Nigeria - 419 Coalition 2006 News on Nigerian Scam / 419 Operations

31 DEC 2006
From Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper:

Nuhu Ribadu: The anti-corruption czar 
By Ochereome Nnanna 

Vanguard Editors, at a meeting a fortnight ago, chose Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman 
of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as the newspaper’s Man-of-
the-Year 2006. It was not a unanimous vote, but the lead was comfortable enough for the 
few stragglers to finally concede that indeed, this lanky Fulani-born police officer and 
lawyer who likes to dress up in safari suits, touched lives and influenced events, for 
better or worse, in Nigeria more than any other person or issue in the past year.
[the article continues]

419 Coalition Note:  We thank Messrs. Ribadu and Lamorde and
the rest of the EFCC staff for their efforts, and say "more grease 
to their elbows" in 2007.

20 DEC 2006
Here is more Nigerian "take" on the recent ABC News 20/20 
piece on 419 (see 8 DEC 2006, 11 DEC 2006, and 12 DEC 2006  
News).  This is from The Guardian,  a Nigerian newspaper:

ABC News' unfair attack on Nigeria

NIGERIA bashing has become a favourite pastime of American media. First it was the 
Cable News Network (CNN) with a story of Nigeria as a den of artful identity theft and 
bank fraudsters fleecing Americans. Now the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) - 
America 's second largest network - has followed up with a rejoinder in which Nigeria is 
perceived as a beehive of 419 activities.

In the same week that Mr. Frank Nweke, the Minister of Information, accompanied by two 
other ministers and a host of other notables, was laundering the 'Heart of Africa' image 
of Nigeria to an American audience, the ABC News carried an unflattering story on 
Nigeria. An ABC reporter came to Lagos and after visiting the rundown metropolis of 
Oshodi declared that Lagos is a crime-ridden disgrace of a city. While in Nigeria, the 
reporter visited several cyber cafes where he found Nigerians sending mass e-mails 
designed to lure greedy Americans into their lair. The reporter even participated in a 
fake delivery to a 419 operator.

The minister's entourage must have been thoroughly embarrassed by the merciless 
attack on Nigerians at home and abroad. But for many Nigerians in America where the 
programme was aired, there was outrage at the adverse characterisation of Nigeria as 
a crime-prone country in which all manner of vices have taken root and are flourishing. 
They point out that in the United States, there are many Nigerian professionals, 
academics and businessmen of sterling quality whose contributions to the great 
American enterprise are not in doubt. 

Nigerians at home are no less offended. The idea that the activities of a few miscreants 
in our midst are being used to stigmatise an entire nation cannot be supported. 
Moreover, even the U.S. government admits that the Nigerian government is doing its 
utmost to wipe out all forms of corruption including cyber cafe crimes. Criminal activity by 
its nature is not the preserve of any one nation or people and all are susceptible to it, 
including the U.S.

The so-called 419 Nigerian scam has received unprecedented publicity on the internet, 
so that gullible and greedy Americans must have themselves to blame for ignoring a 
warning writ large on almost all web sites. We cannot deny that the image of this country 
has been soiled by a few miscreants in our midst. Neither can we deny that 419 - a 
section under the Criminal Code of Nigeria dealing with obtaining under false pretences 
- has entered into the lexicography of the world. But the truth is that most Nigerians are 
honest, hard-working people who are doing their best in a difficult environment where 
governments have frequently distanced themselves from the real problems of the 

It is this condition that leads individuals to a culture of self-help which in some cases 
results in criminal activity. But criminality as a concept is condemned by the vast 
majority of our people. Most Nigerians are religious and law abiding and must feel 
offended at the thought that the world now sees us as habitual criminals. Western 
reporters breezing in and out of Nigeria are fond of making assertions based on 
insufficient knowledge. 

They exaggerate the bad aspects of Nigeria while remaining oblivious of the good 
qualities that are in greater abundance. Lagos is much more than the notorious bazaar 
of Oshodi. Lagos also boasts of villas and facilities that compare with the best 
elsewhere. Moreover the vibrancy and the robust sense of humour of the Nigerian have 
earned us the epithet of the happiest people on earth. If Nigeria has a problem, it has to 
do with governance or the lack of it and accountability. There is a basic disconnect 
between the government and the governed. 

Our infrastructure is in a state of decay, there are bad roads everywhere, garbage on 
the streets, crises in education, lack of employment for school graduates, a few hours of 
electricity per day even for industry, and lack of good drinking water for the majority of 
our people. Our law enforcement is not quite up to the mark with too many unsolved 
murders and continuing violence in the polity. The gap between the rich and the poor is 
now at its widest margin since Nigeria attained independence and yet the country has 
more than $40 billion in external reserves. How to use our resources to transform the 
lives of Nigerians is the challenge facing our governments at federal, state and local 

Nearly eight years of civilian administration has unfortunately not transformed the lives 
of our people. As believers in democracy, we continue to hope for better times. In the 
meantime, we remain convinced that no amount of seminars in hotel suites or 
advertisements on the airwaves can successfully project the image of Nigeria when we 
ignore the basics of good governance. This may well be the point which the ABC 
reporter so irreverently tried to bring home to us.

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

419 Coalition Note:  We think that the 20/20 "419er Bashed" rather 
than "Nigeria bashed".  The general situation in Nigeria is what
it is, good and bad, and that was not the focus of the piece.  419
Advance Fee Fraud was the focus of the piece.  Not this crime,
not that crime, not crime here, not crime there, but Nigerian 419
Advance Fee Fraud.  That is what the piece was about.

We thought the piece made it clear that the vast majority of Nigerians
at home and abroad are hard working, law abiding people (and
we of course agree with that).  But Nigeria does indisputably have
a problem with Nigerian criminal 419 Advance Fee Fraud criminals
operating from Nigeria and "branch offices" abroad.  The problem
is massive and longstanding.  In fact, it is fair to say that Nigerian
419 is one of the longest running and most effective direct mass
marketing campaigns in history, albeit a criminal one.  As such.
with 419 solicitations arriving en masse in homes and offices of
people all over the world each day for the last 20 years, it would
be absurd to think that people's opinion of Nigeria and Nigerians
would not be shaped by the deluge, rightly or wrongly.

In terms of the Nigerian authorities doing their "utmost" in combating
419, that they are doing Anything at All is a relatively recent (but very
welcome) thing.  The EFF has indeed arrested a couple of thousand
people over the last fest years, and there have been some convictions,
though not many to date.  The EFCC also says it has recovered nearly
a Billion dollars in 419ed funds, and claims it has returned most of
that to somebody, that they (the EFCC) have not kept it.  However,
the fact is, that very little given the amounts said to have been
recovered has been repatriated to victims, which of course brings
up the obvious question.... where are the recovered funds and
When will they be repatriated to the victims?  In short, in terms
of both counter-419 operations and in terms of repatriation of
stolen funds to victims of 419, only the tip of the iceberg has
been dealt with so far there is a long, long, way to go.  We think
that the EFCC has made a good Beginning but it will take a 
long term, sustained effort over many years to get Nigerian 419
AFF reducted to nuisance levels.  But at least the EFCC is
indeed Trying, and that in itself is welcome.  We look forward
to a continuation and expansion of their efforts over the next
years, and trust that the lack of repatriation of recovered funds
to victims situation will improve over time.

Finally, here is a comment on the Guardian editorial by
Mr. Rotimi Ogunsuyi, a Nigerian  expat living and working 
in Chicago which appeared in  Nigeria oriented discussion 
group called Naijanet, at Googe Groups.  He also wrote
an earlier essay on the 20/20 piece, see 12 DEC 2006
News below for that. 

Here are his comments, verbatim:

Guardian's jingoisitc "editorial" is full of lies and half truths. 

My question to the editor of the Guardian, will he take a check from 
me? I bet the dude or dudess will not even take a check from most 
people at the Guardian. Yet he pretends the problem is with ABC and 

If the Guardian and other Nigerian newspapers continue to engage in 
massive cover-up of the moral corruption in Nigeria, including the 
retail kind called 419, why are they angry that foreign press has taken 
over what should rightly be their role? 

When was the last time Guardian or any of the other major mainstream 
Nigerian newspapers expose any crime or scam in Nigeria? Yet they 
continue to try to insulate themselves from what is not really a secret 
in Nigeria, especially Lagos, where everybody spends every waking hour 
trying to out-smart (scam) the other. 

Building fortresses is not the answer to Nigeria's problem. We have to 
admit we have a problem, not an image problem. 

Very untrue, very biased - if you ask me. 

Rotimi Ogunsuyi 
Chicago, IL 

13 DEC 2006
Our associates Ultrascan in the Netherlands report that
13 Nigerian 419 scammers have been arrested there, most
for Lottery 419 and Inheritance 419.  Their victims were 
from the US, Jamaica, and Germany with losses ranging 
from 8,000 to 250,000 each, it is reported.

12 DEC 2006
This is a short essay by Mr. Rotimi Ogunsuyi, a Nigerian 
expat living and working in Chicago.  It appeared in a 
Nigeria oriented discussion group called Naijanet, at 
Google Groups (which is an excellent group for anyone
interested in Nigeria, we might add).  It just put things 
so well, we asked for and received permission to post it 
in our News section, so here it is:

Awe(?) Ola,

This debate on how to react to Nigerian scam artists is not new and probably will never 
be conclusively resolved. There are some who argue that it is the victim's greed that 
ultimately does them in because why would anyone actually believe that some stranger 
would send money to another unconnected stranger out of the 6 billion inhabitants of this 
planet Earth!

My sympathy is with the victim for three reasons:

1. In any foul situation, we must never ignore who initiated the contact, not just that 
two legs were broken. In ALL 419 situations, the Nigerian scamsters initiate the contact.

 2. We are not all of equal intelligence and a decent society must always protect its most 
vulnerable. That is the mark of a civilized society. All those who blame the victim's 
greed only must remember that we all have different thresholds of gullibility. This 
happens because of different reasons including education, age and God-given 
sensibility. (Mine is very high BTW. Maybe that's why I may never be very rich :) 

We cannot on one hand go to churches, mosques and other places of worship and on 
the other hand cheer on those who prey on the weakest of nature and call that a fair 
game or even a game for that matter.

3. If not sanctioned, the 419ners will come back to haunt Nigerians. In fact, they already 
are. There are many of us who have either been scammed or been intended victims. 
How many of our older parents have either been scammed or almost scammed with 
one story or the other about someone delivering money from their children abroad - on 
the payment of a "small" sum?

My eighty-year old father escaped by the whiskers of his sixth sense about ten years 
ago. He just had the intuition to order the driver to run for it at Ilesha. As he gets older, 
how alert would he be?

The reasons more Nigerians are not victimized right now is a paradigm of bank 
robbery. There was a notorious bank robber who was asked why he kept holding up 
banks. He smiled and point blank retorted: "Because that's where the money is". The 
reason we have largely escaped being victimized by these 419 scoundrels is because 
Nigeria is still by and large a destitute country. Unless we really don't aspire to more 
prosperity, as Nigeria gets wealthier, more would be just as susceptible to being 
scammed as the foreign "muguns".

Lastly, the 419ners hurt you and I in ways we would never really know.

If you have been held up several times by natives of a particular community, would it be 
unwise for you to start suspecting anybody from that community when they come to your 
store? Would you hire anybody from that community to man your cash register? Would 
you hire them for any job of big responsibility at all? Would you invest in that particular 
community of all available communities of the world, unless you were from there?

 Some would advance that foreigners invest in Nigeria anyway. I argue that we are 
getting a small fraction of what we would if our image is not so battered by the crooks 
that some so lawyerly cuddle. Even Nigerians would be more enthusiastic about 
investing in Nigeria.

As it is now, these criminals are dragging the country back. There is no way of sugar-
coating it and no amount of image laundry by Information Minister Nweke can veil that.

In the end, I argue that these Nigerians are making "muguns" of their sympathizers and 
they need to wake up and join the fight to reduce, if not eliminate the scourge of 419 on 
our collective image.

Have a nice and productive week working hard and honestly everybody.
Rotimi Ogunsuyi
Chicago, IL

11 DEC 2006
Here is a Nigerian take on the 20/20 News piece on 419
(see 8 DEC News below) from The Guardian, a Nigerian

Uproar as American TV airs report on Nigerian scams


ON the same week that three Nigerian ministers visited the United States to launch the 
Federal Government's new image laundering programme named the Heart of Africa, 
the second leading US network TV, ABC described Lagos, "a crime-ridden disgrace of 
a city."
In a stinging report on fraud among Nigerians at home and in the United States, the ABC 
report-20/20-an investigative programe broadcast on Friday even played parts of a 
musical video and soundtrack of the movie "The Master" which depicts how fraudsters 

The report played clips from the film and from the musical video, even drawing from the 
words used in the musical that "419" victims are the "muguns", and the "419" operatives 
are the masters. The report blamed the film and the music video for celebrating 419 and 
treating their kingpins "folk heroes." The report says the film mocks the "muguns."

The programme which was broadcast on Friday evening, got US-based Nigerians 
worried and troubled. A Nigerian Lawyer in the US said by the next day, he had 
received several calls from his clients and partners asking questions about the report 
on Nigeria. Others feared that on resumption of work today, their colleagues would 
bombard them with all kinds of questions and even negative attitude as a result of the 
ABC report.

Presented by Brian Ross, the report which took about 30 minutes including commercial 
breaks dwelt on how Nigerian 419 agents in the US lay prey for their American victims, 
showing scenes in Washington, DC, Dallas and California where the ABC investigative 
teams confronted some of them on camera having disguised as willing victims of fraud. 
At first, the "419" operatives were not aware they were being filmed by undercover 
cameras. Once they knew they were on films, they turned apologetic and repentant.

The ABC report did not show whether the investigative team turned the 419 operatives to 
the police. But the most telling part of the report was the ABC team's visit to Lagos, which 
the report say has a population of 20 million. Showing parts of Oshodi, the report 
described Lagos as a "crime-ridden disgrace of a city."

Before visiting Nigeria, the ABC news team had played along with the "419" operatives 
and promised to send advance cash of $12,000 to Lagos after receiving a letter from the 
e-mail that promised them $25m once they send the advance fee. The ABC team 
parked monopoly paper money in a DHL box and sent it to Lagos. They arrived with 
their teams and proceeded to a DHL office were someone had come to claim the mail. 
There, the ABC team confronted the "419" accomplice who had by then picked up the 
box mailed by the Americans reporters from the US.

The ABC report also showed how 419 operatives used Internet cafes in Lagos to send 
mass e-mails to Americans preying on what the report accurately described as the 
"greed" of the Americans themselves. Although the report says there are scams all over 
the world from Europe to Nigeria, this report focusses primarily on what it called 
"Nigerian scams."

Only last, week Nigeria's Information Minister Frank Nweke, while speaking with the 
Nigerian press here in the US, said Nigeria continued to be unfairly profiled. Although he 
and Nigerians abroad acknowledged the existence of this "419" operatives at home 
and here in the US, they still argued that such Nigerians were being isolated in a world 
where criminal minds are not the exclusive afflictions of one country. They point to other 
criminal gangs, families and operations all over the world especially in the US and 

Nweke said the crime committed by ENRON alone in the US, by whatever name it is 
called, has a far greater impact on Americans and the entire financial system of the 
world than Nigerian fraudsters, but the western press has not focussed on it the way they 
focus on the few Nigerians involved in fraud.

The ABC report which also featured EFCC officials including some of their raids on 
Internet cafe where the "419" letters are being sent, however showed that the Nigerian 
government is now confronting the menace.

419 Coalition Comment:  Somebody needs to remind Minister Nweke that
419 Scams are by definition West African, primarly Nigerian, related Advance
Fee Fraud scams, and that, although there are indeed many criminal gangs
of other nationalities all over the world, this news report was on 419 crimes
not those other crimes.  And, in truth, the 419 crimes are much more "in the
face" of people all over the world every day as masses of 419 materials
arrive in their homes and offices each day than many other types of crime.
That's one of the most annoying things about 419... the ubiquitouness of
419 criminal operations.  And yes, Nigeria has finally done some things
to deal with 419, but the matter is so Huge that only the tip of the iceberg
has been addressed to date, and the effect on Nigerian 419 operations
of Nigerian government efforts remains largely at nuisance levels.  Much
more needs to be done, and the effort needs to be sustained for many
years, if the Nigerian government is to get 419 operations minimized.

8 DEC 2006
ABC News 20/20 and journalist Brian Ross did an excellent 30
minute piece on 419.  It was one of the better educational 
pieces we have seen of late, and included descriptions of 419 
operations, the stories of several high profile victims of 419, 
and sting operations on camera showing Nigerian 419 scammers 
caught red-handed in both the US and Nigeria.

There were also excellent descriptions and videos of Black 
Currency 419 operations.

It also featured an interview with Ibrahim Lamorde, the Director of
Operations of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) in which he desribed both EFCC counter-419er efforts and
explained the sheer magnitude of the problem.

An arrest by EFCC operatives of a 419 scammer caught signing 
for a delivery of 419 materials was shown, as was an EFCC 
raid on a Lagos cyber-cafe frequented by 419ers in which a 
vanload of 419ers were taken into custody.  

The Lagos mansion of a former 419 kingpin which had been
seized by the EFCC was shown, as was footage of the former
Head of the Nigerian police, Tafa Balogun, who has been
convicted of various large scale financial frauds, including,
the program said, of accepting bribes from 419 kingpins (we
had not heard that specific allegation against Balogun before,
though always assumed it was the case).

