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Nigerian lottery scammer sentenced to 14 years

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Nigerian lottery scammer sentenced to 14 years
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LOS ANGELES — A Nigerian man who swindled three Californians out of more than $400,000 by demanding "tax" on bogus foreign lottery winnings was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in federal prison. The people who typically fall for such scams "are older, sometimes people who have dementia and are lonely and need someone to talk to," an assistant U.S. attorney said.

One of Emmanuel I. Onwuzulike's victims, a San Fernando Valley woman, lost her home after she paid more than $368,000 for a phony "tax" on what she thought were millions of dollars in foreign lottery winnings, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The 55-year-old Onwuzulike, who used the alias "Tony Moore," pleaded guilty in July to one count of mail fraud.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced him to 14 years in prison and ordered him to pay back his victims.

The sentence is a fairly stiff one and is part of a government crackdown on foreign scammers who prey on Americans, assistant U.S. attorney Ellyn M. Lindsay said in an interview.

"Hopefully the higher sentences that judges are now giving out for these kinds of frauds will have some kind of deterrent effect," she said. "We have an expertise here in prosecuting these defendants who commit these kind of frauds internationally, targeting victims all over the world."

Though not all of Onwuzulike's victims were elderly, seniors are most likely to fall for lottery and other scams, Lindsay said.

"The people who end up falling for it are older, sometimes people who have dementia and are lonely and need someone to talk to," she said.
Onwuzulike was part of a London-based group that took more than $2 million from 52 people, mostly elderly victims, between 2004 and 2006, according to prosecutors. Under the guise of fake companies such as "Euromillones Loteria International" and the "EU Anti-Terrorism Commission," the scammers lured their victims with tales of lottery and sweepstakes winnings. The victims were told to contact telemarketers in England and Spain, who informed them that they would have to pay a tax or fee to receive the prize. The victims sent the money, but the prizes never came, prosecutors said.

One Orange County woman fell victim to the scam in 2006 when she received a letter informing her that she'd won $815,950 from the "Euromillones Spanish Sweepstakes Lottery." She agreed to pay a 2 percent tax on the "winnings" and wired $16,319 to a bank account controlled by Onwuzulike, according to prosecutors. She received nothing in return.

"This case involves a serious fraud through which defendant and others stole money from victims who could hardly afford the loss," prosecutors wrote in sentencing papers. "This crime had devastating consequences for its victims, emotional as well as financial."

Courthouse News Service

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23 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by myturn.
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s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
Hard Luck, Ak
United States
Member #23472
October 13, 2005
275 Posts
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Posted: December 2, 2010, 7:21 am - IP Logged

"Tony" won't get no MOORE money! I hope he serves the full prison term.Dupe Alert

    hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

    United States
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    May 21, 2007
    2657 Posts
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    Posted: December 2, 2010, 7:37 am - IP Logged

    Twitchone down the billion more to capture .....

     

    personally I think they ought to chop off his thumbs Roll Eyes

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Ringleader
      Michigan
      United States
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      October 28, 2009
      40250 Posts
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      Posted: December 2, 2010, 7:53 am - IP Logged

      bye bye Tony, Hope they get your cohorts.

      Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

      For a lead role in a cage?

       

                                                  From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

        Tenaj's avatar - michellea
        Charlotte NC
        United States
        Member #17406
        June 18, 2005
        4053 Posts
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        Posted: December 2, 2010, 9:32 am - IP Logged

        BashGoody, Goody, I hope they catch all of them.  I just can't figure out why these guys get away with this and why it's so hard to catch them.  I watched a documentary of these types of scams and one African guy said they had a name for Americans (which I can't remember) but it equaled to ignorant easy pigeons.

        takeemtothebank

          temptustoo's avatar - cat anm.gif
          usa
          United States
          Member #89197
          April 2, 2010
          2816 Posts
          Online
          Posted: December 2, 2010, 9:35 am - IP Logged

          should have been a longer sentence ..   They spend a lot of man power to catch these guys..

            Avatar
            Monkey Butt, USA
            United States
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            August 23, 2007
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            Posted: December 2, 2010, 9:50 am - IP Logged

            If he's in a state with the death penalty, I say fry the turkey. You want to send a strong message? It's called the process of elimination. Start eliminating the problem, I bet these vermin will think long and hard before they start scamming again. Jail time is an insult. First they scam the victims then they live on our tax dollars in prison for years.

            NO!!!

            EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!!! EXTERMINATE!!!! <Dalek>


              United States
              Member #68713
              December 28, 2008
              301 Posts
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              Posted: December 2, 2010, 10:13 am - IP Logged

              BananaIt's time some of these scrum bags get what they deserves, maybe they should  have silent him permantlyWink. Ok, maybe  that too much, but he need a longer prison term.CrazyShifty

                dpoly1's avatar - driver
                PA
                United States
                Member #66141
                October 16, 2008
                1672 Posts
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                Posted: December 2, 2010, 11:22 am - IP Logged

                I wouldn't mind seeing some of the Scammers from Congress being incarcerated like this bum!

