and
sentenced to 18 months.
All the charges are to run concurrently, according to Jennifer Duodu, the trial judge.
The first accused person was the one in whose house at Achimota, a suburb of Accra,
the cyber café was situated, from which the other accused persons who are mostly
computer experts and self-styled businessmen operate.
In addition, the syndicate had a workshop at Alogboshie near Achimota where their
faulty computers were repaired to prevent their activities from being detected.
The facts of the case as read by the court, according to the prosecution, were that the
syndicate had for sometime now been using the cyber café to prepare forged
documents to convince their victims that huge sums of money had been deposited in
some banks in Ghana in their names, and that to access these monies, taxes must be
paid in Euros and US dollars.
According to the court, the accused persons managed to convince a French national
they met on the net, who is the complainant in this case, that $8.5 million had been
bequeathed him at S-G SSB Bank at Kokomlemle in Accra, so he had to pay some
money for the release of the funds.
The court noted that through some fraudulent correspondences, using the letterhead of
the President, and other forged documents, the accused persons managed to invite the
complainant to Ghana and on May 25, 2005 collected $35,000 from him as part payment.
The court noted that at that the same meeting, Ibrahim Mato, the second accused
person, posed as the manager of the International Commercial Bank, while the others
acted as solicitors and a receipt was handed to the complainant for the money paid.
The Frenchman was subsequently asked to return to his country and later remit the
Furthermore, the court stated that the complainant was made to understand that he had
to finish payment before his fortune could be transferred to him.
The judge noted that while in France, the complainant discussed the issue with a
Ghanaian friend and showed him the documents. This friend then advised the
complainant to report to the police in Ghana because the documents were forged.
Explaining further, the judge said when the complainant was invited to Ghana again by
the syndicate on September 16 2005, he alerted the police who trailed the accused
persons to the Kotoka International Airport.
They were arrested as they took the complainant from the airport towards Saint Peters
A search conducted in the house where the syndicate operated yielded computers,
eight Ghanaian passports belonging to the accused persons, ECOWAS travelling
certificates, a driver's licence, some undisclosed amounts of money in cedis and naira,
and assorted forged documents.
Other items retrieved later included letterheads of the President, signature of the Bank of
Ghana Governor, Dr. Paul Acquah, and letterheads of the Ministry of Finance, Ghana
Police Service, the High Court of Ghana, Auditor-General, among others.
419 Coalition comment: Good on the Ghanian authorities! We hope that
they will keep up the good work, it is appreciated.
23 FEB 2008
From ABC News Australia:
Arrested man a 'major player' in email scam: police
Police say it is very rare to make an arrest of this type as offenders are
notoriously hard to catch.
Police believe a Nigerian man they have arrested in Perth is a major
player in an international scam costing Australians millions of dollars a
Officers from the Western Australian computer crime squad allege the
man may have personally been involved in African advance fee fraud
offences involving up to a million dollars.
Detective Sergeant Duncan Taylor says the 29-year-old man pretended
to be a diplomat or other foreign government official, and recruited
victims online with various stories of windfalls and inheritance.
He says the arrest is significant.
"It's an extremely rare occurrence to identify and prosecute one of these
offenders in Australia, as their normal mode of operation is to hide
behind multi-jurisdictions," he said.
Sergeant Taylor says one of the victims in this case travelled to
Malaysia as part of the scam.
"On one occasion a victim was actually convinced to travel overseas at
which time he was met with associates and actually taken to a bank
where a large sum of money was withdrawn," he said.
"So he found himself in a very dangerous situation."
Here is the URL of the story for as long as it is good:
30 JAN 2008
From the US Department of Justice:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2008
TDD (202) 514-1888
Three Defendants Plead Guilty in "Advance-Fee" Fraud Scheme
Fraud Victims Lose More Than $1.2 Million
WASHINGTON Three defendants pleaded guilty to federal charges of running an
"advance-fee" scheme that targeted U.S. victims with promises of millions of dollars,
including money from an estate and a lottery, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher
of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell of the Eastern District of
New York announced today. The guilty plea proceedings were held before United
States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn,
The investigation was initiated by Dutch law enforcement authorities. After identifying
victims in the United States, the Dutch authorities notified the U.S. Postal Inspection
Service, which opened its own investigation, resulting in the charges against the
defendants. Three of the defendants were arrested in Amsterdam on February 21, 2006,
and were subsequently extradited to the United States. They are:
Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi (a/k/a Yellowman, Abdul Rahman, Michael Anderson,
Edmund Walter, Nancy White, Jiggaman, and Namo), 31, citizen of Nigeria;
Anthony Friday Ehis (a/k/a John J. Smith, Toni N. Amokwu and Mr. T), 34, citizen of
Kesandu Egwuonwu (a/k/a KeKe, Joey Martin Maxwell, David Mark, Helmut Schkinger),
35, citizen of Nigeria.
