Ten people were arrested and are now facing charges of wire fraud in US federal court following a successful investigation that has them pegged as perpetrators of an advanced fee scam.
The ten are allegedly all part of the same gang that took advantage of the gullibility of their victims and convinced them to send modest – and not so modest – amounts of money in order to expedite the settlement of a huge inheritance in their name.
Usually dubbed “Nigerian” or “419” scam, it involves scammers posing as government officials or attorneys who are in charge of finding the heirs of wealthy people and settling the disbursement of munificent inheritances. The victims are taken in by their own greed and naivete.
A man from California, stands accused of being the ringleader of the gang and sending thousands of spam e-mails to potential victims. He is charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, as two others. All three of them have been charged and plead not guilty to the charges.
Of the remaining seven, four have plead not guilty, and three are still waiting to be arraigned. All seven are facing charges on 10 counts of wire fraud each.
Among the evidence that supports the charges is and e-mail between the scammers noting that one victim was claiming after the initial small payment that he didn’t have any more money, but that the sender believed him capable of sending “big money, which is what we are all after.”