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What do you get if you cross a 419er with 3000 oxen?

Answer: confusion of Herculean proportions

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Strange things appear to be going on in the 419 community at present. Within the last hour, one Dr Paul Okoro kindly sent an email advising of yet another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come by a substantial amount of cash.

The missive was mostly formula 419, and sent from the near-obligatory Tiscali email address, but one paragraph in particular caught our attention:

REQUEST FOR YOUR UNRESERVED ASSISTANCE

I am a top government official with a statutory corporation and member of an abhor committee set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria to review contract awarded by past administration. In the course of identifying, scrutinizing and recommending for the payment of all valid contract executed, we discovered a huge sum of money amounting to USD41.5M (Forty One Million five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) on grossly over invoiced contract already awarded and executed for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Having cleaned the AUGEAN STABLE we intend to transfer the balance of USD41.5M presently floating in our apex bank of Nigeria to our own benefit and advantage.

Has the poor doc completely lost his marbles? An abhor committee? ("Right, all those disgusted by the chairman's proposal raise their hands now"). That would be ad hoc, methinks. And what on earth has the abhor/ad hoc committee been doing cleaning the AUGEAN STABLE? And why is this alone IN VINTAGE 419 CAPITALS? WHAT ON EARTH CAN IT MEAN?

Something strange is afoot, make no mistake. Perhaps the boys from Lagos have embarked on a series of Herculean labours designed to wow potential scammees. After all, anyone stupid and greedy enough to respond to an email of this type will certainly be struck dumb with admiration for any bow-weilding Nigerian stalking the Cerynitian Hind.

On the other hand, the idea of someone wearing white leather shoes and 20 kilos of gold jewellery attempting to rustle the the Cattle of Geryon is somewhat implausible. Perhaps a look at hyperdictionary.com will offer another explanation for this mysterious turn of phrase:

AUGEAN

  1. (Class. Myth.) Of or pertaining to Augeus, king of Elis, whose stable contained 3000 oxen, and had not been cleaned for 30 years. Hercules cleansed it in a single day.
  2. Hence: Exceedingly filthy or corrupt.
  3. {Augean stable} (Fig.), an accumulation of corruption or filth almost beyond the power of man to remedy.

Yup, that just about sums it up, although we very much doubt Dr Okoro has really been taking the Mr Muscle to the particular accumulation of corruption and filth in which he, and his fellow oxen, wallow.

Still, it's good to see some effort has been made to advance the 419 email with an injection of classical references. Where will this creative explosion end? - quotes from John Donne or perhaps the first advance fee fraud haiku? It's a delightful prospect. ®

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