                US Flag

                "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                George Mason
                Co-author of the Second Amendment
                during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

                  maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                  Massachusetts
                  United States
                  Member #37433
                  April 14, 2006
                  2747 Posts
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                  Posted: December 2, 2010, 7:03 pm - IP Logged

                  I used to feel sorry for victims of these scams then I stopped.

                  I realized that it's their desperation and greed that makes them victims.

                  And being senior citizens, they should know much better than that.

                  I have recieved numerous emails about being a recipient of USD 50,000,000 and I'm mad broke but I have never fallen for those.

                  I'm glad though that the scambug from Nigeria was arrested. I hope they get more of them and throw them in US jail...but thats like a raise hahaha I'm serious. Maybe arrange for them to be thrown in Nigerian Jails.

                  That money's gone fo ever

                    Avatar
                    Qabloc!zewana
                    Neutral Zone
                    Member #14628
                    April 29, 2005
                    31 Posts
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                    Posted: December 3, 2010, 1:00 am - IP Logged

                    I tried to trick one of those morons by photocopying an actual Western Union sheet and photocopying false info into it.  It looked pretty realistic, so I sent it to him.  Apparently he brought it to the Western Union office in (where ever the hell he was) and tried to cash it.  I think the shop owner told him to get out of his office, since he then emailed me back complaining to the hilt about falsifying my info.

                    Sucker.

                      HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                      United States
                      Member #72448
                      March 18, 2009
                      1226 Posts
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                      Posted: December 3, 2010, 1:22 pm - IP Logged

                      I used to feel sorry for victims of these scams then I stopped.

                      I realized that it's their desperation and greed that makes them victims.

                      And being senior citizens, they should know much better than that.

                      I have recieved numerous emails about being a recipient of USD 50,000,000 and I'm mad broke but I have never fallen for those.

                      I'm glad though that the scambug from Nigeria was arrested. I hope they get more of them and throw them in US jail...but thats like a raise hahaha I'm serious. Maybe arrange for them to be thrown in Nigerian Jails.

                      Well, I wouldn't wish DIMENTIA or ALZHEIMERS disease on anyone, however perhaps the phrase, "Walk a mile in their footsteps," would provide you [and people who confusedly think like you in respect to this issue] with true realization.  Many of these folks don't have income for admittance into a facility that would open their mail on their well-being behalf.

                      It is the ultimate insult for our country's few income tax payers to be paying for prison terms for thieves.  In answer to an earlier member's post, if these criminals were sent back to their own third-world countries, many of them would be out walking around free again, as their "justice systems" are quite lax.  The only capital punishment plan that is economical has always met with unacceptance by society, as most societies teach that judges and juries are essential and that accused/offenders will reverse their mode as time passes upon receiving heaps of compassion, etc.

                      Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                      Disney

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                        Monkey Butt, USA
                        United States
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                        August 23, 2007
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                        Posted: December 3, 2010, 1:43 pm - IP Logged

                        I tried to trick one of those morons by photocopying an actual Western Union sheet and photocopying false info into it.  It looked pretty realistic, so I sent it to him.  Apparently he brought it to the Western Union office in (where ever the hell he was) and tried to cash it.  I think the shop owner told him to get out of his office, since he then emailed me back complaining to the hilt about falsifying my info.

                        Sucker.

                        That was very creative of you.

                        Never would've thought of this myself.

                        The player got played. Su Weet.........

                          LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                          Tx
                          United States
                          Member #4570
                          May 4, 2004
                          5180 Posts
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                          Posted: December 3, 2010, 10:37 pm - IP Logged

                          I used to feel sorry for victims of these scams then I stopped.

                          I realized that it's their desperation and greed that makes them victims.

                          And being senior citizens, they should know much better than that.

                          I have recieved numerous emails about being a recipient of USD 50,000,000 and I'm mad broke but I have never fallen for those.

                          I'm glad though that the scambug from Nigeria was arrested. I hope they get more of them and throw them in US jail...but thats like a raise hahaha I'm serious. Maybe arrange for them to be thrown in Nigerian Jails.

                          Greed might often be the main motivation.

                          BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

                          "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

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                            New Member

                            United Kingdom
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                            July 27, 2009
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                            Posted: December 4, 2010, 5:38 am - IP Logged

                            It's interesting to see their actual success rate is so low. They must have sent out billions of emails over the years to scam just 52 people. So I find it somewhat reassuring that so few people were convinced.