Clinton romance gossip puts Nigerian scam emails in the spotlight

Sophos is reminding computer users of the threat posed by so-called ‘Letters from Nigeria’ as rumours of Chelsea Clinton’s new boyfriend and his convicted father have been published in the press.

American tabloid stories have reported that Chelsea, former first daughter and Bill and Hillary Clinton’s only child, is secretly dating young investment banker Marc Mezvinsky. The relationship has thrown into the spotlight the curious story of Mezvinsky’s father, former Iowa congressman Ed Mezvinsky, who is currently serving a prison sentence for internet fraud.

Ed Mezvinsky, who was at one time an ambassador to a United Nations commission, turned his back on politics in the 1990s and fell victim to a number of ‘advanced fee fraud’ schemes (also known as ‘419 scams’) originating from Africa that promised great wealth. To continue participating in the schemes, Mezvinsky used money stolen from others and was convicted in 2003 on 31 counts of fraud. It is estimated that in total $10.4 million was defrauded from banks and individuals. Mezvinsky is not expected to be released until November 2008.

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