Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nigerian Inheritance Scam Artist Busted

Four men have been indicted on federal charges they masterminded a Nigerian get-rich-quick spam scheme that netted the alleged fraudsters more than $1 million, the U.S. Department of Justice announced

The defendants – Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, Anthony Friday Ehis, Kesandu Egwuonwu and "John Doe 1" – are accused of persuading victims into sending them more than $1.2 million in cash in exchange for a piece of an non-existent inheritance, according to a Justice Department statement.

The men were charged with eight counts of wire fraud, and one count each of mail fraud and conspiracy. Anisiobi additionally was charged with one count of bank fraud.

Anisiobi, Ehis and Egwuonwu are awaiting extradition to the United States after Dutch authorities arrested them Feb. 21, the statement said. Two of the men are Nigerian citizens who were living in the Netherlands. The fourth defendant, John Doe 1, whose aliases include Eric Williams, Lee, Chucks and Nago, remains at large.

"We cannot allow these scam artists to prey on innocent victims in this country," U.S. Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said, "and we will work across the globe to knock out these fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes."

U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf warned Americans to protect themselves against similar solicitations.

"Potential victims need to know that any email offering millions of dollars that requires they send money to receive this windfall is a scheme," she said. "Delete it."

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