Three Nigerian men have been sentenced to a whopping 235 years between them for running a variety of online scams.
The three men – Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, Rasaq Aderoju Raheem and Femi Alexander Mewase – were arrested by South African authorities working in conjunction with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in December 2015.
And following a lengthy and complex legal case, the three men have been convicted on a plethora of charges by a Mississippi district court. Those charges include –
Credit card fraud
Theft of Government property
Conspiracy to commit bank fraud
The number of charges demonstrates just how sophisticated these scams can be and the lengths these criminals will go to to con victims out of money.
Nigerian scams work by tricking victims into sending money to the crooks voluntarily by convincing them they are someone trustworthy. Perhaps the most popular and notorious example is the Nigerian Lawyer/Prince variant where the crooks pretend to be a solicitor from Nigerian attempting to get money out of the country.
But the crooks are increasingly turning to dating websites to try and con money out of clueless romantics, preying on their vulnerability and desperation. Such scams have a very low success rate, but the crooks can potentially extract thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, from the right victim, as well as involve them in various reshipping scams and money laundering schemes.
The three Nigerian men would send out thousands of emails to victims looking for the few that are willing to take the bait. Since 2001, this group of criminals (that comprised of many more members) are estimated to have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims across the world.
These arrests are unlikely to curb the popularity of Nigerian scams, however. Hundreds of networks of crooks operate from inside Africa as well as other parts of the world that specialise in these types of scams, so make sure you know what to look out for.
The sentences handed out to the man are as follows –
Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, faces up to 95 years in prison
Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, faces up to 115 years in prison
Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, faces up to 25 years in prison