The piece with the help of the US Postal Inspection Service 
did a good job of showing how 419 operations use snailmail and 
fax as well as email to troll for targets.  Although the trend
has segued into email in recent years, 419 began with snailmail
in the early 80's, then moved to combo snailmail and fax in the
early to mid-90's, and then to both of those Plus email in the
late 1990's. 

The only criticisms we have of the piece are that it made 
Nigerian 419 operations seem like a 419ers vs Americans
sort of thing, when in fact 419ers steal from victims in 
nearly every nation of of the world.  419 is a truly global 
phenomenon which transcends all national, cultural, and ethnic 
lines - and 419ers have been doing it successfully, large scale, 
for over 20 years.  419ers are equal opportunity thieves.

Also, the piece made it sound like the authorities in the US and
in Nigeria are having a major impact on 419 operations,
which is simply not the case.  Of course, anything is better
than nothing, but 419 operations are so Huge that the efforts
of authorities to date have been little more than a minor
impediment to 419 operations, and this is especially true
within Nigeria.  Though the EFCC is trying, the problem
is so large that it will take years and years of effort to
bring 419 emanating from Nigeria down to nuisance levels.

Here are some URLs to some of the video on the piece,
which was titled "Scamming the Scammers" by the way,
for as long as they are good:

You can purchase transcripts of the 12/08/2006 20/20
show, including the segment "Scamming the Scammers"
at this URL, for as long as it is good:

4 DEC 2006
Our colleagues at .NExt Web Security say that ABC News 20/20
program will do a piece on Nigerian 419 AFF Friday 8 December.
Supposed to be a good piece with 419 scam complete with  419ers
on camera, fake Nigerian government employees, a sting and bust 
of 419ers in Nigeria etc.  So tune in Friday evening.

Also, we would like to note that it is the last few days of the 
first  ever art show and expo dedicated to 419 AFF operations, which 
is being held in Vic, Barcelona, Spain through 10 DEC.  The show has 
gotten good reviews, though the "Spanish Prisoner" subtitle of the show 
is a bit of artistic license, and is definitely worth a look if you are 
in the area.  Here once again is a press release on the show, which 
we gave in our 2 NOV 2006 News:

There will an art exhibit on 419 Sala H, Vic, Spain under the
auspices of the Barcelona Cultural Studio.  Here is the press 
release for the event:

419, or 'THE SPANISH PRISONER' , at the Sala H 

The cycle "Where Far Ends Meet" finalizes with a project on the Nigerian e-mail scam 
known as the 419, developed by myself [Jeffrey Swartz, Canadian exhibitions curator 
and art critic, residing in Spain] and Catalan artist Pep Dardanyà, opening on Friday 
November 10. 

Part of the space will be dedicated to a documentary portrait of the 419 advanced fee 
fraud, including an analysis of the internet culture that facilitates its success, its legal 
ramifications, the world of anti-scam activism and scam-baiting, as well as a view into 
present day Nigeria and the cultural dynamics of Lagos where the scam originated.

Pep Dardanyà contributes the video installation "Co-relation 1.1", which astutely points 
up the contradictions and ambivalences of culture contact between post-colonial 
Nigeria and the First World.

Full overview of the documentation to be exhibited and internet links related to the show 
will be posted here soon. A more complete press release is available here .

Project produced in collaboration with Centre d'Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, where it 
will be shown in Sala Consulta in October, 2007.

Here is another press release on the show:

Press release: 419, or ´THE SPANISH PRISONER´


a project by Pep Dardanyà and Jeffrey Swartz

Sala H, Vic

Opening: November 10, 2006, at 8 PM

Open until December 10, 2006

419 is the name of one of the best known types of e-mail scams, activated by means of 
the massive sending of spam. Originating out of the Festac neighbourhood in Lagos, 
Nigeria, the typical 419 tells a story out of present-day Africa featuring dictators, military 
coups, fatal accidents, murders and offers a large sum of money to the person willing to 
assist in freeing up a fortune blocked in a bank account in Nigeria or another African 
country. This scam has been so successful over recent years that it is considered to be 
one of the main sources of income in Nigeria, rivalling the oil industry, with estimates of 
billions of dollars moved each year.

The number ‘419’ refers to the article of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with postal 
fraud. In the English-speaking world this type of fraud was already known in the 
seventeenth century as"the Spanish prisoner", a term which inspired the film of the 
same name by David Mamet, from 1997. It is now commonly referred to as ‘advance 
fee’ fraud. [419 Coalition Note: In reality, the notion that the roots of 419 are somehow
in the Spanish Prisoner scam is a bit of a canard, as the roots of 419 are actually in
centuries old traditional West African scams like the "red mercury" scam, whereby
one must wash something valuable in "red mercury" for it to be usable, and one
must of course first buy the red mercury solution to do it with etc.  But, after all, 
this is an Art show and a little "artistic license" is therefore quite understandable 
that being the case  :)   Also, the term 419 comes from an obsolete section of the
Nigerian criminal code (and before that the criminal code of Lagos State in
Nigeria), concerning the obtaining of monies by false pretence, and was not
limited to only postal fraud.  But once again, this is a small detail, and 
this is of course an Art show not a dissertation or somesuch. ]

419, or ‘THE SPANISH PRISONER’ is conceived as an exhibition on the multiple facets 
of this type of digital scam. One part is a documentary display analyzing the culture of 
Internet interaction, the business of e-mail scams and resultant criminal investigations 
and anti-fraud activism, the context of modern Nigeria - vibrant, source of Afrobeat 
music, frequently corrupt, though the place where Nollywood has emerged, the third 
largest  movie industry in the world in numbers of films produced, which often deal with 
419 -  and  attempts to draw closer to the world of the 419 from different perspectives, 
including websites on 419 culture and humorous scam baiting.

The exhibition also features a work in the format of a TV ad created specifically on the 
theme by Barcelona visual artist Pep Dardanyà.  Dardanyà has developed an 
audiovisual installation, Co-relation 1.1, that deals with the complex relationships of 
power and money between post-colonial Africa and the globalizing First World. 

Produced in collaboration with the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona
For more information:

Sala H

Associació per a les Arts Contemporànies

93 889 1056

Jeffrey Swartz

(+34) 655 116 250

Here is the URL of the first above English language article for as long as it is good:

Here is the URL of a Spanish language article on the show for as long as it is good:

Here is another URL of a Spanish language article of the show for as long as it is good:

6 NOV 2006
From The Sun, a Nigerian newspaper:

Obasanjo’s aide in money laundering mess
- Plus the Otta farm connection

A United States District Court of Portland, Oregon, has seized money believed to have 
been laundered from Mr Andy Uba, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Senior Special 
Assistant on Domestic Affairs.

Accrding to investigation by the U.S secret service, the sum of $170,000 (about N25 
million at the time) was smuggled into New York on September 22, 2003, by Andy Uba 
aboard the Nigerian presidential plane, without a report to U.S customs and border 
protection as legally required.

The investigation report says Uba (full name, Emmanuel Nnamdi (Andy) Uba) handed 
the money to one Loretta Mabinton, who claimed in court documents that the 
presidential aide is her fiancé, and that he gave her the money to take care of his affairs 
in the U.S.

Another curious side to the money laundering scandal is the disclosure in the U.S secret 
service report that a portion of the money, $45,487.28 (about N6.5 million) was used to 
pay Mabinton’s MBNA credit card account, which was deployed to purchase assorted 
farm equipment that were shipped to Obasanjo farms in Otta, Ogun State.

The report equally says $91,262.50 (about N12.9 million) was used to purchase a 
Mercedes Benz car SL500 for Uba, which was to be shipped to Nigeria.

The car, and the remainder of the laundered funds, have now been ordered seized by 
the U.S District court of Oregon, being proceeds of bulk cash smuggling, violations of 
currency and monetary instrument reporting requirements, currency transaction 
reporting requirements, and money laundering.

Loretta Mabinton had confessed to U.S law enforcement agents that she flew into New 
York on September 22, 2003, and received $170,000 from Uba while he was at the 
United Nations Plaza Hotel. The latter had accompanied President Obasanjo to New 
York to attend a meeting of the United Nations. 

U.S law enforcement agents also indicate that the Service Atlanta field office 
had listed  Andy Uba as a previous subject of an Advance Fee Fraud (419) 
investigation, and that  the $170,000 was not wired into Mabinton’s accounts 
because it would have brought  attention to numerous other past suspicious 
transactions. [highlight by 419 Coalition]

The implications of all these, according to diplomatic sources, is that President 
Obasanjo’s plane may be impounded over illegal importation of bulk cash into the U.S 
the next time it lands on any American territory, while Uba himself remains under 
surveillance whenever he steps into the U.S.

The forfeiture order of the remainder of the cash ($26,000) as well as the Mercedes Benz 
SL 500 car was signed by United States District Judge, Malcolm F. Marsh, on 
September 27, this year.

In an affidavit deposed to by special agent, Guy Gino, who investigated the case from 
2003 when the money was reportedly ferried into the U.S aboard the presidential plane, 
"$45,487.28 was utilized to pay Mabinton’s MBNA credit card account. The credit card 
was utilized by Mabinton to purchase farm equipment (that was shipped to Obasanjo 
Farms Nigeria Ltd. The farm is owned by Nigerian President Obasanjo)."

The affidavit also stated that throughout 2003, "Mabinton’s statements show numerous 
high-dollar transactions including funds wired into and out of her account from multiple 
and suspicious sources.  The financial analysis of these bank accounts showed that 
throughout 2003, Mabinton was living well above her means."

Below is full text of affidavit of special agent Guy Gino, which eventually led to forfeiture 
of the car and money reportedly belonging to Andy Uda to American authorities:
[the article continues and the entire Affadvit in this case]

Here is the URL of the entire piece for as long as it is good:

4 NOV 2006
From the Portland Press Herald, Portland Maine:

Victim who fell for scam pulls his own

By GREGORY D. KESICH, Staff Writer

A Westbrook man who lost $60,000 of his own money in a fraudulent Internet scheme run 
out of Africa now faces a federal prison sentence for using $78,600 of other people's 
money after his funds ran out.

Todd Denson, 46, told investigators that he received an e-mail that convinced him he 
could get an inheritance worth more than $9 million from a murdered man in Ghana by 
sending $1,000 overseas.

Denson sent the money, followed by another $59,000. Eventually he ran out of his own 
money and told a variety of stories to get money from other "investors." He convinced 
one victim to invest in patented window-washing inventions and another to invest in an 
international construction company.

On Thursday, Denson pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in 
Portland and faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and will owe restitution to his 
seven victims.

His case offers a cautionary tale for people who think they can get rich quickly, said 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark.

"The old saying is true: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Clark 

Denson, who owned a window-washing business, and his victims are among an 
unknown number of Americans who have fallen for Internet scams that are estimated by 
the U.S. Secret Service to cost the public millions every year.

The scams have become so popular that state attorneys general have enlisted the help 
of Western Union offices to warn people before they send money overseas. Maine 
banks are looking into ways that employees can, without violating customer 
confidentiality, intercede on behalf of customers who look as though they are about to 
lose their money. 

"Maine financial institutions are wrestling with this problem," said Will Lund, director of 
the state Office of Consumer Credit Regulation. The schemes are sometimes known as 
"Nigerian frauds" because many of them originated in that country. They operated 
through mailed letters and fax machines for decades before they moved to the Internet 
in the 1990s. 

They usually start with a letter from someone claiming to be a former government 
official, a general or a dead dictator's widow who needs a small amount of money to 
access a huge fortune. But once a victim starts sending money, snags occur and 
require another payment.

According to court records, Denson, who had the window-washing business and was 
going through a divorce, received an e-mail saying he was entitled to $9 million if he 
paid a $1,000 transfer fee.

After he spent $60,000, he was told he had to send an additional $36,000 to collect the 
money. Since he had no more money, Denson said, he had to find other "investors."
Denson is out on bail while awaiting sentencing and could not be reached Friday for 
comment. His lawyer, Joel Vincent, did not return a phone message left at his office 

In the summer of 2005, according to court records, Denson placed a classified ad in the 
Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram under the headline "Investors 
Wanted." A local man, who is not named in court records, responded to the ad. Denson 
convinced the man that he had earned millions from his window-washing inventions, but 
needed the cash to access his money without paying taxes.

He said he needed $40,000 for 48 hours and promised a $20,000 return on the loan. The 
money was never repaid.

Denson told another investor that his father had died and left him $9 million in an 
overseas account, and that he needed $11,200 to pay the inheritance tax so he could 
collect it.

Denson sold his Mercedes-Benz to a friend for $4,000, and then never delivered the car 
or title.

Studying Western Union records, investigators determined that Denson did not keep 
the money. He wired it overseas instead.

Maine Assistant Attorney General Jim McKenna said he regularly receives solicitation 
e-mails forwarded to his office, but has only heard from one person who says he was 
fooled in a scam.

It is difficult to say how many people fall for them, McKenna said, because most of the 
scams enlist the victim into an illegal activity, such as tax evasion. When people get 
stung, they usually don't report it to law enforcement, he said.

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

2 NOV 2006
There will an art exhibit on 419 Sala H, Vic, Spain under the
auspices of the Barcelona Cultural Studio.  Here is the press 
release for the event:

419, or 'THE SPANISH PRISONER' , at the Sala H 

The cycle "Where Far Ends Meet" finalizes with a project on the Nigerian e-mail scam 
known as the 419, developed by myself [Jeffrey Swartz, Canadian exhibitions curator 
and art critic, residing in Spain] and Catalan artist Pep Dardanyà, opening on Friday 
November 10. 

Part of the space will be dedicated to a documentary portrait of the 419 advanced fee 
fraud, including an analysis of the internet culture that facilitates its success, its legal 
ramifications, the world of anti-scam activism and scam-baiting, as well as a view into 
present day Nigeria and the cultural dynamics of Lagos where the scam originated.

Pep Dardanyà contributes the video installation "Co-relation 1.1", which astutely points 
up the contradictions and ambivalences of culture contact between post-colonial 
Nigeria and the First World.

Full overview of the documentation to be exhibited and internet links related to the show 
will be posted here soon. A more complete press release is available here .

Project produced in collaboration with Centre d'Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, where it 
will be shown in Sala Consulta in October, 2007.

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

24 OCT 2006
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:

Fraudsters Hijack N/Assembly Website

From Chuks Akunna in Abuja

The National Assembly has raised alarm on the activities of fraudsters who allegedly 
use the Assembly’s official websites to defraud unsuspecting persons, including 

In a warning message posted on the Assembly’s websites, the legislative arm said it 
found the activities of "dishonest and disreputable Nigerians" who pose as either 
Senators or members of the House of Representatives to defraud very embarrassing.
The Nigerians involved in the activities, the statement said, "are mainly perpetrators 
of the reprehensible e-mail scamming practices that have become a national 

According to the National Assembly, the scammers usually pose as chairmen of 
committees in either arm of the Assembly and offer juicy business deals and contracts, 
including offering to transact business on behalf of the Nigerian government.

The statement advised persons who get such messages to contact the Economic and 
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on, the U.S. Secret 
Service Financial Crimes Division on, or its webmaster on

The statement with the caption "Warning", reads:  "It has come to our notice that 
dishonest Nigerians are using the Nigeria Congress Web site for despicable activities. 
These Nigerian are mainly perpetrators of the reprehensible e-mail scamming 
practices that have become a national embarrassment."

The officials warned "disreputable Nigerians who would want to use the Nigeria Cong-
ress Web site; http://www.nigerian and as reference of validity for their mail scamming and 

The officials cautioned that fraudsters "will either claim to be a Senator or a 
representative in the Nigerian National Assembly, heading a committee involved with 
some foreign contract, foreign payment or foreign currency disbursement on the behalf 
of the Nigerian Government."

The usual offer the statement disclosed, "is to use a foreign account to transfer monies."  

If you receive any such mail messages, the warning said "please contact You can also report to the Nigerian Economic and 
Financial Crimes Commi-ssion or the U.S. Secret Service 
Financial Crimes Division  "

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

19 OCT 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper Daily Sun:

Yahoo boys in police net 

Three young men have been held by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 
(EFCC) after they swindled a foreigner of 3,600 dollars. 
The suspects, who are now undergoing interrogation at the EFCC office, in Ikoyi, Lagos, 
are identified as Kareem Lateef, Temitope Sola Disu and Hassan Abiodun David. 

The suspects were said to have met their waterloo on August 21 when Lateef walked 
into a bank at the Ikoyi area of Lagos and tried to cash the 3,600 dollars through 
Western Union with an international passport bearing Lateef’s name and identity card. 

But the eagle eye bank official, sensed foul play when Lateef walked into the banking 
hall with Disu and David. One of the bank officials was said to have asked Lateef his 
date of birth and the boy simply crashed like a pack of cards and sent his gang into 
police net when he gave a date different from the one on the International Passport. The 
suspects revealed that they usually get their victims through the Internet by telling 
horrifying, sorrowful stories to the victims to elicit sympathy. 

Disu admitted that he had been extracting money from people for long. According to 
him, he said: "I have been chatting with the woman (victim) for long. I told her that I 
was an  abandoned child from separated parents. My mother left me with my father 
and traveled  to London. I had an ambition to further my education, but my father 
refused to sponsor me." 

