Feeds

Nigerian man gets 12 years for $1.3m 419 scam

Hunting 'mugu' in America

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.