Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Section 419

SECTION 419 is the section of the Nigerian penal code that deals with confidence schemes. There are a lot of them, and they go way back. Typically, the intended victim receives a letter from Nigeria disclosing a tricky political situation, asking help in hiding a lot of slightly-illegal cash. The payoff for doing this is said to be tens of millions of dollars, enough to get anyone's greed glands going. But, um, before the cash can be sent, there minor expenses. An important official must bribed, the support of a critical village elder must be obtained by buying an expensive gift for his daughter's wedding, someone must be bailed out jail, and so on. Always the huge cash transaction is just around the corner, just about to take place, but we first we have this minor additional expense...

This goes on for years, extracting a few hundred or a few thousand dollars from the victim each time, sometimes for years, until the victim finally gives up. Sometimes the victim of the scam is urged to travel to Nigeria himself to pick up the cash. If he does so, he is kidnapped, and held until he comes up with even more money. If things go very badly, sometimes he is killed. There was an interesting article in Salon about this a while ago, and a Google search on '419' and 'Nigeria' gets over 15,000 hits.

The reason I mention it is that I got my first 419 e-mail spams in the last couple of weeks. Back in the day, 419 syndicates sent snail mail to US citizens (and maybe those of other countries) whose names they culled from business directories and the like. Nowadays, they've joined the ranks of the e-mail spammers. The Salon writer loved the colorful prose and characters in the 419 stories. While the spams I received don't quite measure up to his (where are the Lebanese mistresses, dammit? I want to read about Lebanese mistresses!), they're nevertheless entertaining. And without further ado, here they are:

Dear Tove, 

I am highly compelled upon strict recommendation, to write you this very urgent and confidential letter. I am Barrister Dele Martins the lawyer to Mrs. Maryam Abacha the wife of the late Nigerian Head of State General Sani Abacha who died of heart attack on Monday, the 8th of June 1998.Upon the sudden and tragic death of her husband, General Sani Abacha, there has been an intensive but secret exercise by the present civilian government to close/freeze all his bank accounts both home and abroad as he was confirmed to have directed a certain perecntage of oil proceeds totaling over US$500M (Five hundred million United States Dollars) into his private accounts scattered in several accounts of the world, accumulated during his four and half years military rule. An issue that was already on presses before his sudden death. Since this exercise started few months ago, my client who is sill in confinement has been in a very serious agony and mental stress as the entire family has virtually lost everything including landed properties and major investment both home and abroad. Luckily, there happens to be a special security account which my clien deposited a sum of US$50,000,000.00 (Fifty million United States Dollars). This fund in my company's name and is lodged in a Company Security Account Deposits (CSAD) with a West African Sub-Regional Bank. The fear there is that my client is one of the directors and invariably a major shareholder in the company, there exists a possible trace of this fund when once they finish with the account/asset principally owned by her husband, the late Head of State himself. It is therefore on this note that my client have task fully delegated me to quickly source a trustworthy and reliable person/company in your country who will kindly help us to accommodate and safeguard this fund into his account to save us from the calamities of the present clamp on her husband (the ex-president) bank account/assets all over the world. Note that we have concluded arrangements for the release of the aforementioned sum to your bank account within the shortest possible time as soon as we concluded talks. As a result of this and other higher levels of financial transaction which I would want to enter with you as made possible by the death of my client's husband, I am suggesting that we schedule a meeting immediately. Please endeavour to contact me immediately through my private and confidential email. Wether or not this offer is acceptable to you, so as to enable me make other alternative contacts, on the contrary. I await your urgent reply while believing you do understand the confidential nature of this transaction. 

Best regards, 
Barrister Dele Martins

From:Dr.Malenge Uwa 
Tel:44-775-281-5820(Satelite phone). 
Lagos-Nigeria. Attn:President/Ceo. 

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL RE: TRANSFER OF US$21.5 MILLION (TWENTY ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS ONLY). I know this email will reach you as a surprise, but need not to worry as we are using the only secured and confidential medium available to seek for foreign assistance/partnership in a business transaction which is of mutual benefit. 

I am a member of the Federal Government of Nigeria Contract Award and Monitoring Committee in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporatio(NNPC). Sometime ago, a contract was awarded to a foreign firm in NNPC by my Committee. This contract was over invoiced to the tune of US$21.5M. U.S. Dollars. This was done deliberately. The over-invoicing was a deal by my committee to benefit from the project. We now want to transfer this money which is in a suspense Account with NNPC into any Overseas Account which we expect you to provide for us. 

SHARE: - For assisting us in this deal, you will be entitled to 30% of the money,60% will be for me and my partners while 10% has been mapped out from the total sum to cover any expenses that maybe incurred by us during the course of this transfer, both locally and international expenses. It may interest you to know that a similar transaction was carried out with one MR. PATRICE MILLER, President of Crane International Trading Corp. of 153 East 57th St., 28th floor, NY10022, TEL:(212)-308-7788 AND TELEX: 6731689. The deal was concluded and all covering documents were forwarded to MR. MILLER to authenticate the claim. Once the funds were transferred, MR. MILLER presented his Bank with all the legal documents and remitted the whole funds to another Bank Account and disappeared completely. My colleagues were shattered, as such opportunities do not come all the time. I would require your company's name, address, telephone cell phone and fax numbers and also, your banking details where the funds will be remitted to. 

The above information would be used to make formal applications as a matter of procedure for the release of the money. It does not matter whether or not your company does contract projects of this nature described here. The assumption is that your company won the major contract and subcontracted it out to other companies. More often than not, big trading companies or firms of unrelated fields win major contracts and subcontracts to more specialized firms for execution of such contracts. 

We have strong reliable connections and contacts at the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the Federal Ministry of Finance and we have no doubt that all the money will be released and transferred if we get the necessary foreign partner to assist us in this deal. Therefore, when the business is successfully concluded we shall through our same connections withdraw all documents used from all the concerned Government Ministries for 100% security. 

We are ordinary civil servants and we will not want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to get rich. We want this money to be transferred to your nominated bank for us, before the present Democratic Government start Auditing all Federal Government owned Parastatals. Please contact me immediately through my telephone number whether or not you are interested in this deal.If you are not, it will enable me scout for another foreign partner to carry out this deal. But where you are interested, please call me for notification with my above telephone number, as time is of the essence in this business. I wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation. 

Yours faithfully,
 Dr.Malenge Uwa. 

NB:Please when dialing my number, don't include 234, just dail your country access number+44-775-281-5820.

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