He said this has not been the first time of defrauding her. According to Disu, he had 
collected 100, 300 and 150 dollars respectively from the same person. But he was 
apprehended this time when he went with his partners to withdraw the sum of 3,600 
dollars. Also, he had collecting money from the bank with different fake names and had 
always claimed that they were sent to him by his father. When EFCC got to his house, 
American cheque of 40,000 dollars suspected to be fake, was also found. 

David, who is a third year student of Mass Communication Department, Lagos State 
University, on his own part claimed that he went to the bank to deposit some money 
given to him by his father for his project and a laptop when he met the duo of Lateef and 
Disu who he said live in the same neighbourhood with him. They told him that they came 
to collect money sent to Disu by his brother in USA. 

EFCC has discovered David owns a Honda car, which he claimed he bought three 
years ago but could not give a satisfactory account of how he got the money used in 
buying the car. 

Lateef, on his part, said that Disu has approached him for international passport, so as 
to receive money which was sent to him through the Western Union Money Transfer with 
it, but did not tell him how much he was to cash. He however, promised to give him the 
sum of 200,000 dollars if he accepted to give him the international passport and go to 
the bank with him. 

Daily Sun also learnt that Disu is a kingpin of internet fraud. It was discovered that he 
had spent nine months in Kirikiri Prison yard for Internet scam

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

12 OCT 2006
From the Nigerian Tribune, a Nigerian newspaper:

3 Internet fraudsters held for duping Swiss national


Three Internet fraudsters who connived with an employee of a courier company to 
dupe a Swiss national have been held by the police in Oyo State. 
The suspects, Jeremiah Elijah, Bukola Adefisayo and Bawa Monsur, were alleged to 
have defrauded one Mrs. Goedner, through Adefisayo who worked with the company. 

Bawa Monsur was alleged to be the receiver of the laptop computers and one DVD 
player, acquired through Internet fraud. 

A police source who pleaded anonymity told the Nigerian Tribune that Elijah, while on 
the Internet, posed as one Carl Edward in Canada and ordered Goedner to release the 
items to one Jeremiah Elijah in Ibadan after fake money transfer through Royal Bank, 
Switzerland, was allegedly done. 

Items recovered from the suspects were three laptop computers...
[the article continues on to cover a non-419 related matter]

12 OCT 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper Daily Sun:

Foreigner recounts bitter encounter with 419 kingpin


A man, who was duped of several millions of dollars, has slammed the Economic for 
Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over the handling of the matter.

Shaarlene Lightbourne, a citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, claimed to 
have received less than six per cent of the total sum of money that was alleged to have 
been fraudulently collected from him by one Igwe Madu, who presented himself as 

According to him, out of the $1.5 million he gave to the suspect, he had received $88,000 
from the EFCC after two years of investigation.

He said: "While I am happy to have received some money from EFCC, the amount 
received is less than six per cent of N1.5 million paid to Mustapha. I would have 
expected to receive a better return after some two years of investigations by the EFCC. I 
am greatly encouraged by the excellent news that the EFCC has recovered some 
$800,000 and if it is so, I am very concerned that only small amount of money has been 
sent to date."

"I am hoping that there would be some major recovery within the next few days which 
would be an indication that the EFCC is serious about recovering and returning the 
money that was fraudulently taken," he said.

Lightbourne further explained how he got himself into a deep mess, adding that the 
whole incident started when he visited South Africa.

His words: "I visited Johannesburg, South Africa, sometime in February 2002, on a 
business trip. During my stay, I met a man who introduced himself as Mustapha, a 
Nigerian, who had come to visit the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa and some of 
his muslim brothers from Iraq." 

"He claimed that Ambassador Shehu Malami was his cousin. Coincidentally, my 
mission in South Africa was to examine the possibility of investing in Nigeria in 
collaboration with a South Africa-based company because I had been informed by my 
associates in the USA that it was easier and fraud-free to invest in Nigeria if you operate 
from an office in South Africa. Therefore, I saw my meeting with Mustapha as timely and 
we discussed likely areas of business that I would be interested in. He told me of his 
past relationship with the late Nigerian Head of State,General Sani Abacha and his 
nephew, who was Chief Security Officer and of the troubles he was having with the 
present government". 

"He talked of Ambassador Shehu Malami’s intervention and other matters. He 
concluded that his nephew’s problem was with the government particularly Chief 
Olusegun Obasanjo the incumbent president. He also claimed to be the Emir of 
Gwandu, a first class traditional ruler in Nigeria. He produced a photograph in support of 
his claim."

"He boasted of his wide influence in some African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, 
Mali, Togo, etc and the widespread influence of his holding company, Goddyson West 
African Ltd. We parted ways but agreed to keep in touch. Mustapha called me from 
Nigeria and informed me that he had already made a successful arrangement with 
some top government officials to award a big contract to my company from Nigeria 
National Petroleum Company (NNPC)."

"In the summer of 2002, Mustapha suggested a meeting between me, himself and some 
Nigerian government officials. I agreed to meet with them in Nigeria and requested an 
official invitation to enable me to obtain a visitor’s visa to travel to Nigeria. He disagreed 
citing bureaucratic bottleneck but suggested Ghana instead. I agreed since at this point 
I had already committed substantial amounts of money into this venture. During my 
meeting with him and his group in Ghana, we had a supposedly fruitful discussions on 
how best to actualize the contract which, he said, was valued at $30 million."

"Mustapha informed me that he was successful in negotiating a contract on behalf of my 
company with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). “He sent me some 
documents purported to have originated from the said corporation. In my honest effort to 
get mobilized for the supposed contract, money was remitted by me to him through 
various accounts as requested and nominated by him. I have copies of evidence of 

"Funds were transferred to Mustapha’s bank accounts in Ghana, Nigeria, London, 
Taiwan and Wales. It became evident that Mustapha had associates in all these 
countries, including Ireland. Subsequently, he began to make more and more demands 
for money to enable him to facilitate the award of the contract. When his demand for 
money in respect of the supposed contract became endless, I was disenchanted and 
developed cold feet around September 2003." 

"Surprisingly, sometimes during the late 2003 and early 2004, I was contacted by 
someone who claimed to be Chief Joseph Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of 
Nigeria, who informed me that he had been given a mandate from Mustapha to contact 
me. The supposed Central Bank of Nigeria Governor said he was in sole position to 
transfer part of the contract sum to my nominated account but the vicious circle of 
demand for money continued unabated until the supposed governor sent me some 
documents showing that my company did a job for Nigeria National Petroleum 
Corporation Company."

"I was surprised and showed it to a friend who confirmed to me that I was a victim of the 
famous Nigerian 419 scammers. This was after I had again transferred substantial funds 
to meet various charges, fees and commissions as demanded by Mustapha who had 
now resurfaced as Chief Joseph Sanusi, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria."

When Daily Sun contacted EFCC, a source said: "We have arrested Madu again and 
we are making more progress towards recovering the money."

419 Coalition Comment:  Yes, there are major problems in getting
monies recovered from 419ers repatriated to the victims.  Except 
for one case in which something like a million and a half dollars
was returned to a Chinese woman in Hong Kong, large scale
repatriations of recovered funds are rare.  For example, Shahla
Ghasemi is still waiting for hre recovered monies to be returned
Years after the recovery was announced by Central Bank of
Nigeria at a major function attended by President Obasanjo 
in New York.  In short, in the area of repatriation or recovered
funds, the Government of Nigeria's counter-419 efforts remains
inadequate at this time.  From the point of view of many victims,
it doesn't seem to make much difference Who has their money,
the 419ers or the Government of Nigeria, all they know is that
They don't have it....  A pretty practical point, we think.  Let 
us hope that Nigerian Government performance in these matters
gets better quickly and stays better long term.

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it stays good:

11 OCT 2006
From ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper:

EFCC returns N128bn to fraud victims

Economic and  Financial Crimes Commission (EF-CC), said yesterday, that it had 
returned about N128 billion to victims  of advanced fee fraud, also known as 419. 

EFCC Chairman,  Malam Nuhu Ribadu, made  the disclosure in Abuja,  at a National 
Brand and  Economic Development Conference: tagged "Mind the  Gap," adding that 
the money was returned to victims in various countries. 

He promised that more money would be returned, as the commission catches up with fraudsters. 

Ribadu said the Commission still had 90 cases against fraudsters and corrupt public 
officials pending in courts, adding that some lawyers, judges and  policemen serve as 
accomplices to fraudsters, collecting money from them to stall  cases. 
[the article continues with matters not related to 419 AFF]

419 Coalition Comment:  We'd like to see a list of those to whom monies
have been returned, as in most of cases of which we are aware, like the
Ghasemi, Khan, and Blick cases we are not aware of any monies being
repatriated.  Additionally, we have seen in the news only one large
repatriation of recovered funds to an individual, to a Chinese lady from
Hong Kong.  So to whom did EFCC repatriate all these other monies
cited in the above article?  Enquiring minds want to know  :)   And even
if all the funds cited above were in fact repatriated, it still amounts to
only a fraction of the monies recovered, and only a minisucle portion
of the amounts stolen, so there still remains a huge amount of work
to be done on recovery and repatriation efforts.

8 OCT 2006
Here is an amusing (sortof) and cautionary piece
from the Daily Sun, a Nigerian newspaper:

Taking 419 one step higher

by Mike Jimoh

Chima was rather surprised one day last month when friends and relations began 
trooping in to his house to see in person their brother and friend who had been in 
detention. One by one they all came wearing long faces, not saying much but 
sympathising with the just-released detainee from a notorious detention facility in the 
Centre of Excellence. 

It could have been worse, some said. You may have been killed or sodomised even, 
others voiced out aloud. But weren’t you lucky, others insisted, not a scratch on you! 
Thinking that a great joke was being played on him, Chima asked where in the world did 
they get to know he was ever detained? 

And they proceeded to narrate, one by one, how they got a text message from Chima 
some days before. After all, didn’t Chima’s number appear on their screens asking them 
to quickly come to the sender’s aid? The sms stated it so clearly: Chima, it read, was 
being held for an unspecified offence in one of the most feared detention centres in 
town. So, could the receiver be kind enough to send as little as N1500 voucher to 
process his bail? 

Of course, who can forsake his brother/ friend at a time like this? Who does not know 
what detention centres are like in Lagos? And, by the way, isn’t this a particularly 
notorious one? 

The short but precise sms was enough to galvanize all of them to action. After all, what is 
some naira worth of vouchers to a brother/ friend in distress? 

All of the recepients quickly arranged something sharp, sharp, as they say, and 
immediately despatched it to their man in trouble. Those who could sent half of what was 
requested. Some sent the exact sum while a few others doubled their effort, supposedly 
to Chima so he can use them to secure his release. In the end, approximately a hundred 
people had responded to Chima’s SOS. 

Which explains why Chima woke up on that day to literally find his sitting room 
overflowing with sympathisers. Of course, by now, you would’ve guessed that Chima 
was never in jail. He wasn’t. In truth, he was detained in a much more sober way. Tired 
and work-weary, Chima decided that very day in question to prop up his feet on his 
desk, fold his hands across his belly and just nod off. His handset was nearby on the 

The clearing and forwarding agent was thus reclined when some smart alecs, seeing a 
way to make some change, quickly took their chance. Presto, they proceeded to send 
the sms to nearly all the numbers in Chima’s phone, knowing full well that many or all of 
them will respond positively long before Chima gets up. They were dead on the beam! 

By the time Chima woke up later, his handset was where he left it but unknown to him it 
had helpfully served to defraud some of his friends/ relations - at his expense of course. 

Here is a link to the piece for as long as it is good:

8 OCT 2006
From the Sunday Times (online) UK:

Ireland hosts online scams

Liam Clarke

AT least six west African gangs, involving up to 117 people, are operating internet 
swindles from Ireland, according to an expert on advance-fee fraud.

Frank Engelsman, an investigator in Amsterdam, says his figures are based on 
information gleaned from scammers’ e-mails. He has offered to give the details to 

Advance-fee fraud, referred to as 419 fraud because of the section of the Nigerian penal 
code which forbids it, is traditionally operated by Nigerians from the Ibo or Igbo tribal 
group in the south of the country. Other groups have become involved in the swindle in 
recent years.

Scammers ask for fees in return for the release of an object of value, such as a lottery 
jackpot or an inheritance. It can also involve fake jobs, with a victim being asked to bank 
cheques and forward the proceeds in return for commission. The cheques later bounce 
or turn out to be fraudulently obtained, leaving the victim liable.

One Japanese woman known to Engelsman claims to have paid £50,000 (€74,000) to an 
Allied Irish Bank account in Blanchardstown. The AIB has refused to comment.

The largest number of scam rings, 24, operate in the Netherlands, according to 
Engelsman. There are 20 in the UK and 18 in Spain.

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:,,176-2393803,00.html

There is also a longer companion piece on this story in the
Sunday Times (online) Ireland.  Here is the URL of that piece:,,2091-2393725_1,00.html

13 SEP 2006
From the Nigerian Tribune, a Nigerian newspaper:

EFCC takes war against crimes to cyber cafes


IN its bid to curtail cyber crimes in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial 
Crimes Commission (EFCC) has ordered all Internet Service Providers 
(ISPs) and operators of internet cafes, popularly called cyber cafes, in 
the country to register their businesses with it. 

Cafe customers are also mandated to register their various cafes with 
all details about them. The registration is, however, free. 

The commission had earlier put a stop to the operation of the cafes in 
the night believing that cyber criminals spent the period to perpetrate 

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the operators of internet cafes were 
initially not well disposed to the idea of not operating in the night, 
saying it would reduce their revenue. 

Some of them, as a result, began to increase their tariffs by 100 per 
cent, claiming that the EFCC encouraged them to take the step. In most 
parts of Lagos, the Nigerian Tribune gathered that the cost of internet 
browsing per hour is now N200 as against the N100 that was previously 
charged, while 30 minutes now attracts N100 or N120 as against the 
previous N50 or N60. 

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

18 AUG 2006
Here is the URL of a BBC News video of a counter-419 raid 
by the  Nigerian EFCC on a Cyber Cafe, for as long as the link
is good.  About a 5 minute video:

Here is another URL of the same material, furnished by a
concerned Nigerian:

12 AUG 2006
From the Daily Graphic, a Ghanian newspaper:

Five Nabbed Over Fake Dollars

Story by Albert K. Salia

The police have arrested five persons believed to be members of an 
advanced fee fraud gang, popularly known as ‘419’, at a house in 
Community 18 in Tema.

The five, made up of two Nigerians, two Ghanaians and a Canadian, 
are Joseph Ohia, 35, Eze Kalu, 52, both Nigerians; Alex Ampiah, 35, a 
taxi driver, and David Adjei, 31, both Ghanaians and Bill Chase, 55, the 

A trunk full of fake dollar bills was retrieved from the home of the 

Two other Nigerians, identified only as Philip and Sony Achiba, 
escaped arrest and have been declared wanted by the police.

The Officer in charge of Operations at the Criminal Investigations 
Department (CID), Chief Superintendent Amadu Salifu, told the Daily 
Graphic yesterday that the police had information that there was an 
advanced fee fraud gang operating in a house at Community 18.

He said the information indicated that the gang had been inviting 
unsuspecting foreigners, particularly whites, to come and help them 
transfer treasures they had inherited from their deceased relatives.

Chief Supt. Salifu said following the tip-off, the police monitored the 
activities of occupants of the house for sometime and became 
convinced that there was some unusual business being transacted 

He said that was because the police detected that a lot of people, 
including whites, frequently went in and out of the house.

According to him, it also came to light that David Adjei was the 
custodian of the trunk full of the fake dollar bills and brought it to the 
house each time there was a victim to exploit.

Chief Supt. Salifu said the police swooped on the house last Tuesday 
and arrested the suspects.

He said subsequent investigations also revealed that Ampiah, was 
always in court to stand surety for suspected 419 criminals.

Here is the URL for as long as it is good:

7 AUG 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian:

EFCC to register cybercafes, others 
By Sonny Aragba Akpore Asst. Communications Editor

INTERNET Service Providers (ISPs) who intend to remain in business have up till 
September 7 to register with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Cybercafe operators have up till November 30 to do so.

Similarly, GSM service providers and Private Telecommunications Operators (PTOs) 
which offer skeletal Internet services on their networks have till the same September 7 to 
register with the anti-graft body.

The foregoing conditions are contained in a new law to combat cybercrime and fraud-
related offences.

Christened "Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006," the law was 
signed recently by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It prescribes, among others, ways to combat cybercrime and other related online frauds.

But while in previous laws the onus was on the government to carry out a surveillance on 
such crimes and alleged criminals, the new law vests this responsibility on industry 
players, including ISPs and cybercafe operators, among others.

While the EFCC becomes the sub-sector regulator, the law prescribes that henceforth, 
any user of Internet services shall no longer be accepted as anonymous.

Through what has been prescribed as Due Care Measure, cybercafe operators and 
ISPs will henceforth monitor the use of their systems and keep a record of transactions 
of users.

Such details include, but not limited to, photographs of users, their home addresses, 
telephone numbers and next-of-kin.

This means that to register as a user, the user's name, address, telephone, e-mail 
address and photograph should be available, according to the Act.

The President signed the law on June 5, 2006.

And for the purposes of identification, three key data should be provided, from the 
following: national identification card, drivers licence, international passport, utility bill 
and/or certificate of incorporation if need be.

The onus is on the service provider to define an anonymous or known user.

