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419 scammers take US con artist for $750,000

Thick doesn't even begin to describe this one

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A businessman in Winona, Minnesota, has been taken for a cool $750,000 by Nigerian 419 scam artists, the Winona Daily News reports.

Nothing new there, you might think, but $250,000 of the cash did not actually belong to victim Carl Fratzke. Incredibly, Fratzke had pulled a scam of his own and defrauded seven friends to raise the capital. The balance came from his own savings.

Tempted, as ever, by promises of riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, Fratzke asked chums to invest in a scheme whereby he would buy gloves and sell them to Wal-Mart at a hefty profit. He promptly sent the cash straight to the 419 scammers.

"They sent me a facsimile of the check they were going to send me," Fratzke later testified before a presumably astounded judge. "They said: 'This is coming'."

Well, it didn't, and now Fratzke faces sentencing on 31 March on "two counts of theft by swindle and one count of theft by check". If he's lucky, the beak will hand down a stiff sentence. Jail is probably the only place he'll be safe from his friends and investors - and his own stupidity.

Other recent tales of mind-numbing stupidity

150 Brits x 419 fraud = £8.4m
Woman falls for Nigerian scam, steals $2.1m from law firm

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