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February 14, 2006

419er Gets 376

According to several accounts, a Nigerian court found Harrison Odiawa guilty of violating the Advance Fee Fraud Act. The court found that he had conned a U.S. businessman out of nearly $2,000,000 (!) in a bogus government contract scheme. Evidence at trial included the typical phony documents that 419ers are so fond of creating.

For his efforts, Mr. Odiawa was sentenced to 376 years in prison and ordered to repay $1.6 million to the victim. Unfortunately, the 376 years are spread across so many charges, and that the sentences are to be concurrent, he'll be out in 12 years. I just hope the prison doesn't offer Internet access to inmates.

It is also reported that the victim had previously been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a U.S. gray-bar hotel for money laundering and wire fraud charges. One report says he was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Nigerian government out of $20 million, even though the contract was bogus.

If more potential victims understood that they might be strung up for participating in these frauds, they might think twice before doing the math to calculate their take of the (nonexistent) mystery money.

Greed on both ends of the deal. I don't know if everyone got what he deserved in this case, but it's a start.

Posted on February 14, 2006 at 09:16 AM