The act complements the EFCC Due Care Committee guidelines, which among others, 
stipulate that: 

the new advance fee fraud law requires service providers to keep and maintain a 
record of all customers and users:

the records to be kept are detailed in Part II, Section 12 of the law, which concerns 
identity of users;

upon request by the EFCC, of the details of a customer who has allegedly committed a 
fraud, the service provider will oblige such details of the customers;

that service providers must guard against the use of their network for criminal activities.
But ISPs and Cybercafe operators say that due to the nature of technology, it may be 
difficult to completely eradicate cybercrimes and to properly identify the criminals.

The new Act says all ISPs have up till September 7, 2006 to register with the EFCC while 
the cybercafe operators, have up till November 30, 2006 to do the same.

President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, and his Association of 
Cybercafe and Telecentre Operators of Nigeria (ACTO Nigeria) counterpart, Mr. Lao 
Omotola, confirmed the development.

Ajayi explained that the EFCC has been on this subject for quite some time and "has 
tried to carry everybody along. His words: "We were aware of this before the policy or 
law came out. The EFCC wants to know who is in business and how it is being done."

Ajayi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pinet Informatics Limited, an ISP-
based firm in Lagos said: "We want to rise to the occasion and the challenges 

He explained that electronic commerce (e-commerce) thrives on trust and "if it must be 
realistic here, we must put in place rules to checkmate online crimes."

"We share the views of the EFCC but in carrying out the process of authentication, we 
must be careful so that we don't infringe on the user's rights," Ajayi advised.

Omotola spoke in a similar vein, saying the idea is not novel in Nigeria since, South 
Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and to some extent, Brazil have adopted similar 
approaches to chock the cybercrime scourge.

Omotola, who is the CEO of Next Technology Limited, further explained that even 
upstream operators, like Intelsat, Gilat, New Skies, among others, will also have their 
services registered with the EFCC for their products and services to be sold locally.

The reasons for this, according to EFCC officials, is that "in the past, we ran into difficulty 
in prosecuting these upstream operators "because our laws did not cover their 

So far, over 20 cybercafes have been raided by the EFCC in the last one month. 

The operators appear set to comply with the law by notifying users of the relevant 
portion of the law, corporate user policy, firewall recommendation, protection procedure, 
indemnity and right of disclosure among others. 

According to the Act, telecommunication operators, including GSM service providers 
and PTOs, which now offer skeletal Internet services on their networks, also have up till 
September 7, 2006 to register such services with the EFCC.

They are also to show evidence of Due Care and Surveillance System, which they have 
installed in their networks for the purposes of the monitoring of cybercrimes.

All operators are to develop and put in place compliance standard, certification 
procedure to monitor certification compliance.

They are also expected to put in place a filter technology to determine the expectations 
and standards for a filter to be deployed at the service provider's gateway.

Restrictions of Spam mails and other letters that may be letters of threats are also to be 
monitored by the filter technology. All such reports should be available online for a 
period of three months and archived for up to one year.

The EFCC will see to the enforcement of the laws.

The registration of all users and operators will subsist, despite the existence of the 
Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

Offenders would be tried by the Federal High Court or the High Court of the Federal 
Capital Territory or High Courts in the states.

Every cybercafe operator must expose all computers used in browsing because the 
era of hidden computers is over, according to Omotola.

He explained that this was one of the highpoints of the agreement his association 
reached with the EFCC.

According to him, each cybercafe will henceforth be a watchdog to others and if any of 
them is found indulging in cybercrime "we will dialogue with the operator and if dialogue 
fails, after three attempts, we shall have no option than to expose the cybercafe to the 

Besides, there will be a monthly meeting between the EFCC and cybercafes to review 
progress and new ways to uncover new tactics, he added. 

419 Coalition Comment: Sounds great in in theory, we also hope it
works great in practice.

4 AUG 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay:

Terrorism: EFCC Confirms Arrests of 14 Suspects

The  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have arrested a terrorism 
suspect in a raid on a cybercafe, NetXpress, located on Road 51, Festac town, Lagos. 
The commission disclosed that 13 other suspects caught in the act of sending scam 
mails to Europe and America, were also arrested.

The  suspect who claimed to represent a faceless terror group, Terrorist International 
was caught demanding payoff from a multinational oil company to forestall the kidnap of 
its expatriate staff in the Niger Delta. The other suspects were caught sending scanned 
documents purportedly issued by Chief Executives of Nigerian government agencies 
such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Nigerian National Petroleum 
Corporation, NNPC. 

During the operation which lasted for two hours, several documents and equipment 
being used by the fraudsters to commit advance fee fraud were confiscated. Among 
these were more than 30 computer units.

The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigation, which is still ongoing, is 

The Commission has in recent weeks stepped up the arrest of Internet fraudsters 
following the enactment of the new Advance Fee Fraud Act, which empowers EFCC to 
close down any cyber- cafe being used to send 419 letters. Apart from the scam artist, 
both the owner of the cafe and the landlord of the building where it is located are also 
held liable for the crime.

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

15 JUL 2006
There is an excellent article in the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard on
the history etc. of 419 in Nigeria but it is too long to be posted here.
However, here is a link to the piece for as long as it is good:

6 JUL 2006
From the Ghana News Agency:

Three computer fraudsters arrested

Accra, July 6, GNA - Three Nigerians have been arrested for attempting 
to dupe a bank by using fake Western Union authorisation notes to 
withdraw monies.

They are Alexander Nwabueze; Joshua Alamu Thomas, 29, and Kelvin 
Oziri, 22.

Mr Patrick Ampewuah, Deputy Director-General of the Criminal 
Investigations Department (CID), told the Ghana News Agency in Accra 
that a pen drive was found with the suspects on which letterheads of 
both national and international institutions used for fraudulent activities 
were found.

He said most of these computer criminals, who were mainly foreigners, 
were now into attempts to defraud banks by trying to access their 
computer systems.

Police said on June 20, Nwabueze went to the Western Union branch at 
Prudential Bank at Makola in Accra to cash 950 dollars. However, on 
verifying the authenticity of the note for the claim it was identified to be 
faked. He was, therefore, handed over to the Police.

On June 28, two of the suspects, Thomas and Oziri also came to cash 
5,500 Euros through the same methods but their inability to know, who 
was remitting the money and where it was coming from led to suspicion, 
upon which it was discovered that the note they were using was faked. 
Information on the pen drive retrieved from the suspects revealed that 
they included forged documents of Bank of Ghana; Barclays Bank; 
ECOWAS Financial Monitoring Union; Swiss Financial Trust Bank; 
Federal Reserve Bank of the United States; Supreme Court certified 
affidavits and a United Arab Emirates passport.

The others are Ghanaian passports with the same picture but different 
names, pictures of gold mines and workers working in these mines.

4 JUL 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard.  This was a 2 subject
story, we have edited out the subject not relevant to 419:

EFCC swoop on Lagos cyber cafes 

From Chuks Akunna in Abuja

... the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started the enforcement of the new Advance Fee Fraud Act, 
signed into law last month by President Olusegun Obasanjo. 

Operatives of the commission, last week, swooped on cyber cafes in Orile and Festac suburbs of Lagos and arrested cyber 
crime suspects aged between 18 and 25 years, caught in the act of sending scam mails to Europe and America.  

Arrested along with them, were the owners of the cyber cafes and landlords of the buildings in which they were located. 

A total of 74 computer systems were confiscated in the operations and would be tendered as evidence in court. 

According to EFCC spokesman, Osita Nwajah, "the Commission wishes to draw the attention of Nigerians to the provisions of 
the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006, which imposes a sentence of up to 15 years without an option of fine for anyone who permits 
his/her premises to be used for 419 activities.  The law also prescribes a jail term of up to 20 years without the option 
of fine for convicted 419ers." 

419 Coalition Comment:  More grease to the EFCC's collective elbow!

24 JUN 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard:

Advanced fee fraud: EFCC indicts NCC 

By Chinyere Amalu, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has indicted 
Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) for being responsible for all 
related electronic telecommunication offences. Speaking at a one day 
meeting aimed at finding lasting solution to end ISPs/ Cybercafe’ crime 
related issues, with all ISP/Cybercaféés providers yesterday in Abuja, 
the Executive Secretary of EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said that NCC 
has failed in its regulatory roles in curtailing fraud emanating from 
telecommunication service. His words, "I think NCC should take the 
blame for all the advanced fee fraud cases emanating from the ISPs/ 
Cybercaféés service providers."
"This is because they issue license to all service providers without 
taking the required measures. NCC has failed in its regulatory role and 
should stand up to their responsibilities. It has failed the nation, it is its 
duty to monitor all telecommunication service providers and sanction 
the erring ones."

"We have not heard a number of them being sanctioned. Yet cyber 
crimes keep increasing every day", he said. The EFCC Chairman 
whocriticised ISPs/Cybercafe’s providers urged them to stop all 
fraudsters from using their cybercafe or any of their telecommunication 
service in carrying out their 419 businesses. "We must stop all 419 in 
our country, we must stop fraudsters. I know that you are making money 
from the business, but that should not be to the detriment of the entire 
nation. We will not allow you to keep on destroying Nigeria simply 
because you are making money. It is not fair," he said. "You will go to 
jail if you continue. And we will confiscate all your facilities and lock 
them up. We called all of you here so that we can reason together and 
find out the lasting solution to stop all these, 419."

"Fraudsters must stop. If not we will close all cybercaféés and their 
sources of income," he emphasized. Ribadu stated that proliferation of 
cybercafe in the recent past has led to an upsurge in Internet 
commerce, dating, employment, scholarship, and lottery, inheritance 
scams. According to him,  "Activities of customers must be monitored, 
while all night browsing now common among young Internet scammers 
should be discouraged."

"Deployment of basic text categorization filtering software by ISPs and 
Cybercafe operators will prevent abuse of facilities by criminals." He, 
however, warned that systems at public cybercafes must be configured 
to block access to popular hackers’ websites from where fraudsters 
download free credit card details and obtain hints on cyber fraud 

419 Coalition Note:   Sounds good to us, denying the use of
cybercafes in Nigeria to the 419ers would indeed be a major
positive step towards getting the problem under control.

22 JUN 2006
From the Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant
English translation followed by Dutch original:

Dutch police hunts internet gangs
By Ferdi Schrooten PZC

The Hague- In the last quarter of 2006 the Dutch police will start an 
attack on West African fraudster rings. Thereto a super regional team of 
investigators is founded. Chambers of Commerce, telephone 
companies, internet providers and banks are supposed to help on 
fighting these gangs, who world-wide harm people with losses of 
millions of euros.

"The ‘West-Africans team’ consists of the three regional police forces of 
Haaglanden, Kennemerland and Amsterdam" explains an Amsterdam-
Amstelland police spokesman. The three police forces work with 
investigators who are specialized and experienced in scams by 
primarily Nigerian gangs. By means of e-mail these gangs let potential business 
partners believe that they are gaining millions because they 
have inherited a big sum of money or because they have won a lottery. 
At the end of the day the investors lose money (most of the time 
thousands of euros).

The attack will last six months and is meant to make the Netherlands 
less attractive for these West African gangs. At this moment it’s too 
easy for them to set up their 419 (the relevant section in Nigerian 
criminal law) scams in the Netherlands. The Netherlands are an 
international well known centre of West African networks. In due time the 
Dutch ministry of internal affairs will start deliberations with companies 
and institutions which are being abused by these gangs.

It’s the intention that internet providers will block the accounts of those 
who send malign e-mails. Telephone-operators will block the 
telephones of fraudsters.

Better checks by the chambers of commerce must make it more difficult 
for gangsters to register ghost companies under a false name with 
which they can open bank accounts to launder money. The ‘West-
Africans team’ will trace these accounts. For this purpose they can use 
the Dutch "Meldpunt Ongebruikelijke Transacties (MOT)", where 
unusual financial transactions are being registered. The MOT works in 
close co-operation with the Dutch banks.

Dutch version
Politie jaagt op internetbendes
door Ferdi Schrooten

DEN HAAG - De politie begint dit najaar een offensief tegen 
oplichtersnetwerken uit het westen van Afrika. Drie korpsen vormen 
daartoe samen een bovenregionaal opsporingsteam.
Kamers van Koophandel, telefoonmaatschappijen, internetproviders 
en banken moeten helpen bij het bestrijden van de bendes, die 
wereldwijd mensen voor miljoenen euro’s duperen.

Het ’West-Afrikanenteam’ wordt gevormd door de regiokorpsen 
Haaglanden, Kennemerland en Amsterdam, zegt een woordvoerder 
van de politie Amsterdam-Amstelland. In de drie korpsen hebben 
gespecialiseerde rechercheurs al vaak te maken met oplichting door 
vooral Nigeriaanse bendes. In e-mails spiegelen die potentiële 
zakenpartners miljoenenopbrengsten voor uit niet bestaande 
erfenissen en loterijprijzen. Investeerders zijn hun geld - meestal vele 
duizenden euro’s - kwijt.


Het offensief dat een half jaar duurt, moet Nederland onaantrekkelijk 
maken voor de vanuit het westen van Afrika opererende oplichters. Die 
kunnen hier nu veel te makkelijk hun gang gaan met hun ’419-fraude’, 
vernoemd naar het artikel over oplichting in de Nigeriaanse strafwet. 
Nederland staat internationaal te boek als ’knooppunt’ van netwerken uit het westen van Afrika. Het ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken 
overlegt binnenkort met bedrijven en instellingen die door deze 
bendes worden misbruikt.

Het is de bedoeling dat internetproviders afzenders van malafide e-
mails blokkeren. Telefoonbedrijven moeten de telefoons van 
oplichters blokkeren.

Betere controles bij de Kamers van Koophandel moeten het moeilijker 
maken voor bendes om onder valse naam dekmantelbedrijven in te 
schrijven, waarmee ze bij banken witwasrekeningen openen. Die 
rekeningen spoort het West-Afrikanenteam op met het Meldpunt 
Ongebruikelijke Transacties, dat nauw samenwerkt met de banken.

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

419 Coalition Comment:  The recent actions of the Dutch authorities
against 419 are very welcome, as the Netherlands is a hotbed of
419 operations, particularly Lottery 419.  However, we must note that
the problem there is so large that a six month operation, though welcome,
will only superficially inconvenience the 419ers....  What is needed is
an extended, ongoing operation, coupled with Centralized Reporting,
if 419 is to be controlled in the Netherlands (and that is also true 
elswewhere for that matter).

3 JUN 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Punch:

EFCC traces N18.7 million to school leavers’ accounts

Sesan Olufowobi 

Two secondary school leavers are currently explaining to the operatives of the 
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on how they managed to accumulate a 
total sum of N18.7 million in their accounts at Access Bank. 
Officials of the Onikan, Lagos branch of the bank initially arrested Stephen Uwem Silas 
(25) and Kennedy Aifuwa Umweni (23), who were bosom friends, before handing them 
over to EFCC. 

Saturday Punch was told that they were alarmed that the young boys, who also 
confessed that they were unemployed, could have such large amount of deposit in their 
accounts. It was learnt that while Silas had N13. 7 million in his account, Umweni had 
over N5 million. 

Interestingly, Silas’ younger brother, Aniekal, unwittingly caused the duo’s journey to 
trouble. An official of the EFCC told our correspondent that Aniekal had gone to the bank 
in the morning to make N5,000 withdrawal, but could not do so as he had just N522 in the 
account. A few hours later, he returned to the bank, but this time clutching Umweni’s 
cheque book. Luck ran out on him as the signature was discovered to be forged. He 
was subsequently arrested. 

Aniekal had then mentioned that the owner of the account was a family friend, which 
prompted the bank official to call Umweni, inviting him to come and identify Aniekal. 

However, when Umweni arrived in company with Silas, the officials of Access Bank 
found it difficult to believe that such a young man, who had earlier said he was 
unemployed and applying to the university to study, could command a large sum as N5 
million in his account. 

In the course of their investigation, it was also discovered that Silas was a customer of 
the bank. After discreetly checking his own account, the bank officials found 
N13.7million. They subsequently invited the EFCC. 

An official of the commission told Saturday Punch that the team that investigated the 
case discovered that there was a pattern in the deposits of both suspects. "We 
discovered that they usually deposit their funds on the same day and almost the same 

He said that initially, the boys claimed that their fathers and relatives deposited the 
money in their accounts, "but now they are singing different tunes. Silas said he got just 
N300, 000 of the amount from Internet fraud, the rest was from two unknown friends in 
Nigeria and England. But for Umweni, he said those who gave him the money are all 
Nigerians from the Internet. We have however, gone through their E-mail and 
discovered a lot of scam letters. They are Internet fraudsters," the official said. 

Spokesman of the commission, Osita Nwaja who confirmed the case said the three 
boys involved in the scam had cases to answer, adding that they would face trial as 
soon as investigation was completed. 

28 MAY 2006
From the Washington Post:

Even Smarties Get Swindled on the Net
New Twists on an Old Scam Are Circulating

By Don Oldenburg

Who falls for this stuff?

Who's so greedy or naive to get suckered by those Nigerian scams that litter inboxes 
and spam filters with rubbish so clearly a ruse you'd have to be a knucklehead or on 
drugs not to just delete 'em?

That's the question people ask. Readers raise it all the time. Whenever the column or 
talk turns to swindles and the Nigerian e-mail nonsense in particular, they want to know: 
Who could possibly fall for this?

You might be surprised.

Sami Klein received an e-mail a few months ago from someone named "Susan Bryant," 
purportedly an art dealer in London who needed a representative in the United States to 
"facilitate money exchanges" with her U.S. customers. Something about Americans who 
buy her artwork always paying with money orders that are difficult to cash in London.

