Feeds

Trial in 419-related murder under way

Nigerian scam claims another life

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Nigerian 419 scams have bilked untold billions of dollars from people who have more hope than sense. A trial underway in the US will detail how one scheme claimed the life of a Tennessee minister whose wife is accused of gunning him down after it came to light she fell victim to Nigerian-style swindlers.

Mary Carol Winkler, who according to news accounts is 33, stands accused of first degree murder. Her husband, Matthew, was found dead of a single wound from a 12-gauge shotgun blast suffered while he lay sleeping. Earlier in the evening, the two had argued about the dire state of their family finances, according to news reports from the Associated Press and other outlets.

A day before the murder, the Winklers' bank notified them they had fallen prey to an advance fee fraud in which she deposited $17,500 in fraudulent checks into family accounts. Prosecutors say Mary was at fault in the scam. She likely fell victim to a variety of the scam that uses religious angles to gain a victim's confidence. (Attorneys for Mary say Matthew was aware of the deposited checks and say their client is not guilty. They have stressed the couple's argument involved other disagreements as well.) Additionally, Mary is reported to have had a weakness for online gambling.

Such scams are frequently dubbed Nigerian or 419 because they are said to have originated in that country, where article 419 of the Nigerian criminal code prohibits such activities. Since the early 1990s, criminals in many other countries have adopted the technique.

Last year alone, 419 scams resulted in losses of $790 million in the US and 530 million pounds (about $712 million US), according to some estimates. According to a report by Caslon Analytics, the US Department of State says at least 25 tourist murders or disappearances have been directly linked to the scam after traveling to destinations where they were sent.

A minister with a church in Selmer, Tennessee, Matthew was found dead in March, 2006. Jury selection in Mary's trial began on Monday. She remains free on $750,000 bond. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Boffins build FREE SUPERCOMPUTER from free cloud server trials
Who cares about T&Cs when there's LIteCoin to mint?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.