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Woman falls for Nigerian scam, steals $2.1m from law firm

A fool and her bosses' money are soon parted

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A bookkeeper for Michigan law firm Olsman Mueller & James has been taken for $2.1m by Nigerian 419 fraudsters, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The 59-year-old woman received a fax from one Dr. Mbuso Nelson of the Ministry of Mining in Pretoria, South Africa, asking for help in getting a cool $18m transferred to the US. We all know what comes next: the hapless victim set up a bank account, only to be told that certain expenses had to be met. Fuelled by greed and stupidity in equal measure, the woman dutifully wired huge sums to accounts in South Africa and Taiwan. Cue popping champagne corks in expensive Lagos restaurants.

Naturally, the promised $4.5m commission never arrived. This proved a tad embarrassing for the victim, who had funded the entire operation with the contents of her employers' bank account. Incredibly, her bosses only discovered the cupboard was bare when a cheque for $36,000 bounced.

The woman now faces up to three years' jail on 13 counts of wire fraud. Luckily for her, sheer idiocy will not be a factor in sentencing.

Meanwhile, other participants in the drama have been setting new benchmarks in superlatives of incredulity. "It's unbelievable that she fell for this," gasped investigating FBI Special Agent James Hoppe, echoing the sentiments of Jules Olsman, president of Olsman Mueller & James. "This is just absolutely beyond description," he said. ®

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