Thinking it was legit, and maybe an interesting opportunity, Klein replied with her name 
and address as requested.

"I didn't worry about sending it to her," says Klein, 66, a retired science librarian from 
Columbia, who knows better than to give out her Social Security number, credit card and 
banking information to strangers but figured sending her name and address wouldn't 

A week later, Klein received an envelope containing five Wal-Mart money orders made 
out to her, each for $925. As instructed, she cashed the money at her bank, kept 10 
percent and wired the remainder via Western Union to "Bryant's" husband who just 
happened to be in Nigeria collecting wood for art work.

"I never knew that money orders could be recalled, but that is what happened," says 
Klein, whose bank deducted the $4,000 she wired to Nigeria from her own funds. Never 
mind the $462 commission she thought she earned -- that was as bogus as the 
counterfeit Wal-Mart money orders.

But that didn't end the scam. Even as Klein was making out the police report and putting 
her bank on notice, she was still receiving e-mails from Bryant prepping her for more 
transactions. She messaged back that she wanted the $4,000 restored to her account 
and wasn't doing any more work until it was.

Bryant sent an apologizing e-mail to Klein, filled with lousy grammar and misspellings, 
blaming the "delay" on the U.S. customer. She promised to wire 20 percent 
commissions directly to a Wells Fargo bank account for Klein's future help. Oh, and she 
said she'd happily instruct Klein how to open that account.

Klein declined. "I could be a sucker once, but I'm not stupid," she says. "Lesson 

Look, Klein doesn't qualify as a greedy or naive person. Other than being retired, she's 
not standard scam-victim material. She has traveled the globe and lived in Japan, Italy 
and Malta. Since retiring, she has stayed active -- she gardens, reads extensively, does 
computer database work, knits hats for cancer patients and even serves as president of 
her temple. If she could fall for it, so could lots of people. And they do.

Last March, it was Louis A. Gottschalk, the respected founding chairman of the 
psychiatry department at the University of California at Irvine. He wired $3 million to 
Nigeria. In April, there was an Idaho financial planner. Last year, a Los Angeles record 
producer. How about the Massachusetts psychotherapist profiled in New Yorker this 

"There are some highly educated people who for whatever reasons fall victim to this," 
says Tom Mazur, spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates such 
scams. "I don't know their motivation for getting pulled into one of these schemes. 
Certainly these types of criminals prey on the emotions and on people's sympathies 
sometimes. But somewhere in the back of their minds, the victim's got to be thinking 
about getting rich quick."

Nigerian fraud scams (aka "419 scams" after the Nigerian penal code addressing 
fraud) have been around since the '70s when money was swindled the old-fashioned 
way -- con artists had to lick stamps and send letters. The Internet changed all that, 
making it easy to spam millions of potential victims with classic 419 scam e-mails, 
purportedly from the daughter of a deposed African dictator or a former finance minister 
of an African nation who seeks your help in transferring millions of dollars to the United 
States -- and promises a tasty percentage for your help!

Too absurd to work? Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations, a Dutch private 
investigation firm that has been studying 419 scams worldwide for a decade, released 
its latest damage estimates in March. Companies and individuals in the United States 
were scammed for $720 million in losses in 2005, it estimates. Total losses from 37 
nations to these scams is almost $3.2 billion. The United Kingdom has the second-
highest losses at $520 million, and Spain and Japan tied for third at $320 million in 

Tens of thousands of victims worldwide fall victim to the scams each year -- and while 
the losses per victim are decreasing due to more scammers working the lower-amount 
swindles (like phony money orders, lottery fraud and auction overpayment schemes), 
the number of victims are increasing, UAGI reports on its Web site. The Internet Crime 
Complaint Center (IC3) estimates that, based on complaints it received, the average 
loss to a 419 swindle last year was $5,000. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 
Internet-related fraud complaints involving a "wire transfer" of money as the payment 
method -- typical of 419 scams -- more than tripled from 2004 and 2005.

Mazur says that since the explosion of the Internet, these criminals can spam a whole 
group of individuals at home and at work and have gained wide access to an 
unsuspecting public. "If they put out 100,000 e-mails and two people bite," he says, "it 
would be a successful day."

Adding to the success of these scams is the number of sophisticated variations. The 
"London art dealer" ploy in Klein's case was a relatively new twist that started showing 
up in January. In late March, a rash of e-mails targeted bed-and-breakfast inns 
nationwide. Scammers made reservations, purportedly for a UNICEF representative in 
Ghana. Payments arrived as cashier's checks for too much money and the scammers 
asked that the difference be returned. Last August, the 419 scammers stooped so low 
as to take advantage of the London terrorist bombings, informing e-mail recipients 
they'd been left money by one of the victims.

"These schemes run the gamut of sounding very lucrative, but there is that questionable 
arrangement," warns Mazur.

Rich Siegel has a word of advice. "No one is going to give you $12 million. . . . You don't 
have a long-lost uncle who died in a car accident on Sagbama Road in the jungles of 
Nigeria. You never purchased the winning ticket in a Sub-Saharan international lottery," 
he writes on his Web site.

Siegel received just such an absurd e-mail, supposedly from a Mr. Ibrahim Mantu, who 
promised him more than $10 million from a Nigerian monetary fund. All Siegel had to do 
was assist the transfer of funds to the United States.

Weary of receiving scam spam, he decided to scam the scammer. Using a fake name 
(that when articulated slowly in English is obscene), Siegel began an e-mail exchange 
that lasted seven months.

"I knew about the scams but I thought writing back to them was kind of a lark," says 
Siegel, author of the book "Tuesdays With Mantu: My Adventures With a Nigerian Con 

Siegel thinks it isn't fair to say people are victims of their own greed. "That's an easy 
way out, to attribute this to greed," he says. "Surely greed may be part of it. But a lot of 
the e-mails target retirees with inheritance scams that seem feasible. And they target 
sympathetic victims who figure they'll help someone out of a jam. For them, this is in the 
realm of possibilities."

By the way, law enforcement authorities have mixed feelings about "scam-baiters" like 
Siegel who string along criminals and sabotage their scams for amusement or revenge 
-- no matter how many precautions they take. Scammers have been known to turn 
threatening and dangerous.

"My advice is to ditch it," says Siegel. "The minute you recognize it for what it is, just ditch 
it -- unless you have nothing better to do like I did and want to have to fun. But you have 
to be careful."

Mazur recommends deleting the suspect e-mails. "Let standard business practices take 
place -- that's the message," he says. "Nothing is free in our lifetimes. If it is too good to 
be true, it probably is."

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

20 MAY 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Punch:

Internet fraud syndicate held over botched $31m scam

Sesan Olufowobi 

Four Internet fraudsters, aka ‘Yahoo boys’ and the proprietor of a cyber café in Lagos, 
have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over their 
alleged involvement in a potential scams worth $31 million. 
Saturday Punch gathered that the EFCC took interest in the cyber café, located in 
Surulere, Lagos, after it received an anonymous e-mail about economic crimes which 
were allegedly being committed at the business centre. 

A senior EFCC official told our correspondent during the week that the petition alleged 
among other things that the café was being used by fraudsters. The letter also indicated 
that the centre was run on a 24-hour basis, while the proprietor was actively involved in 
the operations of the fraudsters. 

The official said EFCC operatives carried out a covert check on the business centre to 
verify the allegations before swooping on its operators on Wednesday. 

"We got there around 2.30 pm and discovered that about 40 people were there. Some 
of them managed to escape but the rest that were caught were made to undergo 
screening and at the end of the day, we caught four of them in the middle of different 
scams," the EFCC operative said. 

The four suspects as well as the proprietor were taken to the EFCC’s office in Lagos. 

Saturday Punch gathered that one of them was in the middle of a $10.5 million scam 
using a fake company, Heritage, as a front. Another was allegedly in the middle of $15.2 
million fraud, using the October 22, 2005 Bellview plane crash as the ground for the 
extortion of a potential victim while the third was involved in a $5.5 million scam. 

The official said the suspects signed documents relating to their foiled scams after the 
operatives had printed them out, adding that 85 computers were taken from the café. 

"The M.D. said his server is in the United States, that he was being served directly from 
the US but we are still looking at that," he said. 

When contacted, the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Osita Nwaja, said the 
case was being investigated to ascertain the involvement of the suspects in the scams. 

8 MAY 2006
The New Yorker magazine has published a good article
on a Classic 419 and Check 419 case, which is too long to be
published here.  Here is the URL of the piece for as long
as it is good:


1 MAY 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Punch.  Several
other Nigerian newspapers also carried the story:

419: S'Court confirms ex-bank chief's conviction

Tobi Soniyi and Oluyinka Akintunde, Abuja 

The Supreme Court has confirmed a three-and-a half-year jail term slammed on a 
former Chairman of the defunct Ivory Merchant Bank Limited, Dr. Edwin Onwudiwe, by 
the Failed Bank Tribunal. 

Onwudiwe was convicted of theft, obtaining money by false pretence and corrupt 
enrichment on November 11, 1998. 

He was charged with eight-count offences, but was convicted on four counts only. 

The tribunal sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment or N50,000 fine in count three 
where he was charged with fraudulent conversion of the proceeds of a Crystal Bank of 
Africa Limited certified cheque issued in favour of Ivory Merchant Bank in the sum of 
N16.56 million. The offence is punishable under section 390 (7) of the Criminal Code Act. 

The tribunal also convicted him of defrauding Partnership Investment Company Limited 
by making a false representation to the company that Ivory Merchant Bank Limited had 
$345,000 for sale, thereby inducing the company to deliver to him a Crystal Bank of 
Africa Limited certified cheque for N16.5 million issued in favour of Ivory Merchant Bank 

He was accused of diverting the proceeds, which he dishonestly obtained and 
appropriated, to his own use. 

The offence is punishable under Section 419 of the Criminal Code Act. On this count, the 
tribunal slammed a two-year-jail term on Onwudiwe without any option of fine. 

He was dissatisfied with the tribunal's judgment and appealed to the Court of Appeal for 
an order discharging and acquitting him. 

His arguments did not find favour with the Court of Appeal's justice and he finally 
appealed to the Supreme Court. 

Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who delivered the lead judgment, dismissed Onwudiwe's 
appeal on the grounds that it lacked merit. 

He was supported by Justices Umaru Kalgo, Niki Tobi Mahmud Mohammed and 
Walter Onnoghen

13 APR 2006
From the Daily Sun, a Nigerian newspaper:

Nigeria's anti-graft war excites US
Dept of State rates EFCC high 
From Collins Edomaruse in Abuja

The United States of America has expressed satisfaction with Nigeria's strides in the 
fight against corruption and related offences and says it will continue to encourage the 
country (Nigeria) in her efforts to eradicate corruption. 
The US also said it was excited by the successes recorded so far by the Economic and 
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which it described as an organisation that had 
performed creditably in the discharge of its duties. 

In its latest report on Nigeria, the US Department of State said of the EFCC: "In 2005, the 
EFCC marked significant successes in combating financial crime. During 2005, the 
EFCC seized money laundering-related assets worth $1billion, more than a 100 percent 
increase from 2004." 

Giving a historical overview of Nigeria's demonstration of determination to wage war 
against corruption, money laundering and related activities, the United States said in the 
report, which was released few days ago, that in spite the federal government's steps at 
eradicating the scourge, "Nigerian criminal organizations have proven adept at 
devising new ways of subverting international and domestic law enforcement efforts and 
evading detection. 

"Their success in avoiding detection and prosecution has led to an increase in many 
types of financial crimes, including bank fraud, real estate fraud, identity theft, and 
advance fee fraud. Despite years of government effort to counter rampant crime and 
corruption, Nigerians continue to be plagued by crime. 

"The establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and of 
the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the improvement in training 
qualified prosecutors in Nigerian courts has yielded some successes in 2005." 

It also said that: "In addition to narcotics-related money laundering, advance fee fraud is 
a lucrative financial crime that generates hundreds of millions of illicit dollars annually for 
criminals. Initially, Nigerian criminals made advance fee fraud infamous; more recently, 
nationals of many African countries and from a variety of countries around the world 
have begun to perpetrate advance fee fraud. 

"This type of fraud is referred to internationally as "Four-One-Nine" fraud (419 is a 
reference to the fraud section in Nigeria's criminal code). While there are many 
variations, the main goal of 419 frauds is to deceive victims into payment of an advance 
fee by persuading them that they will receive a very large benefit in return. 

"These 'get rich quick' schemes have ended for some victims in monetary losses, 
kidnapping, or murder. Through the Internet, businesses and individuals around the 
world have been and continue to be targeted by perpetrators of 419 scams. The EFCC 
has tried to combat 419-related cyber crimes, but there have only been a few recorded 
successes as a result of their cyber crime initiatives." 

The report also underscored the role of the legislature in passing laws that in the main 
enhanced the effectiveness of the EFCC and the desire of the Federal Government to 
wipe out corruption. 

Specifically, it noted that: "In 2004, the National Assembly passed the Money 
Laundering (Prohibition) Act (2004), which applies to the proceeds of all financial crimes. 
It also covers stock brokerage firms and foreign currency exchange facilities, in addition 
to banks and financial institutions. 

"The legislation gives the CBN greater power to deny bank licenses and freeze 
suspicious accounts. This legislation also strengthens financial institutions by requiring 
more stringent identification of accounts, removing a threshold for suspicious 
transactions, and lengthening the period for retention of records. 

"In November 2004, the EFCC reported that the great majority of Nigeria's banks were 
not in compliance with the new law, typically by not adhering to the know-your-customer 
and know-your-customer's-business provisions of the law and by neglecting to file 
suspicious transactions reports (STRs). The EFCC promised a new initiative to educate 
bank personnel and the general public about the provisions of the law before imposing 
sanctions for non-compliance." 

The laws and their amendment the report added, paved the way for the EFCC and its 
sister organisations to make huge hauls of seizures and arrests of criminals, including 
their prosecution. 

"Two fraudsters in a Brazilian bank scam involving a total of $242 million in assets were 
successfully prosecuted and convicted for terms of 25 and 12 years in prison, 

"Their assets were seized, and they were ordered to give $110 million in restitution to the 
bank. Last in 2005, the EFCC returned $4.481 million to an elderly woman swindled by a 
Nigerian 419 kingpin in 1995. 

"The kingpin was arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and is serving his prison sentence. A 
former inspector general of police (Mr. Tafa Balogun) was arrested and prosecuted for 
financial crimes valued at over $13 million. His assets were seized and bank accounts 
frozen. He served a prison sentence of six months and still faces 92 charges of money 
laundering and official corruption. 

"Two sitting state governors are currently the subject of money laundering 

"The EFCC, working with the FBI, also has an active case involving a group of money 
brokers using banks in the United States to launder money. The money laundering 
legislation of 2004 has given the EFCC the authority to investigate and prosecute such 

"The EFCC also has the authority to prevent the use of charitable and non-profit entities 
as laundering vehicles, though no such case has yet been reported. There were 23 
money-laundering convictions in 2005. The trial court process has improved after 
several experienced judges were assigned specifically to handle EFCC cases; this has 
motivated EFCC officials to bring more cases to court. During 2005, the EFCC seized 
money laundering-related assets worth $1billion, more than a 100 percent increase from 

The US government, therefore, rated Nigeria high in the prosecution of the corruption 
war, saying:" The Government of Nigeria has done a better job preventing and pursuing 
money laundering both within and outside the country in 2005. 

"It should continue to engage with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to ensure that 
Nigeria's remaining anti-money laundering deficiencies are corrected. The Nigerian 
Government should continue to pursue their anti-corruption programme and support 
both the ICPC and EFCC in their mandates to investigate and prosecute corrupt 
government officials and individuals, while at the same time maintaining the 
independence of those entities from the realm of politics. 

"The supervision of banking and non-banking financial institutions should be 
strengthened and moved from the Ministry of Commerce. Nigeria should construct a 
comprehensive anti-money laundering regime that willingly shares information with 
foreign regulatory and law enforcement agencies, is capable of thwarting money 
laundering and terrorist financing, and conforms to all relevant international standards.

Most major Nigerian newpapers also covered this story.

8 APR 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Punch:

103 Sri-Lankan job seekers fall prey to Nigerian dupe

Sesan Olufowobi

No fewer than one hundred and three Sri- Lankans, who had hoped to work in the United 
States of America, are currently licking their wounds after they discovered that they had 
been conned by Nigerian fraudsters. 

Also, about eight of the Sri-Lankans are currently serving jail terms in their home country 
for attempting to use forged passports and visas that emanated from Nigeria to travel to 
the US. 

Besides, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), in an attempt to get at 
the bottom of the scam has beamed its searchlights on the Nigerian Immigration 
Service to fish out two officials of the commission that allegedly aided the fraudsters in 
their crime. 

Saturday Punch learnt that the fraud started with a notice that was posted on the internet 
by one John Franken, who was supposed to be the Executive Director of King Fishers, 
Sea Food Charter, operating from Alaska USA. 

The notice requested for people from Bagladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippine, 
Algeria, Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, India among other countries, who could work as a lobster 
parkers, Sea food labourers, parkers and delivery drivers. 

An official of the EFCC told our correspondent that a Sri-Lankan, P.S Obali, got in touch 
with Franken and later Atuegbu Kelvin, who told Obali that his people, would need to get 
passports, Nigerian Visas, US visa among other documents. "The arrangement then 
was that the people would first come to Nigeria before moving to US. And all these 
documents cost $400 each," said the official. 

