Woman sentenced in Nigerian Check Scam

June 27, 2008

I do not know how many times I have gotten the annoying email from some one in Nigeria wanting me to help him and his family asking me to assist them in placing large sums of money (usually $50 million or more) into overseas bank accounts. I don’t know if I get more than the normal person because I am a CPA or if I get the same amount as everyone. Perhaps they think that I am more likely to assist them and that I may think of it as a professional engagement. Most likely, I am just part of a massive SPAM email list that they hit over and over again looking for suckers. Luckily, my new SPAM filtering system eliminates these completely. I have not recieved one since I got it installed. Previously, I was getting about eight to ten a week related to this one scam.

The FBI has had a warning against this scam on their website for a long time now. The problem is that I do not know anyone (other than a few other fraud professionals/investigators) who regularly surf out to the FBI’s website to see what scams they are notifying consumers of. We are left to other outlets to alert us to these scams. Obviously, the media isn’t doing a very good job. If these scams did not work for the perpetrators, they would not still be in existence after all these years.

I was pleased to see this morning that an Olympia, Washington woman was sentenced to two years in prison and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to attempting to defraud U.S. citizens a Nigerian check scam. Edna Fiedler was not the Nigerian brain child of the scam. She was a U.S. citizen who replied to the email, and ultimately got sucked into it. The Nigerians would send her fake checks and money orders to cash. She would cash them and get to keep a more than fair percentage for herself, and then send the rest to the individual she was “helping” in Nigeria. When she was arrested, she had cashed $609,000 worth of phony checks and money orders. The FBI found an additional $1.1 million worth of checks and money orders that she was preparing to send out.

It looks like the FBI has at least made some headway into stopping this scam. Obvioiusly, the only thing that will stop it for good is if everyone is aware of it. Personally, I do not see why anyone would think these emails are real. Of course, we are in a money hungry society in which everyone wants a quick buck, but only a small percentage of the people are willing to put in the work to get it. Perhaps the success of this scam is more of a reflection of what many (not all) Americans have become than anything else.

Let me know your thoughts.

Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Calculated Moves

Creativity and CPAs don’t generally go together.  Most people think of CPAs as nerdy accountants who can’t talk with people.  Well, it’s time to break that stereotype.  Lively, friendly, and knowledgeable can be a part of your relationship with your CPA as demonstrated by Donna and Chad Bordeaux.  They have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPAs.  They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams.   They have been able to help businesses earn many times more profit than the average business in the same industry and are passionate about helping industries that help families build great memories.