Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Nigerian Money Scam

Student Duped by Nigerian Money Scam Arrested for Counterfeiting

04/06- (Kansas) - The U.S. government dismissed its indictment against UMKC student Ahmed Dashti on March 27. U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum signed the dismissal.

Dashti, 24, had been indicted on counterfeiting charges. He was arraigned Jan. 27 and released on a $100,000 cash deposit.

Dashti's lawyer, K. Louis Caskey, said Dashti was the victim of an Internet scam.

"Once they finally got a thorough review they knew he'd been swindled on the Internet," Caskey said. "Once the government looked at it all they did the right thing."

Dashti received a counterfeit U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $250,000, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

A Memphis, Tenn., border search of a Fed-Ex package uncovered the treasury check, which listed Dashti as both sender and recipient.

Also in the package were six blank MasterCard travelers' checks in $500 denominations, according to the criminal complaint.

Dashti planned to deposit the checks into Dashti's account and send the money via Western Union to Janet Jones, allegedly from Nigeria.

Caskey explained Dashti had deposited money orders twice before and wired Western Union the money to Janet Jones; it took two weeks for the counterfeit money orders to be discovered.

"He did go to the Mission [Kansas] Police Department and reported it, but they told him it was a civil matter," said Caskey.

That was in early December.

Dashti then went home to Kuwait for the holidays. He was sent the U.S. Treasury check, which he never opened because he had returned to the United States; the check was sent to the United States, where it was discovered during the Tennessee border search.

Dashti, senior, is a Kuwait citizen attending UMKC on a non-immigrant student visa. He is studying civil engineering, according to court records.


Nigerian Money Scam Accomplice Arrested for Being Money Mule

05/08 - VISTA, CA – A 24-year-old man was arrested Thursday by sheriff's detectives who said he was involved in a $600,000 Internet fraud scheme with partners who live in Nigeria.

Officials with the sheriff's financial crimes unit said Kevin Harper of Vista was paid to create counterfeit checks, which he mailed to addresses provided by his partners.

Authorities said he also received Western Union cash transfers from victims and sent the money to Nigeria.

Sheriff's investigators contacted Harper as they were following up on a complaint involving a victim in Oregon who was selling a horse over the Internet, said Sgt. Mark Varnau.

The Nigerian suspects had contacted the animal's owner, used a fake name and agreed to purchase the horse.

Harper sent the victim a check as payment for the horse and also asked the seller to send a portion of the payment via Western Union, Varnau said.

The check bounced and was returned to the victim because it was counterfeit.

“He was simply directed to be a middle man, a mail-forwarder for the suspects,” Varnau said.

Investigators said Harper admitted he sent out checks for more than six months and estimated he sent his partners about $600,000.

Harper told investigators he made about $50,000 in the transactions, Varnau said.

Detectives have identified two victims in the case, including another horse owner in Jamul, and will go through Harper's computer files to try to identify others, Varnau said.

When detectives searched his apartment, which he shared with his mother,they seized his computer, recovered check-counterfeiting materials and counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks, Varnau said.

Harper was being held on $60,000 bail in Vista jail on grand theft, burglary and other charges.


Man Charged with Money Scam Bogus Money Orders Fraud

03/08 - (New Jersey) - A 69-year-old Rockaway Township man was charged with making and mailing out fraudulent money orders totaling $585,325, authorities said today.

Albert P. Lahndt Jr., of Hamilton Drive, remains in the Morris County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail on multiple counts of attempted theft of services and theft by deception, passing forged checks and writing bad checks, as well as conspiracy, according to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.

The case began in October 2007, when Federal Express security staff called the prosecutor's office about fraudulent and counterfeit United States postal, MoneyGram and Wal-Mart money orders being shipped from Federal Express drop boxes in Rockaway Township to addresses throughout the United States.

Investigators with Federal Express security, Rockaway Township police, U.S. Secret Service, postal service and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office determined the envelopes contained numerous fraudulent and counterfeit Wal-Mart, Money Gram and United States postal money orders.

It also was determined the sender's Federal Express account number was fraudulent.

Ultimately, investigators determined the ongoing scam involved packages from Nigeria sent to Lahndt and suspicious wire transfers from Lahndt to addresses in Nigeria.

Inspectors seized the most recent package earlier this month at Newark's Liberty International Airport, and discovered 358 bogus money orders marked with a face value of $196,900, authorities said.


Fake Traveler's Checks Part of Nigerian Money Scam

08/07- (WAILUKU, Hawaii) – While a man said he was looking for another source of income when he cashed more than $3,000 in fraudulent travelers checks at three Kahului stores, a judge said the defendant should have known “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Second Circuit Judge Joel August ordered David Jenkins to repay the $3,040 he obtained by using the fake travelers checks.

As part of his sentence Friday, Jenkins, 29, of Wailuku was given a chance to keep 16 felony convictions off his record if he follows court orders for the next five years.

He was given credit for 12 days he spent in jail and ordered to stay away from Wal-Mart, Costco and Borders in Kahului.

“What’s occurred here is uncharacteristic of how he has lived his life until January 5, 2007,” August said. “He thought he could get away with it.

