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Fee > Exhibit:
Nigerian 4-1-9 Scam
Special Forward by Jay D. Adkisson,
Esq.: No less than twice in my career have I been peaceably
working in my office when the phone rang, and a client said to me
"Jay, come over here RIGHT
NOW. We've got this big opportunity, and we need your help, but
we've got to act on it immediately, so get the hell over here
as fast as you can."
Whereupon I dropped everything,
dashed out the door, jumped in my car and hightailed it over to
my client's office just to find out that he was about to be victimized
E A T N
I G E R
I A N S
C A M !
HOW THE SCAM BAITS
The scam starts with a bulk mailing or bulk
faxing of a bunch of identical letters to businessmen, professionals,
and other persons who tend to be of greater-than-average wealth.
A typical letter might look like this:
FROM: Mr. Ben Ahore
Central Bank of Nigeria
I have been requested by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company
to contact you for assistance in resolving a matter. The Nigerian
National Petroleum Company has recently concluded a large
number of contracts for oil exploration in the sub-Sahara
region. The contracts have immediately produced moneys equalling
US$40,000,000. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company is
desirous of oil exploration in other parts of the world, however,
because of certain regulations of the Nigerian Government,
it is unable to move these funds to another region.
You assistance is requested as a non-Nigerian citizen to assist
the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, and also the Central
Bank of Nigeria, in moving these funds out of Nigeria. If
the funds can be transferred to your name, in your United
States account, then you can forward the funds as directed
by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. In exchange
for your accomodating services, the Nigerian National Petroleum
Company would agree to allow you to retain 10%, or US$4 million
of this amount.
However, to be a legitimate transferee of these moneys according
to Nigerian law, you must presently be a depositor of at least
US$100,000 in a Nigerian bank which is regulated by the Central
Bank of Nigeria.
If it will be possible for you to assist us, we would be most
grateful. We suggest that you meet with us in person in Lagos,
and that during your visit I introduce you to the representatives
of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, as well as with
certain officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Please call me at your earliest convenience at [Phone Number].
Time is of the essence in this matter; very quickly the Nigerian
Government will realize that the Central Bank is maintaining
this amount on deposit, and attempt to levy certain depository
taxes on it.
Yours truly, etc.
Other indicia of this scam are as follows:
There is always an sense of urgency
Travel to Nigeria or some other loathesome
country is requested of the dupe (although this is not necessary
if the dupe is dumb enough to wire-transfer the money)
There are many foreign-looking documents
and often actual Nigerian officials involved, sometimes even
actual Nigerian government buildings are used
Blank letterheads and account numbers are
often requested from the dupe
There are a variety or processing fees or
bribes which must be paid ("The President of the Bank
will not release the money unless you pay him a bribe.")
The transaction must be kept confidential
("Don't tell any US official or other such person.")
A Nigerian residing in the US or the UK
acts as an "intermediary" or "clearing house"
to close the transaction
Often, someone claims to be of Nigerian
royalty or fame, most lately "the son of the President
And, the purposes of this scam vary from time
to time, such as:
My father left me $40 million in his will,
but I have to bribe government officials to get it out
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company
has discovered oil, and we as officials of that company want
to insider acquire the land, but we need a US front man to
purchase it first for us
We just sold a bunch of crude oil in Nigeria,
but we have to bribe the banker to get it out
The Nigerian government overpaid on some
contract, and they need a front man to get it out of the country
before the government discovers its error
HOW THE SCAM GETS MONEY
In many cases, this is really a scam-within-a-scam:
The Nigerians are making you think that you are going to scam
the Nigerian Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria, etc., when
in fact they are going to scam you out of what they are going
to charge you to get in the scam, or what portion of the scam
you are going to pay to make it work.
If you pay the money up-front by wire-transfer
or by mail, one of two things will happen: (1) you have simply
lost your money and will never see it again; or (2) and much more
likely, within a couple of days you will get a phone call or letter
from your contact telling you that something has gone wrong, and
that to clear it up and release the funds you will have to send
just a little more money. This latter scamming will go on literally
for weeks and months, until you either run out of money or figure
If you actually go to Nigeria, it is the same
scam. You will pay some money and wait. There will be a delay,
and then a requirement that you pay additional money to clear
up the delay, and then another delay and more money, and so forth
and so on until (1) your money is exhausted, or (2) you leave
the country, or (3) you are kidnapped or murdered for the rest
of your money.
A DANGEROUS SCAM
We make light of "those wacky Nigerians"
but this is a physically dangerous scam.
If in response to one of these letters, you
are simply so dumb that you wire-transfer or mail money to the
Nigerians, then you're probably just lucky to have been this stupid
-- because as will be shown you are quite a bit worse off if you
try to investigate so as to protect your investment.
Persons who have traveled overseas to investigate
or consummate this scam have made a tragic mistake. Once you are
overseas, there are a variety of ways the Nigerians will get to
you. Typically, the Nigerians will bribe the customs officials
when you arrive so that you do not have to pass through Customs.
This is a huge mistake, for then you are a foreigner in Nigeria
without a passport -- a very serious offense. The Nigerians can
then threaten to turn you into the authorities until you cough
up money. Even after you have paid them money, the local police
are about as likely to then run this extortion racket themselves,
with the result that you will not get out of the country until
they have gotten every last dime out of you, and maybe not even
The US Secret Service reports that in June of
1995 an American who was pursuing one of these scams was found
murdered in Lagos and that numerous other persons have been reported
THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IS IN ON THE SCAM
This scam is often referred to as the 4-1-9
scam, ironically after section 4-1-9 of the Nigerian Penal Code
which relates to fraudulent schemes. While the Nigerian government
periodically makes grand statements that it is cracking down on
the scam, it isn't -- for the reason that the scam was, according
to some reports, the third-largest industry in Nigeria!!!
This is just too large a business for Nigeria to
crack down on -- it would be like Nevada trying to close the casinos.
There have been numerous reports of
high-level officials of the Nigerian government and the Central
Bank of Nigeria personally participating in this scam, even to
the extent of giving dupes tours through government buildings
and showing them piles of cash in the vault of the Central Bank!
One of the funny aspects of this scam is the
scam within the scam within the scam. What happens is that the
particular Nigerians running this scam on any given day may not
have the best command of the English language, so they hire someone
to write the initial scam letter for them. Quite a few times,
the person who does this leaves a "tip-off" that the
letter is a scam, such as -- an actual case as shown above --
using the name Ben Ahore (been-a-whore).
FIGHTING THE NIGERIAN SCAM
The Nigerian scam is so popular that there are
now various private and public groups which regularly fight the
scam. Probably the two best websites regarding the Nigerian scam
are those of:
Don't miss the Quatloos! Cyber-Museum
of Scams & Frauds: