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Crime

Arrested Nigerian Email Scammer Facing Up To 30 Years In Prison (dallasnews.com) 118

McGruber writes: Amechi Colvis Amuegbunam, 28, a Nigerian man living in the U.S. on a student visa, faces federal wire fraud charges in connection with a sophisticated email phishing scam targeting businesses. He was arrested in Baltimore and charged with scamming 17 North Texas companies out of more than $600,000 using the technique. If convicted, Amuegbunam faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
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Arrested Nigerian Email Scammer Facing Up To 30 Years In Prison

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:09AM (#51229147)
    No problem. He can get wired from the deposed prince's sister.
    • No problem. He can get wired from the deposed prince's sister.

      If the deerly esteemed justice department first wires her the necessary funds to unlock the capitol. Hey, that might work...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Shit, how is he gonna pay me back now!

  • I was overjoyed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:09AM (#51229153) Journal

    ...until I learned this was the North Texas scammer. It's the scammers who operate in the Eastern District of Texas who are the real problem there.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      North Texas != East Texas. When most people say "North Texas", they're actually referring to the DFW metro-plex. The Eastern District Courts are in "East" Texas or, as anyone else in Texas will call it, "That part you drive through really fast on the way to somewhere better". The courts that cause the most problems are all in small towns (notably Marshall, Tyler and Texarkana) and are going to pull from a jury pool that doesn't have much technical background. The reason they chose here instead of closel

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This time about how Mr. Amuegbunam needs $1 million to get out of jail and you'll get $10 million for helping.

  • Nigerian 419 scammers, south Asian call centers running those "PC Tech Support" and other scams, e-mail spammers...

    The world would be a better place. All of those impact my life daily and far greater than any Al Qaida #2 in Yemen.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Problem is that those countries are developed enough to document the innocent deaths that would result in extreme detail (like live CCTV video of it happening) and use it to shame the US. Drones only work where the murders can be ignored and or declared enemy combatants.

  • One would think... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @12:23AM (#51229179) Homepage Journal

    One would think that in 2015, executives would digitally sign their e-mails, and those who transfer money verify the digital signatures.
    Even in backwards Texas.

    • by txsable ( 169665 )

      Of the hundreds of emails I get each year, want to hazard a guess as to how many actually know what it means to "sign" an email? most think that means typing their name at the bottom. I had a user one ask me to help them set up a digital signature...by which they meant scanning a piece of paper with their signature on it to paste into Word documents. And that was for someone who would be considered an "Executive" level in academia.

    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @08:22AM (#51229917)

      > One would think that in 2015, executives would digitally sign their e-mails

      Unfortunately, building in digital signatures, means bundling good encryption into common email clients. They're tightly linked technologies, it's awkward if not impossible to have one without the other. That implies coping with the US Department of Commerce, whose regulations are at https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.... [doc.gov]. Note that similar versoins of those regulations were previously handled by US Customs, but suffered many legal challenges and wee simply transferred to the Dapartment of Commerce to avoid having to follow various legal decisions on their constitutionality and re-apply them as part of a different federal agency.

      These regulations are onerous for businesses engaging in telecommunications. They have effectively hindered and prevented such encryption and digital signatures from becoming widespread for at least the last 30 years. They've also prevented the widespread use of encryption at the Ethernet card or "data link layer": the regulations create unmanagable burdens for companies that want to sell the appropriate switches and network devices.

      • I don't know what koosbane you're on, linking to the irrelevant document, but there ARE already e-mail clients with encryption. The Commerce department is NOT the reason for lack of adoption of e-mail encryption.

      • I believe encryption is built into Outlook, but I don't use it so can't comment on how easy it is to set it up and enable it.
        On OS X however, it is definitely built in to the Apple Mail app.
        If you have a private and public keypair for your email address in your keychain (a standard operating-system provided repository for secure items like passwords, keys and certificates) then Mail, without any additional configuration or prompting automatically enables signing and encryption for new emails.

        If you're email

        • by cstacy ( 534252 )

          I believe encryption is built into Outlook, but I don't use it so can't comment on how easy it is to set it up and enable it.
          On OS X however, it is definitely built in to the Apple Mail app.

          The difficult part is the whole web-of-trust thing involved in getting a digital signature, and the lack of most people's understanding of the importance of this

          The problem with encryption/signed messages is that people might trust their authenticity.
          Because all these messages are coming from compromised (infected) systems that
          can generate fake messages, keyboard capture passphrases, etc.

