Hard as it might be to believe, people are still falling for the classic Nigerian 419 scam. Consider that federal prosecutors have charged 10 people with various crimes for allegedly scamming U.S. victims out of a combined $1.5 million. Claudio Uche Dibe, the 25-year-old accused ringleader, tried to avoid arrest by fleeing to Canada in 2009, but was extradited last month and is now being charged with 15 counts of wire fraud.
According to The Register , federal agents charged Bright Amesi, 25, and Briceson Loving, also 25, with 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. All three men entered pleas of not guilty. Out of the remaining seven individuals accused of participating in the scam, four pleaded not guilty and three are scheduled to be arraigned next week.
If the Nigerian 419 scam is new to you, we'll assume you've recently been hit in the head with a rock and lost all memory, as opposed to living under a rock, in which case you'd still be familiar with this ploy. The Nigerian 419 scheme is a type of advanced fee fraud that involves asking for the victim's help retrieving a large amount of money, such as an inheritance or unclaimed funds, usually in the millions. The victim is asked to wire funds to facilitate the process of moving the money, and promised a percentage of the funds in return. This type of scam actually predates the Internet.