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Six detained for conning 12 people out of 700,000 euros using 'Nigerian letters' scam

  • The method involves the potential victims being asked to pay a sum to cover tax before being able to claim million-euro prize money

National Police have arrested six people in Barcelona, Malaga and Segovia for allegedly defrauding 12 people out of 700,000 euros using the scam known as 'Nigerian letters'. The method involves the potential victims being asked to pay a sum to cover tax before being able to claim million-euro prize money.

The investigation was sparked by a report made by an Australian citizen who had been conned out of 500,000 euros. After receiving a letter informing of a 1.9-million-euro lottery prize the victim was told that “tax” had to be paid before the winnings could be claimed.

The scammers opened bank accounts in the names of cover companies in different Spanish cities into which the money was paid.

Three people have since been arrested in Barcelona and two in Malaga, while the alleged manager of the false companies was detained in Segovia.

The 'Nigerian letters' scam is by no means new in the province of Malaga. In July 2005 more than 315 people were arrested in the so-called 'Caso Nilo' in connection with fraud involving false lottery prizes committed by an international criminal gang. In 2004 alone, some 20,000 people resident in different countries had been taken in. In the end 120 Nigerian nationals went on trial in Malaga's provincial court in 2011.