Slidell Police Department in the United States have arrested a white man, who poses as a “Nigerian Prince” to defraud unsuspecting victims of their money, a scam popularly referred to as 419 in Nigeria.

This follows an extensive 18-month investigation conducted by the Slidell Police department.

The “Nigerian Prince” scam is a wire fraud often associated with Nigerians and involves luring victims by informing them that they had just received an inheritance. They then request for the victim’s account details which they use to perpetuate internet financial fraud. They scam victims of millions annually.

White Nigerian Prince Arrested

Slidell Police financial crimes investigators confirmed that they arrested , 67-year-old, Michael Neu (Slidell,LA), for 269 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering. According to the department, Neu is suspected to have been the middle man in the scam, designed to convince unsuspecting victims that they are not dealing with a Nigerian or African but a while person.

Neu is suspected to have been the “middle man”, and participated in hundreds of financial transactions, involving phone and internet scams, designed to con money from victims across the United States.

The Sidell police also revealed, that Neu may have transferred some of the illicit funds to partners in Nigeria.

Some of the money obtained by Neu was subsequently wired to co-conspirators in the Country of Nigeria.

This disclosure was first reported in a post on the police division’s Facebook page.

What’s the Nigerian Prince scam all about?

In these scams, the supposed Nigerian prince (or other official) asks for the victim’s personal banking information in order to speed the transfer of the purported inheritance or temporarily hold the allegedly pilfered funds. The information can then be used to withdraw funds from the victim’s accounts.

Why this is major

The arrest of a Caucasian confirms the increased sophistication in deception that is being deployed by internet fraud criminals to lure and steal from innocent people. It also confirms that the “Nigerian Prince” syndrome could also be perpetuated by crime syndicates who are not necessarily Nigerians and either posing as fronts or major players in the crime.

Effect on Nigerians

Nigerians have suffered immensely from the fraudulent tag attached to them due to such transactions. They find it difficult to open bank accounts abroad or do business with foreign investors. Nigerian debit cards for a long while were rejected for transactions on foreign e commerce websites for fear of fraud. In many cases, Nigerians have often being denied visas or subjected to stringent entry requirements due to the negative image.

What the government is doing about this ?

In 2003, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established as a law enforcement agency to investigate financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud) and money laundering.

Since establishment, the commission has prosecuted several fraud cases, most notably Emmanuel Nwude who with several others defrauded Nelson Sakaguchi and a Brazilian bank of $242 million, under the guise of constructing an airport in Abuja. Nwude was convicted, and some of the funds returned.

Nigeria’s security agencies regularly conduct raids in major parts of the country where suspected “Nigerian Prince”

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via onome.ohwovoriole@nairametrics.com