Anyone who's ever been taken by a Nigerian Internet scammer had reason to cheer the Department of Justice on Monday, as officials announced that six Nigerians have been extradited to Mississippi to face a range of federal charges.
Americans for years have been subject to Internet and email scams that originate in Nigeria, including those that claim the writer is a prince that, for some reason, needs to borrow a few thousand dollars.
The half-dozen defendants, who range in age from 26-39, were extradited to Gulfport, Miss., to answer for a nine-count indictment, the Justice Department stated on Monday.
They are among 20 defendants who were charged Oct. 7, 2014 with mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and other charges related to Internet-based lonely-hearts scams, work-from-home schemes, check kiting and the like.
Reaching as far back as 2001, the alleged fraudsters "allegedly carried on fictitious online romantic relationships with victims for the purpose of using the victims to further certain objectives of the conspiracy," the Justice Department stated.
For example, they allegedly "convinced victims to ship and receive merchandise purchased with stolen personal identifying information and compromised credit card and banking information, to deposit counterfeit checks and to transfer proceeds of the conspiracy via wire, U.S. mail or express delivery services."
Three members of the alleged conspiracy, ranging in age from 30-75, have been convicted; six more, including women, are awaiting trial. The U.S. is trying to extradite three defendants from Nigeria, and two others remain fugitives.
The Justice Department listed several of the fake email addresses that the scammers were using.