    • The problem is the backwards legal system, which thinks that high technology means clinging to fax rather than going to a fully secure PGP signature standard.

    • I work in IT security. We have various levels of confidentiality, from "public" to levels where even the name of the level itself is already confidential. Everyone who as much as touches documents that are not "public" (i.e. pretty much everyone but the intern, and even there I'm not too certain) gets a three day training course concerning the tools of the trade. How to encrypt, how to decrypt, how to digitally sign, how to verify signatures, the whole deal and then some. Along with the information that fai

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      From my understanding in the age of unencrypted emails, emails for security purposes are considered postcards. Any business that wires money based upon a postcard deserve to lose that money. Preventive measures that need to be taken, monitoring of all web site registration for looks like addresses and the triggering of immediate investigation and monitoring. Financial institution should also be legally forced to enable regional blocks on money transfers, if you have no intention on sending money outside of

  • One should get a life sentence (to which 30 years might be pretty close depending on your age) for murder, but for a financial scam ? That will be pretty costly for the taxpayers and would not be much more of a deterrent to his colleages than, say 3 or 5 years in prison. Let's hope the guy gets to pay the money back and then some and somehow kept away from computers for 30 years...

    • One should get a life sentence (to which 30 years might be pretty close depending on your age) for murder, but for a financial scam ? That will be pretty costly for the taxpayers and would not be much more of a deterrent to his colleages than, say 3 or 5 years in prison. Let's hope the guy gets to pay the money back and then some and somehow kept away from computers for 30 years...

      You clearly don't understand the US legal system, nor the real-world implications of elected legal officials.

      Let's deal with the latter first ( the real-world implications of elected legal officials) ... in order to be re-elected Sheriff, Judge, Prosecutor, etc as is the common practice in the USA, you need headlines that support your effectiveness as someone who, to use the short answer, is "tough on crime". Therefore all headlines will:

      A) ... refer to the longest potential sentences
      B)... ignore the impli

      • by feufeu ( 1109929 )

        First, I really don't understand the US legal system and am pretty glad that I am not subjected to it.

        Second, thanks for taking the time to explain, honestly.

        Third, in my humble opinion the length of a prison sentence should not be a function of which person is implied in the legal process at any level nor of any other variable that has no relation to the crime committed itself, like prison overcrowding as you mentioned. Perhaps there shouldn't even, under any circumstances, be the *possibility* that someon

  • I can help! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Sunday January 03, 2016 @01:13AM (#51229259)

    Dear Mr Amuegbunam:

    I have been requested by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company to contact you in the hope that we may be of assistance to you. Your countrymen are quite distressed at the reporting we have read which states that you are being held and are in need of funds to make bail. We can help you in this matter. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company has recently concluded a large number of contracts for oil exploration in the sub-Sahara region. The contracts have immediately produced moneys equaling US$1,500,000. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company is desirous of oil exploration in other parts of the world, however, because of certain regulations of the Nigerian Government, it is unable to move these funds to another region.

    You assistance is requested as a Nigerian citizen to assist the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, and also the Central Bank of Nigeria, in moving these funds out of Nigeria. If the funds can be transferred to your name, to your United States account, then you can forward the funds as directed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. In exchange for your accommodating services, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company would agree to allow you to retain 10%, or US$150,000 of this amount. This should be enough for you to post bond.

    However, to be a legitimate transferee of these moneys according to Nigerian law, you must presently be a depositor of at least US$10,000 in a Nigerian bank which is regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

    If it will be possible for you to assist us with this initial required deposit, we would be most grateful and can proceed with the funds transfer.
    Please call me at your earliest convenience at 18-467-4975. Time is of the essence in this matter; very quickly the Nigerian Government will realize that the Central Bank is maintaining this amount on deposit, and attempt to levy certain depository taxes on it.

    Yours truly,

    Prince Alyusi Islassis

  • They are the ones who should be thrown in jail, on a charge of Stupidity Against Humanity.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People have gotten far less for murder.

  • There are actual companies and people under 80 that fell for it??? I always thought that these Nigerian emails were completely useless...
    • The actual scary part is that there are businesses that apparently fell for it. You know, businesses. The kind of things where the people there claim they're "professionals" when they do shit for you, often shit you're not supposed or even allowed to do yourself because you're not a "professional".

