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52 cuffed, one conviction

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Of the fifty 419ers arrested earlier this year during an extensive raid at 23 locations in Amsterdam, only one has finally been sentenced - to 12 months.

Earlier this year 52 suspects, all of West African origin, were detained in a joint action involving Dutch cable operator UPC and the Ministry of Justice. The suspects had sent more than 100,000 advance fee fraud or 419 emails to Japan and the USA.

Although the prosecution had compiled plenty of evidence against 15 suspects, including notebooks with spamming software, illegal cable modems and mobile handsets, the court ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to link the suspects separately to the scams. None of the suspects was caught red-handed and not a single PC was switched on when the police searched their houses. Thirteen suspects were released about a month ago, a set-back for the Amsterdam police and public prosecution service, which had demanded sentences ranging from between six and 15 months.

One suspect, however, wasn’t able to escape justice. Victor Edo Igbinovia from Benin apparently had told the police that his personal email address was victor4u@gmx.de. Forensic researchers were able to dig up this address from unallocated clusters, cookies in the Temporary Internet Files cache and The Windows Registry on a Compaq EVO N610c laptop and established that the IP address of the laptop referred to node-d-59bd.a2000.nl, which belongs to the UPC network. Rock-solid proof of guilt, the courts concluded. ®

Related stories

Charges against Amsterdam 419ers dismissed
Cableco 'inside job' aided Dutch 419ers
Dutch police arrest 52 email scammers

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