Anisiobi pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud and one count
of mail fraud. Ehis pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and five counts of wire fraud.
Egwuonwu pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and one
count of mail fraud. The fraud victims allegedly lost more than $1.2 million.
A fourth defendant, also a Nigerian citizen, Lenn Nwokeafor (a/k/a Eric Williams, Lee,
Chucks, and Nago), fled to Nigeria and was subsequently arrested by the Nigerian
Economic & Financial Crimes Commission on July 27, 2006, pursuant to a United States
arrest warrant. He is being held by the Nigerian authorities pending extradition to the
According to the indictment and an earlier filed complaint, the defendants sent "spam"
e-mails to thousands of potential victims, in which they falsely claimed to control millions
of dollars located abroad. Attempting to conceal their identities, the defendants used a
variety of aliases, phone numbers, and email addresses. In one scenario, the
defendants sent emails purporting to be from an individual suffering from terminal throat
cancer who needed assistance distributing approximately $55 million to charity. In
exchange for a victim’s help, the defendants offered to give a 20% commission to the
victim or a charity of his or her choice. Subsequently, as part of the ruse, the defendants
would send a variety of fraudulent documents, including a "Letter of Authority" or a
"Certificate of Deposit," making it appear that the promised funds were available, and
pictures of an individual claiming to suffer from throat cancer. Defendant Anisiobi
allegedly telephoned victims, disguising his voice to give the impression that he was
suffering from throat cancer.
After obtaining their victims’ trust, the defendants asked them to wire-transfer payment for
a variety of advance fees, ostensibly for legal representation, taxes, and additional
documentation. In return, the victims received nothing. In a variation of the scheme, if the
victims said they could not afford to pay the advance fees, the defendants would send
them counterfeit checks, supposedly from a cancer patient, to cover those fees. Many
victims deposited the checks and then drew on them to wire-transfer the advance fees.
Subsequently, when the checks did not clear, the victims suffered substantial losses.
"Online scam artists should be on notice that we will continue to work closely with our
international partners to ensure that there are no safe geographic boundaries for
committing these crimes," said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal
Division. "These defendants preyed upon the kindness and charity of their victims by
sending thousands of scam emails aimed at their recipients’ heartstrings," stated United
States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. "If you receive an email offering you money in
exchange for an advance fee, you would be well advised to delete it."
The maximum penalty for mail and wire fraud is 20 years in prison. The conspiracy
charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and prosecuted by
Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Mary (Kit) Dimke, Amanda Riedel, and Nicola Mrazek,
Paralegal Pamela Johnson, and Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Hill.
Here is the URL of the announcement for as long as it is good:
7 JAN 2008
As reported in all the Nigerian media, there has been a major flap
over the EFCC (the primary Nigerian counter-419 agency) in the Nigerian
government going on for the last several weeks and continuing.
In essence, elements in the government want the Director of the EFCC,
Nuhu Ribadu, to step down and attend a nine-month Nigeria Police
academy staff officer training course. Other elements in the Nigerian
government want Ribadu replaced entirely, still others want him to
stay on the job.
We at 419 Coalition would like for Ribadu to stay on the job. If that
cannot be managed, we'd prefer that he be seconded to the staff
college and return as Director of the EFCC at the completion of the
course. In that case, we'd prefer that the Deputy Director of the EFCC,
Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, serve as Acting Director during Ribadu's absence.
The EFCC is the first counter-419 effort in the history of the Nigerian
government to get any meaningful results whatever. Both Ribadu and
Lamorde are internationally respected proven counter-419 operatives
and have been instrumental in getting those results. Continuity is
conducive to successful counter-419 operations; turmoil in Nigeria's
primary counter-419 agency is not.
We here at 419 Coalition say that it would be foolish to change horses
in mid-stream at the EFCC. And we want the current flap to be quickly
resolved so the EFCC staff can get back to work, as there is much to
be done and all this hooha is not helping the counter-419 effort.
419 Coalition note: This matter was ultimately concluded by Nuhu Ribadu
being seconded to the police staff college for the bulk of 2008, with Ibrahim
Lamorde assuming the post of Acting Director of the EFCC while Ribadu
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