Old Guy Arrested In ‘Nigerian Prince’ Scam
Photo: AzriSuratmin (Getty)
So the “Nigerian Prince” scam is apparently still a thing.
If you had an internet connection and an email in the ’90s then you probably came across an email from someone claiming that the “prince of Nigeria” has left you an inheritance, but that your bank account information is needed to transfer the funds. It’s a classic scam that you would have to be bonkers to fall for. Well, people are still falling for it in this day and age.
A 67-year-old man from Louisiana, named Michael Neu, has been arrested and charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for serving as a middleman in a variation of the Nigerian prince scam — an investigation that took 18 months. Neu has allegedly participated in hundreds of scams and has wired money to co-conspirators as well.
Neu’s arrest is notable because—while the Nigerian prince scam has reached a certain level of cultural saturation—very few perpetrators get caught. The Slidell Police Department said in its statement that the investigation is ongoing but “extremely difficult as many leads have led to individuals who live outside of the United States.” According to the New York Times, some of the money was wired to Nigeria.
It’s unclear why a local police department’s financial crimes unit took on the case, as Neu allegedly participated in defrauding people all over the country. A public information officer in Slidell did not return a request for comment or for charging documents that detailed exactly what Neu’s involvement was as a middleman, or how much money he swindled.
And here’s some basic knowledge from the Slidell police chief, Randy Fandal, that people still need to know:
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never give out personal information over the phone, through e-mail, cash checks for other individuals, or wire large amounts of money to someone you don’t know. 99.9 percent of the time, it’s a scam.”