It was learnt that at a point, it was agreed that the people would come in batches, "that 
was how four came to Nigeria not too long ago. But they were arrested and detained for 
15 days for using fake documents." 

The fraudsters, however, managed to pacify Obali, and when Obali visited Nigeria, 
another man, Stanley Atuegbu, who claimed to be the son of Kelvin, met him. It was then 
agreed that visas would be acquired in Nigeria and sent back to Sri-Lanka. Also a 
Nigerian Immigration official would go to Sri-Lanka to clear the people so that it would 
seem that they were truly in Nigeria to get the visas. 

"Obali agreed and arrangement were made to send 20 people in first batch while the 
documents for the others would be undergoing processing. In all, there were 103 
passports," an EFCC officials said. 

The official added that two immigration officials based in Lagos and Abuja collected 
money to clear the people in Sri-Lanka but failed to appear. 

He continued that, however, the new arrangement with Obali fell through when eight 
people Obali placed on an aircraft for onward journey to USA were arrested for using 
forged documents. It was then that it dawned on Obali that he had been taken for a ride. 

He subsequently came to Nigeria and contacted the EFCC, which arrested Atuegbu. 
"We are still looking for Franken. But for now, we have managed to recover $35,892.81." 

EFCC spokesman, Osita Nwaja said the investigation was continuing. 

6 APR 2006
From the Nigerian newpaper The Daily Sun:

Court orders sale of 419 convict’s buildings 

It was a double tragedy for a fleeing 419 convict in Lagos, as a court 
ordered that his multi-million naira property be disposed of and the 
proceeds given to his victim as restitution. 
Bright Ezekuse was convicted eight years ago by Justice Eyamba 
Idem of the Miscellaneous Offences Tribunal for defrauding a German 
national, Marinder Bajwa, to the tune of 353,900 dollars in a hoax 
business transaction. 

Ezekuse has, however, evaded serving 15 years prison term, having 
been granted questionable bail in 2000. 

He was found in his house when the prosecution took steps to cost the 
value of his building in Ikotun to raise money to pay the victim. Sensing 
danger at the discovery of his presence in the country, Ezekuse 
developed wings and has since not been seen. However, the judge, 
who gave him the bail was sacked following a petition sent to the 
National Judicial Council (NJC) by the complainant. 

Justice Yetunde Idowu gave the order directing the deputy sheriff of the 
court to dispose of the convict’s property located in Ikotun, Ejigbo and 
Isolo areas of Lagos, following the applications by the prosecution and 
the victim. 

The applications, among others, sought the court’s order authorizing the 
sale of Ezekuse’s buildings located at 16, Oludotun Shobunkola street, 
Ikotun, valued at N5 million, a hotel complex at 56, Association Avenue, 
Ikotun, valued at N52 million and the one at 35, Yusuff street, Ejigbo 
valued at N4.5 million. 

Before granting the order to sell the property, Justice Idowu took time to 
review the history of the case and steps taken by her court to ensure 
that justice was done to the parties involved. 

To ensure that the course of justice was not sacrificed, the court 
ordered that the defendant be served the substituted service, by 
pasting the court processes on his house and through advertisement in 
a national (daily) newspaper. 

The judge also directed that a professional valuer be contracted, to 
ensure proper and correct value of the property, listed in the suit. 

But in order to stall the sale of the property, the defendant brought 
application, which, among others, sought an order to stay the execution 
of the consequential order for payment of restitution, through the sales 
of his property as ordered by Justice Eyamba in the November 26, 
1998, judgement. 

Specifically, the defendant contended that he was not the owner of the 
property listed in the suit. 

However, the claimants insisted that the defendant had fully exercised 
his right of appeal, which he lost in the Court of Appeal, which re-
affirmed his conviction and the 15-years sentence earlier passed on 

Besides, the claimants argued that efforts were made by the deputy 
sheriff and the prosecution to ensure that defendant’s counsel 
witnessed the sale of the property, but because of the defendant’s 
status as a fugitive convict, nobody was willing to be associated with 

After reviewing the case, Justice Idowu dismissed Ezekuse’s 
application seeking to perpetually stall the execution of the 
consequential order of restitution, as contained in the judgement of the 
Miscellaneous Offence Tribunal in 1998. 

The trial judge noted that throughout the proceedings, the defendant did 
not appear in court, adding that no reason was given for his absence. 

Besides, the court also noted that no explanation was given for the 
delay in bringing the application for stay of execution despite that it was 
served on time. 

Consequently, the court held that there must be an end to litigation. 
"Courts are not to deprive a successful litigant the fruits of its success 
and the machinery of justice is not to be used such as to amount to an 
abuse of the process of court."

In her reaction to the judgment, victim’s representative, Freida Springer-
Beck, expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the trial. 

She said: "though, it may be a bit late, the most important thing is that 
justice has been done and of course, the message that Nigeria is no 
longer a haven for fraudsters is also implied by the out come."

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

30 MAR 2006
From BBC News:

'Scammed by my internet lover' 

Ghanaian Robert Adda, 35, told the BBC News website how he got 
scammed on the internet while searching for love. 

I was scammed two years ago, via the internet, by a woman I thought 
was pushing me into love. 

Initially she wasn't too ambitious to meet me. She just wanted to build a 
friendship, it seemed and so we exchanged photographs and 
communicated by email. 

A few months went by and as time passed our intimacy increased. Not 
a day went by without us being in contact. 

I was single at the time and was looking to have a relationship. 

Preyed upon 

I didn't think it would lead to what it did. I believe that she preyed upon 
my wish to find love. 

She started talking to me about us being together, physically. She was 
living in the US and I in Ghana. But I explained that I didn't have 
immediate plans of travelling, and because I was working, it would be 
difficult for me to travel any time soon. 

She understood but then as time went by she started being pushy - 
continuing to say that if I loved her then I would find a way to be with her 
so that we could stay together. 

She then introduced me to a programme called WRAHA which I think 
she said stood for West African Refugee and Humanitarian Authority or 
something like that. 

Initially I objected. I didn't want to be a part of it. It was devious and 
dishonest and purely, I really didn't want to travel abroad - that was my 
major thing. 

But as I discussed it with friends they encouraged me to try. 

There were actually a lot of people who wanted to give it a go. Even 
someone I know who had been previously been a victim to a similar 
scam wanted to try. 


He told me that these matters were all down to luck and if you were 
lucky then you would succeed. 

For months afterwards I had to manage on very little money. I had to
use all my savings 
We were not lucky, my friends and I. 

We were tricked into making advance payments for emigrating to the 

We paid a number of fees ranging between $110 and $346 as our 
applications progressed from one stage to the next. 

Each time we were told that time was limited, because of deadlines, 
and so there were only a few hours to get our payment through. 

This deadline rush ended up being our trigger to suspect that 
something was not right. 


Sitting together and thinking and we all concluded that we'd been 
scammed. My friends were disappointed, like me, but they were not 
angry with me. 

They knew that I was not the one who collected their money and they 
knew that it had been a risk. 

I never heard from my so-called friend in the US once I told her that it 
was not going to be possible to continue making all the payments. That 
was when our relationship came to an end. 

I wonder if she ever even existed. 

I was really disappointed in myself for having got involved in such 
things. I couldn't be angry though. Instead I took as a lesson and put it 
down to a bad experience. 

For months afterwards I had to manage on very little money. I had to 
use all my savings and start again from scratch. 

If she actually existed and something more had happened then I would 
have felt heartbroken, instead I felt as though someone had played with 

I am sorry that I allowed someone to play with me like that. 

The reason these terrible scammers get away with their troublemaking 
is because people are not satisfied with what they have. 

Unfortunately, people's wish to travel abroad keeps these groups 
going. I know some people who have fallen for these tricks not just once 
but twice, even thrice. 

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

419 Coalition Note:  Although part of this 419ers "tale" was
that she was a US resident, in reality she could have been
operating from anywhere.  If there is Real evidence that
she was operating from the US, then this gent needs to
give it to the US Secret Service immediately and file
the necessary complaint.

24 MAR 2006
Here is a piece from on the
recent arrests of 419ers in the Netherlands (see
news items for 23, 24, and 26 FEB below):

Feds Indict Four in Nigerian Advance-Fee Scam 

Four people have been indicted on 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 from a lottery, according to federal prosecutors.

Three of the defendants named in the 11-count indictment -- two of whom were Nigerian
citizens residing in the Netherlands -- were arrested in Amsterdam by Dutch authorities 
on February 21, 2006, based on a criminal complaint filed in the United States. They are 
being held by the Dutch authorities pending extradition to the United States. The fourth 
defendant, also a Nigerian citizen, is a fugitive.

The charges include one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of 
mail fraud and one count of bank fraud, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney General 
Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the 
Eastern District of New York.

As part of a massive advance-fee scheme, the defendants allegedly sent spam e-mail 
to thousands of potential victims in which they falsely claim to have control of millions of 
dollars located in a foreign country that belongs to an individual with a terminal illness.

They are said to have then allegedly solicited the help of the potential victims to collect 
and distribute the funds to charity.

In exchange for the victims' help, the defendants allegedly promised the victims a share 
of a large inheritance, and inform the victims that they must pay a variety of advance 
fees for legal representation, taxes or bogus documentation. After the victims wire-
transfer funds to pay the "required fees," the defendants do not deliver the funds as 
promised. The victims lost more than $1.2 million.

"The defendants in this scheme allegedly fleeced many unsuspecting American victims 
with promises of charitable contributions and personal riches," said Assistant Attorney 
General Fisher. "We cannot allow these scam artists to prey on innocent victims in this 
country, and we will work across the globe to knock out these fraudulent get-rich-quick 

"Global fraudsters need to know that we are determined to find and prosecute them," 
said U.S. Attorney Mauskopf. "Potential victims need to know that any email offering 
millions of dollars that requires that they send money to receive this windfall is a 
scheme. Delete it."

The investigation was initiated by Dutch authorities. After identifying victims in the United 
States, Dutch authorities notified the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which opened its 
own investigation. Dutch authorities, as part of "Operation Dutch Treat," arrested three of 
the defendants on a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York.

The maximum penalty for mail and wire fraud is 20 years in prison, and the maximum 
sentence for bank fraud is 30 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a 
maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

23 MAR 2006
Here is a piece from IDG News which appeared in on 
the US indictiments of the four recently arrested Dutch based 419ers:

New York City grand jury return 10 and 11-count indictments against four in Nigerian e-
mail scam 

By Grant Gross 

Four people have been indicted and could face 30 years in prison for a variation on a 
popular scam in which e-mail senders claim they're trying to transfer money out of 
Nigeria, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday. 

A grand jury in New York City on Wednesday returned a 10-count indictment against 
three of the defendants and an 11-count indictment against the fourth. Alleged victims of 
the four individuals lost more than $1.2 million, the DOJ said. 

Three of the defendants were arrested in Amsterdam by Dutch authorities on Feb. 21, 
based on a U.S. criminal complaint. They are being held by the Dutch authorities 
pending extradition to the U.S., the DOJ said. The fourth defendant, a Nigerian citizen, is 
a fugitive. 

The four are Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, also known as Yellowman, Abdul Rahman, 
Helmut Schkinger, Nancy White, and other aliases; Anthony Friday Ehis, also known as 
John J. Smith, Toni N. Amokwu and Mr. T; Kesandu Egwuonwu, also known as KeKe, 
Joey Martin Maxwell, and David Mark; and an unnamed defendant known as Eric 
Williams, Lee, Chucks and Nago. 

The four are charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud and one 
count of mail fraud. Anisiobi is also charged with one count of bank fraud. 

The maximum penalty for mail and wire fraud is 20 years in prison, and the maximum 
sentence for bank fraud is 30 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a 
maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

The defendants allegedly sent spam e-mail messages to thousands of potential 
victims, and they falsely claimed to have control of millions of dollars located in a 
foreign country that belongs to an individual with a terminal illness, DOJ said. 

These aren't the first charges in the e-mail advance-fee scam, popular with Nigerian 
criminals. In January 2004, Dutch police arrested 52 people allegedly involved in 
Nigerian e-mail and related scams, and in May 2002, South African police arrested six 
people on related charges. U.S. authorities have also brought charges against other 
Nigerian scammers. 

The defendants allegedly solicited the help of the potential victims to collect and 
distribute the funds to charity. In exchange for the victims' help, the defendants promised 
the victims a share of the large inheritance, but told victims they must pay advance fees 
for legal representation, taxes or bogus documentation. 

After the victims wire transferred funds to pay the "required fees," the defendants did not 
deliver the funds as promised, DOJ said. 

"Global fraudsters need to know that we are determined to find and prosecute them," 
U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York said in a statement. 
"Potential victims need to know that any e-mail offering millions of dollars that requires 
that they send money to receive this windfall is a scheme. Delete it." 

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

21 MAR 2006
From the MetroWest Daily News, Framingham,

Toying with scam artists
By Andrew J. Manuse

A Framingham-based software engineer decided to play along with 
some Nigerians who were attempting to steal his money, and released 
a report yesterday detailing his experience.
"If you've had an e-mail account for even a short period of time, there's 
an excellent chance that you've received at least one spam message 
that's (known as) a 419 (Nigerian) scam message," wrote Michael 
Lamont, a senior software engineer for Process Software LLC in his 
report, "Exposing Nigerian Email Scams."
The 419 scam is named after a Nigerian law that addresses this type of 
scheme, prevalent in the poverty-stricken West African nation. The 
unsolicited e-mail messages usually come from an alleged Nigerian 
"official" who "urgently" needs to unload his millions, and promises 
recipients a cut of the spoils if they provide safe haven in their bank 
They actually come from "serious criminals" who are usually in Nigeria 
and try to get gullible Westerners, often senior citizens, to send them 
money "when they're not otherwise engaged in murder, kidnap, narco-
trafficking and armed robbery," the report says. They may also have 
ties to criminal organizations closer to home, it says.
"I was personally curious what these guys do," Lamont said yesterday. 
"The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to educate people."
Process Software also makes anti-spam software, called PreciseMail 
Anti-Spam Gateway, which blocks 419 messages.
Lamont, who responded to several 419 scam e-mails using the alias 
"Michael Hawk," said the e-mail form of the scam dates back about 10 
years. The "advance fee scam" is also detailed on the U.S. Secret 
Service's Web site, and can be traced back to even earlier times in fax 
and regular mail form.
The Nigerian scammers send forged bank documents and other 
identification to build trust, most recently via e-mail. Then they ask the 
victim to send their bank account numbers, not to steal money, but to 
make sure they have a willing victim on the other end, said Lamont, who 
tested the idea by sending fake bank numbers. His Nigerian 
"benefactor" did not flinch, he said.
Then they ask for several thousand dollars, $3,600 in Lamont's case, to 
cover "legal fees" for processing the transaction. They invent 
subsequent fees, which victims often pay because they have already 
"invested" money in the deal.
Lamont took his experiment a step further, and asked the Nigerians to 
send photos of themselves holding signs advertising the initials of his 
company's software.
"I want a photo of you that I know can't be faked by a scammer," Lamont 
wrote. "Once I have the photo, I will send the money for the attorney's 
fees via Western Union."
In the report, Lamont says Western Union is the perfect tool for 
scammers who can use a fake name and walk out the door with cash in 
their hands.
Some of the scammers actually sent pictures, Lamont said, but others 
stopped corresponding at that point. He never actually sent the money.

However, about 100,000 Americans have been victims of 419 scams 
since the 1980s, and Americans have lost about $300 million a year to 
the scammers, according to C.A. Pascale, coordinator for the Web-
based 419 Coalition.
Pascale, whose organization works to fight the Nigerian scammers, is 
based in Virginia. About one-third of the organization's 50 members 
were victims of 419 scams, he said.
The Nigerian government, which does have the 419 laws making these 
scams illegal, blames Westerners' greed for their losses. If the e-mails 
were legitimate, the American recipients of the Nigerians' money would 
likely go to jail for laundering money.
For more detailed information about Lamont's experiment, download 
his reports from
(Andrew J. Manuse can be reached at or 508-626-

Here is a link to the piece for as long as it is good:

419 Coaltion note:  419ers are, of course, equal opportunity scammers and
steal from people of all nations, races, and creeds, not just Westerners.
And though this piece is using Classic 419 as the priomary model for
419 operations, other forms of 419 such as Lottery 419, Cashier's  Check
419, Romance 419, and Employment 419 have become more and more prevalent 
over recent years.

2 MAR 2006
From the Associated Press as appeared on KNBC 4
Los Angeles:

SoCal Psychiatrist Allegedly Duped in Nigerian Internet Scam

Santa Ana, Calif. -- An orange county doctor says his father, a renowned
UC Irvine psychiatrist, lost millions to a Nigerian internet scam and should be
removed as head of their family partnership.

Guy Gottschalk alleges that his father, Louis A. Gottschalk, traveled to Africa to
meet a shadowy figure known as "The General."   He says his father destroyed
bank records to conceal losses of up to $3 million over 10 years.

He filed a lawsuit last month asking a judge to remove his father as
administrator of the family's $8 million partnership.  He says in court papers 
he filed the suit to prevent his father from being further victimized.

The elder Gottschalk acknowledges losing $900,000 to "some bad
investments" in court papers.  He and his attorney accuse Guy Gottschalk of
carrying out an unspecified "vendetta" against his father.

Louis Gottschalk is the founding chairman of the UC Irvine's department of
psychiatry and human behavior.  A university medical plaza is named after him.