  • Glad to hear this news and I think his prison time should be calibrated against the amount of other people's time he wasted. He should be sentenced to RESPOND to each of the spams he sent. If he works 16 hours a day and can respond to each spam in one second, then it would take him a year to "pay off" his first 20 million spams. Even better if his clicking finger falls off first.

    Anyway, I want to help do something to help SOLVE the ancient spam problem. I want to BREAK the spammers' business models. I am NO

    • Why not just have a charge-back system where every email that gets flagged as Spam costs the sender a penny. Until you pay the fine, you're not allowed to send to more than 100 additional emails before your sending ability is frozen.

      Legitimate businesses will hardly ever receive more than 100 Spam flags if they offer an opt-out method that actually works. ISPs that continue to host personal domains that don't comply with the charge-back run the risk of being flagged as Open-Relay mail systems and their e
      • Why not just have a charge-back system where every email that gets flagged as Spam costs the sender a penny. Until you pay the fine, you're not allowed to send to more than 100 additional emails before your sending ability is frozen. Legitimate businesses will hardly ever receive more than 100 Spam flags if they offer an opt-out method that actually works. ISPs that continue to host personal domains that don't comply with the charge-back run the risk of being flagged as Open-Relay mail systems and their emails refused. 20 million emails flagged as Spam would incur a $200,000 fine, payable before the next batch of Spam emails could be sent. End of profitability. --

        And who exactly decides and administers these charges? Is a Credit Card number now compulsory for an email account? Do we tie all of the world's email services under a single company responsible for this? What about spam web pages?

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          There are some "virtual cost" proposals out there, along the lines of proof-of-work problems for delivery of messages from people not a whitelist. In such a case I hope that the standard would recommend having a "send and whitelist" button right next to the send button in email clients to encourage people to whitelist people that they plan to exhange emails with, and/or autowhitelisting after a given number of exchanged messages. Whether a client has whitelisted someone should be transmitted in the header

        • by jcr ( 53032 )

          I read a proposal for using bitcoin, where each user would decide and publish in something like an MX record the amount they would charge to accept a message from an unknown sender. No centralized authority required.

          -jcr

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        To many people leave the "go ahead and contact me with your stupid shit button" ticked and then don't use the opt-out in the bottom of each message but, instead, claim it is spam/UCE.

        So, fairness and accuracy will have to be figured out for your system to work.

    • I'm an old geezer, and I prefer the old fashion ways: Put a nylon cord around his nuts, hang him on it from a crane at 50 feet and wait. Eventually the nuts will give.

      It is a bit messy, true, but people have survived 20 feet drops and you have to be sure with this kind of asshole.

  • Shot him and make sure all the victims cannot have children. There are already too many stupid people in this world.
    • Shot him and make sure all the victims cannot have children. There are already too many stupid people in this world.

      Alright, so please tell me, when is your appointment with sterilization clinic?

      I'm sure you very quickly see the problem with your faulty logic. Frankly speaking here, you are just as mistaken as these people - maybe not gullible enough to engage in an email scam, but most certainly gullible enough to think yourself the arbiter.

      • you are ....... certainly gullible enough to think yourself the arbiter.

        Looks like most people here are arbitrating, including yourself. Why pick on ruir particularly? It was his spelling rather than his logic that immediately struck me as a problem.

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          I am a non-native English speaker and I welcome all constructive comments about my English. I also often post without much thought and more than often my mother tongue gets in the way.
  • On a "Student Visa"; WTF is he studying? Economics? Sounds too good at already to need any further study.

    Why the hell do these people get given student visas anyway? It's time the West dropped its patronising attitude and put down its supposed "white man's burden".
    • 1. Import students.
      2. Train students.
      3. Ship students back to where cost of living is very low.
      4. Offshore work to new ultra-low-pay skilled labor pool.

    • They don't get given student visas they have to pay $160 and satisfy a number of criteria including being accepted on a course at an accredited educational institution which won't be free.

  • in hell, while being impaled on a daily basis with a rusty butcher's knife.

  • He was a private person trying to scam companies. That's a crime. You have to do it the other way around to be legal.

  • Someone got arrested in Baltimore?

    (I live here, so I can joke about it.)

  • Email is not secure! Email has been around for several decades, how long is it going to take for people to learn this?

  • He would have gotten much less time. Welcome to our warped "justice" system.
  • A pretty light sentence and a meager fine in my opinion.

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