A 67 year old man was arrested in Louisiana after he posed as a Nigerian Prince to try and scam people out of thousands of dollars through email. An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well.
Michael Neu, 67, faces 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering after being taken into custody following an 18-month investigation. According to police, Neu acted as a “middle man” for a group of Nigerian scammers, obtaining money and wiring funds to his co-conspirators. There are many variations on this type of scam, including the 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam.The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails. The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.
This scam usually begins with the perpetrator contacting the victim via email, instant messaging or social media using a fake email address or fake social media account and making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim. An email subject line may say something like "From the desk of barrister [Name]", "Your assistance is needed", and so on. The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which he cannot access directly, usually because he has no right to it. Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist, could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader who has amassed a stolen fortune, a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives, or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash (leaving no will or known next of kin).
Some even pretend to be a US soldier who has stumbled upon a hidden cache of gold in Iraq, a business being audited by the government, a disgruntled worker or corrupt government official who has embezzled funds, a refugee,and similar characters. The money could be in the form of gold bullion, gold dust, money in a bank account, blood diamonds, a series of checks or bank drafts, and so forth. The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the investor is promised a large share, typically ten to forty percent, in return for assisting the fraudster to retrieve or expatriate the money. Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile, as many millions of messages can be sent daily.