Email lottery scam: Nigerians arrested


Something all Internet users love to see - online fraudsters in court

Online gamblers are no different from most other Internet users in their antipathy to the legions of crooks and villains who debase the Internet by using it to spam and defraud the innocent. So it always leaves a warm feeling when news breaks that some of these miscreants have been hammered.

Just such a story came out of the United States this week, where the New York Post reported that four Queens residents have been detained by federal authorities on charges of operating an international email lottery scam that suckered 30 to 40 gullible internet users around the globe out of over $2 million.

Nigerians Godspower Chidiaid Egbufor (32) and Joseph Ifeanyi Ani (32) were charged in Brooklyn federal court with wire fraud and denied bail as potential flight risks.

The two men are alleged to have blanketed the Internet with emails promising their victims a $5 million windfall from a sham "Princess Diana Lottery." They referred to their victims as "magu" — Nigerian slang for fool, according federal prosecutors.

Two accomplices are expected to be arraigned at a later date, the newspaper reports. Co-defendant Kelvin Obi Duncan (43) was taken to the hospital after his arrest for dialysis treatment and could not be arraigned. The fourth man, Patrick Ugochukwu Ohazurike (41) was arrested in Tennessee and is expected to be transferred to Brooklyn in the next few weeks.

Sometimes the fraudulent solicitations came from bogus email addresses of former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, and other times from a Rev. John Best, or deceased former White House press secretary Tony Snow, prosecutors said.

Victims were told they had to first pay taxes owed on their alleged winnings. When the victims paid, the email scammers always came up with an excuse not to pay and asked for more money, according to the complaint.

The victims lived as far away as Dubai, and one Iowa woman forked over $123,000, court documentation revealed

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