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Who Would Be Dumb Enough to Fall For Nigerian Advance Fee Scheme? Ask Ugochukwu Enwerem

dumbBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

You really have to ask yourself: Who would be stupid enough to fall for the Nigerian advance-fraud schemes that collect fees from victims with the promise that they’ll get millions of dollars?

Or maybe you could just ask Nigerian National Ugochukwu Enwerem who was convicted Tuesday in a North Carolina federal court of being part of a scheme authorities say fleeced victims in the U.S. and other nations of more than  $9.5 million from 2002 to 2007, according to the Justice Department.

After six days of trial and four hours of deliberation, Enwerem was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud, the Justice Department said. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $9.5 million.

In September, co-defendant Kent Oserumen Okojie pleaded guilty in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.

Authorities says that Okojie and Enwerem, Nigerian citizens, lived in the Netherlands. They originally were charged in a June 2007 complaint and were later  extradited to the United States from The Netherlands, the Justice Department said.

According to evidence presented at trial, Okojie, Enwerem and others sent spam e-mails “informing potential victims that they had either won a foreign lottery or inherited a large sum of money from a long lost relative,” the Justice Department said.

“When individuals responded to the e-mails, the defendants or their co-conspirators, posing as lawyers, bankers and European government officials, solicited fees from victims ostensibly to pay for things such as “anti-terrorism certificates,” “EU bank clearances” and legal fees in order to secure their lottery winnings or inheritance,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

The men then instructed the victims to wire funds to them. Authorities say at least 18 U.S. and international victims collectively lost more than $9.5 million.


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Time March 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

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