Here is an URL of where the piece appeared for as long as it is good:

27 FEB 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Punch:

$242m scam: Nwude appeals against judgment

by Kayode Ketefe 

ONE of the three persons convicted for their involvement in the celebrated scam case 
on a Brazilian bank, Emmanuel Nwude, has appealled against the judgment of the high 
A Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, convicted Nwude and sentenced him to 25 years 
imprisonment on November 18, 2005. 

Justice Joseph Oyewole, gave the verdict after Nwude pleaded guilty to the amended 
12-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes 

The convict was also ordered to forfeit 14 real estates he had in London, Lagos, Port 
Harcourt, Enuga and Abuja. 

He was also to make restitution, among other things, by paying $110 million to the victim 
of the crime, the Brazilian banker, Mr. Nelson Sakaguchi. 

In his notice of appeal dated December 19, 2005, and filed by his lawyer Mr. Alex Izinyon 
(SAN), Nwude is asking the appellate court to quash a part of the judgment forfeited his 
property and the part that ordered him to pay $110 million to the victim. 

He is contending that the court has no jurisdiction to make the order of forfeiture against 
his property and to impose fine on him on the grounds that such decision amounted to 
"double jeopardy". 

According to him, the Criminal Code under which the charge was preferred did not 
empower the judge to make order of forfeiture. 

He also faulted the amount of the restitution ($110 million) reasoning that his entire 
assets as contained in the Schedule attached to the amended charge, was valued at 
$58,901, 097. 

The 25 years imprisonment term passed on Nwude, in effect, amounted to five years 
since the five separate terms of five years each were made to run concurrently.

24 FEB 2006
Here is a piece from ThisDay, a Nigerian newspaper,
on the recent arrests of 419ers in the Netherlands:

12 Nigerians Arrested in Netherlands

DUTCH police have arrested 12 Nigerians in connection with an internet scam that 
tricked people into investing in non-existent schemes.

The Nigerians were detained on suspicion of committing fraud or involvement in fraud 
in the scheme, which earned them a total $US2 million ($2.7 million). 

They were arrested Tuesday after raids on premises in Amsterdam and the central city 
of Zaandam, during which police seized €25,000 ($45,000) in cash, computers and fake 
travel documents. 

Most of the victims of the scam were US citizens. Four of the men detained were 
arrested on the request of US authorities, who co-operated on the investigation. 
The gang sent some 100,000 emails to potential victims, police said.

Computer users across the world are regularly bombarded by emails from Nigerian 
crooks seeking to trick them into handing over bank details or making advance 
payments on non-existent money-making schemes. Experts say the so-called "419" 
fraudsters - named after the relevant section in Nigeria's criminal code - steal 
hundreds of millions of dollars every year from unsuspecting targets. 

Here is a link to the article for as long as it is good:

23 FEB 2006
Here is a translation of a follow up piece on the
arrests of 419ers in Amsterdam, again from the
Dutch newspaper Volksrant:

Nigerian scammers closed down.
de Volkskrant, Economy, Februari 23th 2006 (page 07)
From our reporter  Ferry Haan


The American justice asked for the arrest and the extradition of Nigerians setting up 
large scale fraud schemes. The Amsterdam police, seventy officers all together, 
granted that request. 

Dirty money and fake inheritances. 

The so called 419 Nigerian scam comes around in many flavours. Most common is a 
letter or an e-mail announcing one has won the lottery. Another form is the one in which 
one is informed about a big inheritance from a far away family member somewhere in 
Africa. Common to all the schemes is the fact that always some kind of advanced fee 
has to be paid in order to release the money.

Next step in the process is usually the showing of bank notes that are made black, for 
so called 'security reasons'. Upon again the payment of several thousand euros a 
special cleaning fluid can be bought.

As a service, the con man offer to clean the money themselves. Upon completion of that 
task they will deposit the money in to an account held with a fake bank. The victim is 
urged to open that account, which again cost a couples of thousand euros.

Nigerian fraud frequently involves high amounts of money. For that reason experts tent 
to call the Nigerian fraud the 'advanced fee scam'. The con man try to hold on to their 
victims as long as possible. The process can go on for many years.

Most recent the fraud appears on the internet in chat boxes. In this 'love scam' the con 
artist pretends to be a man or a woman, feeling emotionally attracted to the victim, in 
desperate need of money to get e.g. goods across the border. 'Especially women fall 
massively for this kind of scam', Frank Engelsman says, fraud expert at Ultrascan, an 
organization conducting research on a regular basis on Nigerian scams. 

'We got hem', is announced on the American US Postal Inspection Service. The 
Nigerian Fatai Adebayo Busari was arrested last year. This week the Americans can 
add three more names to their leist of captured Nigerian fraudsters: requested by 
America the Amsterdam Police arrested twelve suspects. Hopes are high that the 
Police department to have hit the Amsterdam Nigerian mafia hard. In and around 
Amsterdam another eight hundred Africans are actively engaged in this kind of fraud, 
values Frank Engelsman on behalf of the investigation company Ultrascan.

On top of the arrest of twelve of them, the Nigerians will especially be scared off by the 
seven American police officers involved in the action. The US Postal Postal Police it not 
to be laughed at. They carry fire arms and are for example responsible for the 
investigations concerning bomb letters containing Antrax.

The US asked for the extradition of the Nigerians because they swindled Americans by 
post for at least USD two million.

The real damage is probably be much higher, Frank Engelsman suspects. He is 
shouting for years now that Amsterdam is 'the Lagos of Europe'. According to 
Engelsman, at least twelve gangs are operating, from which one has now been closed 

The 'Nigerian' or '419'-scam (called according to the Nigerian law against fraud) is 
worldwide the most expensive fraud. American authorities budget the damage on at 
least USD 750 million yearly.

Engelsman claims that this fraud should be seen as the ''third Nigerian industry. In the 
whole of Europe more than ten thousand Nigerians are more or less engaged in this 
kind of fraud."

Two years ago the police arrested about 50 Africans having to release them afterward 
due to lack of evidence. The spokesman of the Public Prosecutor in Amsterdam 
explains that the demands of the courts regarding 419-scam evidence are very high. 
The prosecutor has to proof which person was behind the computer when the scam was 
executed. 'This is very hard upon entering a house occupied by ten man watching the 
Africacup all testifying they know nothing', according to the press officer. On Tuesday 
twelve people were arrested on eight locations.  To do this seventy inspectors were 

22 FEB 2006
Here is a rough translation of a piece from the Dutch
newspaper Volksrant.  Pieces on this story appeared
in many major Dutch newspapers:


Amsterdam - Tuesday morning the Amsterdam Police arrested a gang 
of 12 Nigerians who are suspected of fraud.  The United States have 
asked for extradition of four gangmembers.

In the arrests, spreading over eight addresses in Amsterdam and 
Zaandam, the police used 70 officers. There were also seven US 
Postal Service Inspection officers present.  That agency deals with 
mail fraud.

The Nigerians are being susppected of conning their victims out of at 
least two million dollars.  Most victims come from the US.

Frank Engelsman, frauds specialist at the US company Ultrascan, says 
it's great that the Amsterdam Police force finally took some action. He 
fears though that the action is but a small achievement in the larger 
scale of things. According to him there are still eleven such Nigerian 
fraud gangs active in Amsterdam.

The Nigerians sent e-mails and letters to their victims where in was 
suggested they got an inheritance from a distant relative or a prize in 
a lottery. To collect the money the victims had to send several thousands 
of dollars as transaction fees.

The Dutch department of Financial Investigations has worked on this 
case since september 2005.

419 Coalition Note:  Kudos to the Dutch authorities and also high
marks for the international cooperation in this case.  In our experience
the Netherlands has been a hotbed for 419ers for several years now,
with Lottery 419 being a local specialty.  In fact, over the last couple 
of years, we have seen more 419 solicitations with Dutch phone numbers
on them than those of any other nation, including Nigeria, though the
Dutch based 419ers are of course Nigerians operating primarily from
Amsterdam (though we do not ask for 419 letters etc. to be sent in
to us, we receive them anyway, and that has been the trend in 
419 soliciations we have seen over the past few years - a purely 
unscientific observation).  It is good that the 419ers can no longer
count of having a relatively safe haven in Holland.  Now, if the
Dutch will follow up on this success by instituting simplified and
centralized 419 reporting; obtaining the ability to quickly shut 
down reported 419 phone numbers; and additional continued attention
to counter-419 operations, they will better able to control the 419
operations emanating from their jurisdiction.

14 FEB 2006
From the Nigerian Newspaper The Register.  Also see other 
articles on this story in our 16 JAN 2006 News item below
(scroll down):

419er jailed for 376 years
Hard time for $2m scammer

By Lester Haines

A Nigerian 419er was last Friday jailed for 376 years by a Lagos court for "stealing, 
forgery, impersonation and conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences" contrary to 
the Advance Fee Fraud Act, the Nigerian Daily Independent reports.

Harrison Odiawa, 38, aka Abu Belgori, managed to extract $1,939,710 from US national 
George Robert Blake on the promise of a percentage of a bogus $20.45m Ministry of 
Health contract. The classic advance fee scam saw a duped Blake transfer the 
"advance payments" after seeing forged documents - including a certificate of 
registration with the Corporate Affairs Ministry and the aforementioned forged Ministry 
contract - which convinced him he was indeed about to get rich. Blake raised the cash 
from his company, Quest Exploration and Development, and his own personal assets.

Odiawa was eventually tracked and arrested in Lagos by Economic and Financial 
Crime Commission (EFCC) operatives. During his trial, Blake appeared as the star 
witness and identified Odiawa from his voice because "because they had 
conversations for more than 100 times over the telephone". Odiawa countered that he 
was not in fact the person who had scammed the American but rather "chanced on the 
telephone number he found on a computer that was not lodged out from the internet in 
his cyber café".

Judge Joseph Olubumi Oyewale was unimpressed, and in jailing the 419er on 48 of the 
58 counts on which he was charged, also ordered him to pay back $1.6m to his victim. 
He said he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others.

Blake has already served a 30-month jail sentence in the US for money laundering and 
bank wire offences.

419 Coaliton note:  The sentences on the various counts are
to be served concurrently, which means that the actual time
served by Odiawawill be 12 years maximum.

14 FEB 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay

Court Acquits, Discharges 419 Suspect
By Abimbola Akosile, 

Two years after his arrest by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes 
Commission (EFCC), an Ikeja High Court Judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, yesterday 
faulted the prosecution's case, and went ahead to discharge and acquit a 22-year-old 
advance fee fraud suspect, Mr Fasade Tomide, of both counts of conspiracy and 
obtaining goods by false pretence.

Oyewole, who ironically had received three death threat letters from suspected '419' 
practitioners (between November 2005 to January 2006), said he could not find any 
sufficient evidence upon which the accused could be convicted for attempt to commit 
the offences alleged against him, and also identified several defects and obvious 
inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

Tomide, alias Mike Cole, arraigned before the court on October 22, 2004, on a two-count 
charge, was alleged to have conspired on April 20, 2004, with one Seun Cole (now at 
large), to obtain goods by false pretences from Thill Track & Tractor Service, based in 
the United States of America through the internet; and obtained a parcel containing 
tractor spare parts valued at $7,900.00, approximately  N1,106,000.00 from the company.
After a trial which began, on January 12, 2005 with four prosecution witnesses called, 
Oyewole said there was a fallacy on the accused's alleged confessional statement, 
which proved fatal to the prosecution's case. 

"It is a deficiency engendered by ignorance of investigators, which has set limitations on 
such assumptions. I am unable to hold that the said confession is true and cannot make 
a finding that the accused person is the Mike Cole being sought for the alleged fraud.

Prosecution has failed to establish the charge of obtaining goods by false pretences as 
laid against the accused person in count 2. 

He is, therefore, discharged and acquitted on that count. Prosecution also failed to 
establish the count on conspiracy, and as such the accused is equally discharged and 
acquitted on count 1.

In conclusion, I hold that the prosecution has failed to prove each of the counts of 
offences alleged against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt, and I 
therefore discharge and acquit him accordingly," Oyewole ruled.

The Nigerian newspapers Punch and Guardian, among others,
also covered this story.

14 FEB 2006
Here's a cautionary piece on this Valentine's Day from
the Nigerian newspaper The Daily Sun:

Trans-Atlantic love costs American lady $50,000 -
Duped by Nigerian fraudster


A 42-year-old American lady, who came to Nigeria from Texas, United States, with her 
wedding accessories to tie the nuptial knot with a supposed male American Muslim she 
met on the internet has gone back home heartbroken. 

This followed the discovery that the man she had travelled to Africa to be joined to in 
wedlock was not the one in the photograph sent to her, but a 24-year-old Nigerian 
posing as an expatriate engineer, working in an oil company.

The victim, Thumbelina Henshaw, a Muslim, did not only lose her heart to the fraudster 
but also lost more than 50,000 dollars, as well as several gift items she had been 
sending to the con man through courier services.

When Henshaw met the fraudster identified as Abdulakeem Yekini, rather than yell at 
him for fooling her, she was said to have calmly handed him a copy of the Holy Quran 
and told him to seek Allah’s forgiveness. Already, Yekini has become a guest of the 
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

One of the precious things Henshaw salvaged from the relationship was a 20,000 
dollars worth of jewelry she brought to Nigeria. She had initially planned to present it to 
her heart-throb and his Muslim brothers to sell and then add the proceeds to the funds 
for the wedding preparation.

Daily Sun gathered that Yekini allegedly found Henshaw, a nurse, on a website for 
singles and began to chat her up.

Within a few days of chatting, Yekini knew the lady was a dedicated Muslim and 
decided to use her religion to ensnare her. He told her he was a staunch Muslim named 
William Phillips, an American, working in an oil company in Nigeria.

Yekini further told Henshaw that he has two children, named Hakim and Jane. 
Pretending to be Phillips, he also said his wife died in an automobile accident. The 
fraudster finally hoodwinked her when he told Henshaw he loved her and was looking 
for a dedicated Muslim wife, who would be a mother to his children.

When Henshaw asked him to send his picture, Yekini downloaded a white man’s picture 
from the internet and forwarded it to her. The chatting, which started in June 2005, 
snowballed into talks about marriage.

In the course of the discussions, Yekini told the lovesick woman that the mosque he 
attends in Nigeria needed renovation and that good Muslims were contributing funds 
towards the repairs. He also introduced her to the Imam at the non-existent mosque. But 
operatives of the EFCC believe that Yekini was also the person posing as Imam and 
chatting with Henshaw on the internet. When Yekini told Henshaw that the mosque was 
where they would get married when she comes to Nigeria, she immediately sent him 
1,500 dollars. After sending the first dollars, Henshaw continued sending more money 
whenever Yekini told her about any Muslim project. Aside from the money, she never 
relented in sending valuable items.

To further fool her into believing his lies, Yekini said he would be coming home to 
America. Trying to assist him in reducing cost, Henshaw sent a return ticket to Nigeria for 
him at 1,700 dollars, but he never showed up. When Henshaw said she would like to 
come to Nigeria for the wedding as agreed, Yekini asked for postponement of the 
ceremony, claiming he needed urgently to go to Liberia for a job.

After two postponements of the wedding, Henshaw felt it was better to just come to 
Nigeria herself for the wedding. She went shopping. She called the Imam and told him 
she was coming to Nigeria.

She met another Muslim on the flight to Nigeria and became friendly with him. She told 
him her story and he hinted her that she could be dealing with fraudsters. They had 
contacted EFCC, which agreed to set a trap for the fraudster.

Having arrived Nigeria, December 2, 2005, she called Yekini and asked him to come to 
a hotel in Ikeja. A trap was set for Yekini, who came, thinking he could still deceive the 

When it dawned on him that he had walked into a trap, he tried to jump a fence, but 
EFCC operatives caught him. Recovered from him was a cellular phone that Henshaw 
identified as one of the items she sent to the supposed American, called William 

The EFCC spokesman, Mr Osita Nwajah, told Daily Sun that the suspect would soon be 
charged to court.

He said: "We are sure to get a clean conviction."

Here is the URL of the piece for as long as it is good:

30 JAN 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian:

EFCC begins sale of fraud convicts' property
By Emmanuel Badejo

THE multi-million naira houses of three Nigerians, who were convicted two months ago 
for defrauding a Brazilian bank of $242 million, are now being sold to indemnify the 
judgment sum against them.
The convicts are Chief Emmanuel Nwude, Nzeribe Okolo and Mrs. Matina Amaka 

Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of a Lagos High Court, two months ago, brought to an end 
the celebrated fraud trial, sentencing Nwude and Okolo to a total of 37 years 

Besides, the convicts are to forfeit a total of $121.5 million, including all their property, 
both home and abroad to the Brazilian bank and the Federal Government.

The third convict, Anajemba, had on July 16, 2005 pleaded guilty to the charges against 
her. She forfeited N32 billion both in cash and assets and was sentenced to two and half 
years imprisonment.

But for Nwude and Okolo, their trial went sour when EFCC brought the former Managing 
Director of Banco, Noroaster Sa (the bank that was defrauded) Mr. Nelson Sakaguchi.

Subsequently, a plea-bargaining was reached with the prosecutor, the Economic and 
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This led to the accused pleading guilty for a light 
sentence in addition to forfeiting all their known assets.

About 34 property are being offered to buyers by the EFCC. 

One common feature of these property is that they are located at highbrow areas and 
commercial centres in the country. They also run into billions of naira.

