Feeds

Nigerian man gets 12 years for $1.3m 419 scam

Hunting 'mugu' in America

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A Nigerian man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in US prison for orchestrating an advance payment scam that bilked victims out of more than $1.3m.

Okpako Mike Diamreyan, 31, was ordered to serve 151 months in federal prison and pay a little more than $1m in restitution to the 67 victims he was was convicted of scamming from 2004 and 2009. The rare conviction was the result of his relocation to the US in 2008, when he married an American citizen. Rather than capitalizing on the opportunity to start a new life, he used it to ramp up his email-based scheme, which is often referred to as a 419 scam, after the Nigerian penal code that makes them illegal.

“i want to forget america and come back home . . . once i take like 1m or half m i don forget this place,” Diamreyan told an accomplice, according to court records. He routinely referred to his marks as "mugu," which means "fool" in Nigerian pidgin.

According to prosecutors, Diamreyan and his accomplice worked doggedly to dupe their victims, calling one victim more than 1,200 times over a two-year period. He claimed to have various consignments stored in Ghana worth millions and promised his marks a 20-percent commission in exchange for financial help in transferring funds to the US. To back up his claims, he provided fraudulent documents.

Ironically, the Nigerian citizen, who sometimes resided in Ghana, only stepped up the scam once he moved to the US, since many of the victims were more comfortable dealing with a person who was already on American soil, prosecutors said. Many of the marks were conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The prison sentence was at the low end of the 151 months to 188 months prosecutors had sought. The feds argued that a stiff sentence was necessary because Diamreyan was otherwise likely to return to Nigeria, where he would be free to continue the scam with impunity.

“Therefore, the only way to protect the public from further crimes by the defendant is to incarcerate him for a lengthy period of time,” they wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Prosecutors said the $1.3m loss to victims was a conservative estimate, because it included only those who had direct dealings with Diamreyan. The feds conceded the likelihood of him paying the restitution was slim. The sentencing memo is here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.