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    Major Nigerian Letter Scam Conviction

    As anybody who follows the fraud world knows, financial scams, particularly advance fee scams originating from African countries, are among the most prevalent of all scams today.

    One of the problems in curtailing fraud, which plays right into the hands of fraud artists, is that many enforcement agencies, including governments, police forces, etc. tend to view financial fruad, or economic health fraud, or mortgage fraud as largely "victimless" crime, as compared to criminal activity where someone actually gets physically traumitized.

    Rainbow Investigations certainly does not consider fraud a "victimless" crime, nor do the thousands of people who have emailed us over the years. We do feel governments and enforcement agencies, particularly here in Canada, have got to get up to date in their thinking on this issue. After the threat of terrorism, this is perhaps the second biggest type of global crime in the world today.

    Typically, the Nigerian Letter Scam starts with someone receiving an email requesting assistance to get $$ from an African country. Usually, the letter will state that a tragedy has occurred - a death, or something similiar, and the "target's" assistance is urgently required. Of course, the target is assured his/her assistance will be worth several thousands of dollars.

    Recently the latest breed of these advance fee requests have been to provide assistance for export/import busness reasons. Another recent branch has been in home employment opportunities.

    Then there is an initial request of an adminstration "fee", followed by other "fees", and then perhaps a trip somewhere to receive the money. Of course, the "target" sees no money, and the game is to get as much money out of him/them as possible.

    Typically the scam duplicates real banks, real law firms, and real professionals to appear legitimate.

    They say this is the fourth largest contributor to the Nigerian economy.

    Well, maybe we are in for some changed times. European and African governments are having a bit more success in going after some of these fraud artists.

    In our first pasted story, here is a major conviction in Nigeria in July of 2005:

    17 JUL 2005

    From Reuters:

    Nigeria jails woman, Amaka Anajemba, in $242 mln email fraud case

    A Nigerian court has sentenced a woman to two and half years in jail after she pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the country's biggest e-mail scam case, the anti-fraud agency said on Saturday.

    Amaka Anajemba, one of three suspects in a $242 million fraud involving a Brazilian bank, would return $48.5 million to the bank, hand over $5 million to the government and pay a fine of 2 million nair agency said.

    Scams have become so successful in Nigeria that anti-sleaze campaigners say swindling is one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa.

    Anajemba's sentencing by a Lagos High Court on Friday is the first major conviction since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003 to crack down on Nigeria's thriving networks of email fraudsters.

    The agency said in a statement that the judgment was "a landmark achievement by EFCC in the fight against advance fee fraud, corruption and other related crimes."

    Typically fraudsters send out junk e-mails around the world promising recipients a share in a fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay never receive the promised windfall.

    Anajemba, whose late husband masterminded the swindling of the Sao Paolo-based Banco Noroeste S.A. between 1995 and 1998, was charged along with Emmanuel Nwude and Nzeribe Okoli.

    The prosecution said the three accused obtained the $242 million by promising a member of the bank staff a commission for funding a non-existent contract to build an airport in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

    All three accused pleaded not guilty, but Anajemba later changed her mind to enter a guilty plea in order to receive a shorter sentence that was backdated to 2004 when she was first taken in custody. The trial of the two others who maintained their not guilty pleas was adjourned to September.

    Ranked the world's second most corrupt country after Bangladesh by sleaze watchdog Transparency International, Nigeria has given new powers to the EFCC which is prosecuting about 200 fraud and corruption cases.

    The anti-fraud agency has arrested over 200 junk mail scam suspects since 2003. It says it has also confiscated property worth $200 million and secured 10 other convictions. ($1-132.70 Naira)"

    Shortly sfter this another impressive development with the arrest of more scammers in Spain. Agencies claim this is the biggest arrest ever. The link to this story is here here.

    In closing, we applaud these developments in Europe and Africa. And we reiterate to our police forces and enforcement agencies here in Canada - IT IS POLITICALLY CORRECT TO GO AFTER FRAUD ARTISTS! IT IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME!!!!

    Date of Story: Sunday, August 14, 2005
    Story Posted By: Ron Reinhold
    Source: Ron Reinhold/The Register UK

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