“Maybe on some level, he was hoping this was a legitimate operation. I think he has intelligence enough to know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Jenkins had pleaded no contest to eight counts each of second-degree forgery and second-degree theft for passing the travelers checks at the three stores from January to March.

He used the $500 checks to obtain merchandise, in some cases receiving cash back, according to court records.

Jenkins said he began receiving the travelers checks after responding to an e-mail from someone in Europe who said he couldn’t use the checks there but thought someone in the United States could.

“I was thinking everything was supposedly legal like they had said it was,” Jenkins said. “I did my own checking online and didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.”

After cashing the travelers checks, he said he sent 50 percent or more of the money back through Western Union or a money gram.

Jenkins, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, said he was having trouble meeting his living expenses with $623 in monthly Supplemental Security income.

Deputy Prosecutor Davelynn Tengan said she hoped Jenkins would take advantage of community resources to help him find employment while he is on probation.

Noting that Jenkins reported he was working as an independent contractor for a computer company, Tengan said, “It’s as easy as pie to have known this is a scam.”

While he may have not known at first, she said, “I’m sure very, very soon he knew what was happening and it was intentional.”


South African Arrested for Nigerian Money Scam with Counterfeit Cheques

05/08 - Warsaw - A South African woman was nabbed in Poland on Tuesday for cashing counterfeit cheques identified as coming from Nigeria, Warsaw police said.

The suspect, identified only as Josephin L, 50, "cashed counterfeit cheques in Poland and then sent the obtained funds to Nigeria", metropolitan police spokesperson Anna Kedzierzawska told AFP.

Police seized a postal package containing 10 bogus cheques with a total value of around 300,000 zlotys, addressed to Josephin L by a "Nigerian pastor", the spokesperson said.

Police officers also discovered Western Union receipts for cash transfers to Nigeria in the suspect's car.

The woman, who was taken into temporary custody, faces up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty of fraud.

According to Polish police, for the last three to four years, counterfeiters based in Nigeria have been using Poland as a transit country for false cheques that are later cashed in Western Europe or the US.


Pyramid Investment Scammer Falls Victim to Nigerian Money Scam

01/07- (Oregon) - The former Roseburg man accused of bilking thousands of investors of $2.5 million through a pyramid scheme fell victim himself to a Nigerian Internet money scam.

Richard Dompier lost $200,000 in New Millennium Group investor funds to a Nigerian fraud scheme, according to a document filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

The fraud typically involves a person claiming to be a Nigerian public servant contacting a foreign business by e-mail and asking for assistance in depositing $10 million to $60 million in money that the Nigerian government overpaid on a procurement contract.

Those contacted are asked to put up a sum of money to show their “good faith” in later returning a portion of the proceeds to the “official.” However, the only money that trades hands goes from the victims to the perpetrators of the fraud.

Dompier goes to trial Feb. 12 in Eugene on 26 counts of mail fraud, interstate transportation of money taken by fraud and money laundering.

He was also accused of three counts of tax evasion for failing to file corporate tax returns between 1999 and 2001.

Bryan Lessley, a federal public defender who represents Dompier, is seeking to exclude his client’s criminal history from trial testimony.

Dompier was convicted in December 1987 in Lane County Circuit Court on three counts of sexual abuse, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison.

He was also convicted in December 1982, again in Lane County, for second-degree criminal mischief.

In addition, he was convicted for driving under the influence of intoxicants, driving while suspended and driving uninsured in various incidents in Lane and Douglas counties.

Lessley has also asked the court to exclude testimony on more than a dozen small claims court lawsuits filed against Dompier in Douglas County concerning a welding business he operated in Roseburg before establishing the New Millennium Group.

Fourteen separate suits were filed against Dompier and Custom Iron Design, his business, between October 1993 and August 1997, according to Douglas County Circuit Court records.

Default judgments were issued in each case and Dompier has failed to pay any of the more than $28,000 that he owes.

Collection efforts for those debts resulted in the eviction of Dompier from his Roseburg home in 1998. A month later, he started New Millennium Group, which operated out of an office on West Harrison Street in Roseburg.

Dompier later opened offices in Minnesota, Great Britain and in North Carolina, where he currently resides.

New Millennium pitched the sale of one-ounce silver ingots for $98. Investors were told they would receive $15,854 back within a year on that $98 investment.

“To have any company pay you this much money just for buying their Collectible Silver Ingot at only $98 is unprecedented in the direct marketing industry,” read a sales brochure introduced into the court file. “Yet, that is exactly what The New Millennium Group will be doing for you.”

Several of his victims, who claimed they lost their life savings, are scheduled to testify against Dompier.

Dompier claims he did not intentionally defraud anyone. He said he sought advice and changed his investment program after being warned by attorney generals from three states, including Oregon, that his business was an illegal pyramid scheme.

By October 1999, Dompier said he had overhauled the program to remove earnings claims from promotional materials and requiring investors to make at least five sales per month to nonparticipants.

He also instituted a commission schedule based on those sales. In addition, the company began selling nutritional supplements through the investors.


More examples at Counterfeit Cashier's Check, Nigerian Scams, Nigerian Check Scam.