The Guardian learnt that a popular petroleum dealer and Chief Executive Officer of 
Zenon Petroleum, Femi Otedola, might have purchased one of the property situated at 
1, Copper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Though this was not confirmed, The Guardian's visit to the Copper Street revealed that 
the firm has taken possession of the building and re-christened it Zenon Towers.

26 JAN 2006
From the Nigeran newspaper the Daily Sun:

INTERNET RAT: They conned an American lady, using marriage as bait
By Juliana Francis

A joint effort by Nigeria and American authorities has ended the pranks of three Nigerian 
boys, who were defrauding Americans on the Internet. 

The syndicate comprised Michael Evbowera, 21, Mark Paul Udoh 16 and William 
Emery, who allegedly swindled an American woman of 3000 dollars and a laptop 

Investigations between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have also revealed that the boys sent over one 
million fraudulent cheques and money orders to different people in the United States, for 
the shipment of goods.

Posing as a working class man looking for a potential wife, Emery surfed the net and 
found Shirley Garza. After chatting a couple of times with her, he had told her he loved 
her and proposed to marry her. Garza, said to be in her mid-30s was said to have fallen 
for the ruse. She started sending money whenever Emery asked for assistance as an 
expression of her love.

The scales, however, fell off her eyes when Emery asked her to send a laptop to him. 
He promised to send her money for it. He further instructed her to write Adesola Joseph 
as the sender. When she asked him why Adesola, he reportedly said: " Courier 
companies no longer send goods bearing foreign names to the owners."

Thinking she was dealing with a genuine person, Garza sent the laptop but she later 
discovered that the information on the credit card he sent her was forged. Suspecting 
foul play, she ran to the FBI in Louisville, Kentucky and they contacted those in Nigeria. 
Soon the story got to Mr. Mark, the legal attaché of the United States consulate in Lagos. 
Mark alerted EFCC, which immediately started investigation. Garza was instructed by 
the agencies to play along with the fraudsters. 

Daily Sun gathered that for three weeks after the laptop arrived Nigeria, the smart alecs 
didn’t surface to pick it. And for those three weeks, operatives lay in wait, knowing it was 
only a matter of time. 

Trying to make sure they had not been discovered, Emery called Garza. 
A source said: " He told her that he heard policemen were at the courier company, that 
maybe she alerted them. She denied it. He later went with Mark Paul Udoh to collect the 
laptop. They were arrested as they were collecting it."

EFCC had since searched their home and discovered that the three youngsters live 
together. Recovered from them were countless numbers of fake cheques, postal orders 
and money orders. The boys have admitted contributing money each to purchase the 
fake cheques and money orders. Emery contributed N8000, Mark Paul Udoh N2000 
and Michael N3000. They further said that the seller was one Mike, a Ghanaian, they met 
on line. Whenever they needed the cheque or money order, they would all meet at a 
designated place in Sango Ota, in Ogun State. 

Here is the URL of the piece for  as long as it is good:

25 JAN 2006 has a good article on Lottery 419.
Here is the URL for as long as it is good:

We'd post it up but they have a block on copying their
articles, so one has to go to the site to read the piece.

16 JAN 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper, Daily Independent:

Man jailed 376 years for defrauding American of $1.9m 

By Victor Efeizomor, Law Reporter 

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) recorded another major victory 
last Friday when a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, sentenced a middle-aged man to 376 years 
imprisonment for defrauding an American national of about $1.9 million. 

The Presiding Judge, Justice Joseph Olubumi Oyewale, while delivering his judgment 
also ordered Harrison Odiawa, (alias Abu Belgori) to refund the sum of $1.6million to the 
victim, George Robert Blake, saying that the prosecution (EFCC) proved its case 
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime as charged. 

He said he believed the testimony of the star prosecution witness (George Robert 
Blake) because"he was sober, candid, and truthful and was not in doubt."

He said the jail term would run currently starting from the date the convict (Odiawa) was 
remanded in prison custody. He said Odiawa’s predicament stemmed out of the desire 
to lead a life on the "fast track" and should serve as a deterrent to others. 

Odiawa, 38, was slammed with a 58- count criminal charge of stealing, forgery, 
impersonation and conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence contrary to Advance 
Fee Fraud Act, soon after he was trailed and arrested by EFCC operatives in Ikeja, 
Lagos for scamming an American national, Mr. George Robert Blake of no less than 
$1,939,710 in 2003. 

Justice Oyewale discharged Odiawa of 10 count charges and sentenced him on the 
remaining 48 count charges, saying that during the trail, the prosecution called eight 
witnesses and tendered 120 exhibits to proof their case while the defense brought three 
witnesses and paraded 25 exhibits to close their case. 

Blake, who has served a 30 month jail term in America for money laundering and bank 
wiring, during his evidence in chief, told the court that Harrison Odiawa, alias Abu 
Belgori, lured him to a $20.45 million bogus contract in Nigeria where he was made to 
wire about $1,939,710 in several trenches into Nigeria as advance payments. 

He told the court that he identified Odiawa from his voice because they have had 
conversations for more than 100 times over the telephone and that all the documents 
sent to him was done through fax and emails while the transaction lasted. 

In his defense, Odiawa told the court he was innocent of the charges brought against him 
because he was the not the actual person that scammed George Robert Blake, arguing 
that he only chanced on the telephone number he found on a computer that was not 
lodged out from the inter net in his cyber café.’ 

Here is a link to the piece for as long as it is good:

Other major Nigerian papers including ThisDay and The Guardian
also covered the story, here is a link to the ThisDay article for as
long as it is good:
Here is a link to a later piece done on this story in the
Nigerian newspaper Daily Sun for as long as it is good:

419 Coalition Note:  419 Coalition thanks Nuhu Ribadu, Ibrahim
Lamorde, Rotimi Jacobs, and the rest of the EFCC for their hard
work and excellent performance in bringing this 419er to justice
and stripping him of his stolen money.

10 JAN 2006
From the Nigerian newspaper, the Saturday Punch:

Czech murderer of Nigerian consul freed on health grounds

A 74-year-old former Czech army doctor, imprisoned for five years for 
killing the Nigerian consul in Prague in 2003, will not serve out the 
sentence because of his poor health, Prague court officials decided on 

Jiri Pasovsky, who shot dead consul Michael Lekara Wayid and 
injured another embassy employee after falling victim to a financial 
scam, is suffering from cancer and other illnesses, his lawyer, Klara 
Samkova, said. 
He heard the court verdict lying down and spoke a few barely audible 

Pasovsky said he shot the consul following financial transactions with 
Nigeria which eventually cost him around 15 million koruna (510,000 

He received an eight-year jail sentence in June, last year. This was cut 
on appeal to five years. 

The former doctor worked at the end of the 1960s as an agent of the 
former communist secret police, the StB (Statni Bezpecnost) and at the 
time even infiltrated the US Central Intelligence Agency, according to 
one of the main Czech dailies, Mlada Fronta Dnes. 

While working with the Czechoslovak mission in Kabul, Pasovsky was 
mainly responsible for reporting on the activities of the local U.S 

He also denounced some of his compatriots who wanted to defect 
abroad, the daily said. 

The decision of the public prosecutor to dispense with Pasovsky's jail 
sentence confirms a ruling by a Prague city court last week. 

5 JAN 2006
From the Belgian Police site, they have arrested a
group of 419ers.  The article is in Dutch, with an English
translation following:

Nigeriaanse oplichtersbende opgerold

Oplichters bouwen bureau om tot bankkantoor

GENT 05/01/2006. - De Gerechtelijke Dienst van het Arrondissement 
(GDA) Gent heeft 4 leden van een internationale oplichtersbende 
De vier verdachten, allen van Nigeriaanse origine, lieten hun slachtoffers 
via brief of e-mail geloven dat ze een grote som geld 
hadden geërfd. Om deze erfenis vrij te maken, moesten de slachtoffers 
eerst allerlei kosten betalen, maar dit geld zagen ze nooit meer terug. 
De bende maakte slachtoffers in België, de Verenigde Staten, Canada, 
Zwitserland, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Liechtenstein. 
Eén van de verdachten, een zaakvoerder uit de rand van Gent, is nog 
steeds aangehouden. 

De speurders kwamen de oplichterbende op het spoor via een 
zaakvoerder uit de rand van Gent die handelde in 
tweedehandswagens. Ze ontdekten dat er vanuit het buitenland grote 
sommen geld werden gestort op zijn rekening. Deze bedragen waren 
helemaal niet in verhouding tot de kleine omzet van zijn zaak. Na enig 
onderzoek bleek dit geld afkomstig te zijn van slachtoffers van de 
zogenaamde 419-fraude (Advance Fee Fraud). 
Begin juni 2005 werd de zaakvoerder samen met twee kompanen uit 
Gent aangehouden. 

In november 2005 pakten de speurders ook nog een vierde verdachte 
op toen bleek dat via binnen- en buitenlandse rekeningen van de 
zaakvoerder voor meer dan 2 miljoen Euro werd witgewassen. 

Twee keer opgelicht 
De oplichters stelden alles in het werk om hun slachtoffers te laten 
geloven dat ze oprechte bedoelingen hadden. Sommige slachtoffers 
werden zelfs uitgenodigd om in een bankgebouw in Gent of Amsterdam 
documenten te gaan tekenen. Daar bouwden de oplichters een 
willekeurig bureau om tot een bankkantoor of deden ze zich voor als 
werknemers van een echt bankkantoor. 

Op het ogenblik dat de slachtoffers een vermoeden hadden van de 
oplichting, werden ze benaderd door zogenaamde "security-
bedrijven" uit Nederland. Die beloofden de zaak voor hen uit te klaren 
tegen een bepaalde kost. Achteraf bleek dat ook deze bedrijven niet 
bestonden en gewoon deel uitmaakten van de criminele organisatie. 

Erfenissen, vermogens, valse cheques
De oplichters probeerden hun slachtoffers op verschillende manieren 
te misleiden. Sommigen kregen te horen dat ze een grote som geld 
hadden geërfd, anderen werd voorgesteld om het vermogen van een 
overleden Afrikaanse weldoener te beheren. Ook hier bleek er geen 
geld of Afrikaanse weldoener te bestaan. 
Een Belgisch slachtoffer kreeg dan weer een cheque toegestuurd met 
het verzoek deze op zijn rekening te plaatsen en het bedrag, min een 
kleine commissie, onmiddellijk over te maken naar het buitenland. 
Achteraf bleek de cheque vals te zijn en was het geld al cash van de 
rekening in het buitenland gehaald. 


De Federale Politie vraagt iedereen om zeer voorzichtig te zijn 
wanneer ze per post of 
e-mail worden benaderd in verband met: 

* erfenissen van onbekende familieleden; 
* lottowinsten in het buitenland waar u nooit aan deelnam; 
* beheer van vermogens of nalatenschappen in het buitenland. 

Maak in zo’n gevallen nooit geld over om zogezegde kosten te 
betalen. Geef ook geen persoonlijke gegevens zoals kopies van 
identiteitskaarten, paspoorten, bankkaarten, ...
Laat uw rekening ook niet gebruiken om cheques van onbekende te 

Indien u slachtoffer bent van een soortgelijke oplichting, leg dan zo snel 
mogelijk klacht neer bij de politie. 

Meer informatie omtrent deze en andere vormen van oplichting via 
internet en meer preventietips, vindt u op 

Here is a link to the piece:

Here is the English translation:

Nigerian swindlers gang rounded up

Swindlers restyle office room as bank office

Gent 2006/01/05 - The Judicial Service of the Arrondissement Gent  
(GDA) has arrested 4 members of an international swindlers gang.

The four suspects, all of Nigerian origin, made their victims believe  
via letters or email that they had inherited a large sum of money. To  
obtain this inheritance, the victims first had to pay all sorts of  
costs, but they never got any of this money back. The gang made  
victims in Belgium, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the  
United Kingdom and Lichtenstein. One of the suspects, a business  
owner from the outskirts of Gent, remains apprehended.

Second hand cars

The detectives discovered the swindlers gang via a business owner  
from the outskirts of Gent who bought and sold second hand cars. They  
discovered that large sums of money were transfered to his account  
from abroad. These amounts were not proportionate at all compared to  
the small turnover of his business. After some investigation it  
turned out this money came from victims of the so-called 419 fraud  
(Advance Fee Fraud). At the start of June 2005 the business owner was  
arrested along with two accomplices from Gent.

In November 2005 the detectives also arrested a fourth suspect when  
it turned out that, using domestic and foreign bank accounts of the  
business owner, more than 2 million Euro was laundered.

Cheated twice

The swindlers did everything in their power to make their victims  
believe they were honest. Some victims were even invited to come and  
sign documents in a bank office in Gent or Amsterdam. There the  
swindlers restyled a random office into a bank office, or the  
pretended to be employees of a real bank office.

If victims started to suspect they were being cheated, they were  
approached by so-called "security companies" from the Netherlands.  
They promised to sort out everything in exchange for a sum of money.  
Afterwards it turned out these companies did not exist and just were  
part of the criminal organisation.

Inheritances, assets, counterfeit cheques

The swindlers tried to deceive their victims in various ways. Some  
were told that they had inherited a large sum of money, others were  
proposed to manage the assets of a deceased African benefactor. Also  
in these cases it turned out there was no money or African benefactor.

A Belgian victim was sent a cheque with the request to cash it in on  
his account and to transfer the sum, minus a small commission,  
immediately to a foreign country. Afterwards the cheque turned out to  
be counterfeit and the money was already withdrawn in cash from the  
foreign account.


The Federal Police asks everyone to be very careful when they are  
contacted by postal mail or by email regarding:

* inheritances of unknown family members;
* lottery winnings in foreign countries in which you never participated;
* managing assets or inheritances in foreign countries.

In such cases, never transfer money to pay for so-called costs. Also  
do not provide personal data such as copies of id cards, passports,  
bank cards, ... Neither allow the usage of your account to cash in  
cheques of strangers.

If you are a victim of a similar swindle, press charges with the  
police as soon as possible.

More information regarding this and other forms of swindling via the  
Internet and more prevention tips, can be found at

4 JAN 2006
From The Punch, a Nigerian newspaper:

Cyber fraud leads to blockage of Nigeria’s IP address

by Omolola Awe 

President Olusegun Obasanjo’s war against corruption has once again been dealt 
another blow. The war, which has swept many serving government officials out of office, 
seems to be having no effect at the cyber fraud level. 

This is because the biggest domain registrar in the world, Go Daddy Software Inc., 
owners of the web domain, where individuals can buy packages of 
web domains and resell to other individuals willing to own their web addresses, has 
blocked Nigeria’s Internet Protocol address. 

Go Daddy has therefore blocked access to its website from Nigeria, and all those who 
bought packages of web domains from the domain registrar, thereby registering their 
website with it, have also been denied access to their websites. 

The company took this decision based on a survey carried out by its fraud department, 
which identified Nigeria as a country where there was a high incidence of fraud. 

The development came to the notice of a domain registrar in Nigeria, Mr. Deji 
Onigbinde, who buys .com, .net, and .org domain sites here in Nigeria from the United 
States-based Go Daddy and resells to Nigerians who desire to own their own web 

According to Onigbinde, he tried to access Go Daddy website with no luck throughout 
Monday, December 26, despite the fact that the site server was on. 

A call to the Customer Care Department of Go Daddy Software Inc. confirmed 
Onigbinde’s fears that probably Nigeria’s Internet Protocol address could have been 

A discussion on phone with an unidentified staff of the Customer Support Department 
confirmed to him that the US Government had added Nigeria to a list of countries not to 
do business with and that the ban could take a year or more to expire. A mail was sent to 
him the following day, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent to 
further confirm this. 

The mail read, "The United States Government asks that we do not conduct business 
with these nations: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Nigeria. If your 
credit card is issued from an establishment located within one of these countries, or if 
you reside in one of these countries, you will not be able to complete a purchase from 
our website or access our network. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may 

Nick White, a member of the Reseller Support Department, signed the mail, which was 
sent from 

A mail to this address however denied the initial assertion that the United States 
Government did not encourage it to conduct business with Nigeria but rather that it was 
due to a high rate of fraud in the country. 

The mail sent by our correspondent was replied by one Amber, B. of the Customers 
Service Department of Go Daddy Software Inc. It stated, "This country is not listed as 
one that the US Government has asked that we do not do business with. Our Fraud 
Department identified Nigeria as a country where there was a high incidence of fraud. 
Because of this, we had to block access to our site from this country. We can cancel and 
refund any services, or help you move your services elsewhere."

Registering a domain name requires registration with either an accredited domain 
registrar like Go Daddy or with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and 
Numbers, the body responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name 
System, to ensure that every address is unique and that all users of the Internet can find 
all valid addresses. 

Individuals however prefer to use accredited domain registrars because their services 
are cheaper than that of ICANN. 

Internet service providers register directly with ICANN. This, perhaps, may be the 
reason the Corporate Affairs Manager of Linkserve Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ufuoma Daro, 
said that the services the company rendered to its customers had not been affected in 

The interesting thing is that someone from an unblocked country can access these 

Interestingly too, figures obtained from the US Internet Fraud Centre rate America as the 
country with the highest rate of Internet fraud. 

Onigbinde explained, "A domain registrar can block the IP addresses of countries that it 
gets high cases of fraud from. But this is usually resolved by not accepting its credit 
cards for a while but not by entirely refusing access to its websites."

He further argued that the registrar had already collected money for the sale of domain 
from its customers and cutting them off from managing their domains, Onigbinde says, 
can be likened to theft; but a theft done in retaliation to another theft, done on a large 

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