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Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists (Investigator: Worst example of scam he's seen)
KATU-TV (Oregon) ^ | November 11, 2008 | Anna Song

Posted on 11/11/2008 11:21:25 PM PST by Stoat

Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists

Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists

By Anna Song KATU News and KATU.com Web Staff

SWEET HOME, Ore. – Janella Spears doesn’t think she’s a sucker or an easy mark.

Besides her work as a nursing administrator, Spears – no relation to the well-known pop star – also teaches CPR and is a reverend who has married many couples. She also communicates with lightning-fast sign language with her hearing-impaired husband.

So how did this otherwise lucid, intelligent woman end up sending nearly half a million dollars to a bunch of con artists running what has to be one of the best-known Internet scams in the world?

Spears fell victim to the "Nigerian scam," which is familiar to almost anyone who has ever had an e-mail account.

The e-mail pitch is familiar to most people by now: a long-lost relative or desperate government official in a war-torn country needs to shuffle some funds around, say $10 million or $20 million, and if you could just help them out for a bit, you get to keep 10 (or 20 or 30) percent for your trouble.

All you need to do is send X-amount of dollars to pay some fees and all that cash will suddenly land in your checking account, putting you on Easy Street. By the way, please send the funds though an untraceable wire service.

By this time, not many people will fall for such an outrageous pitch, and the scam is very well-known. But it persists, and for a reason: every now and then, it works.

Spears received just such an e-mail, promising her that she’d get $20.5 million if she would only help out a long-lost relative – identified in the e-mail as J.B. Spears – with a little money up front. "That's what got me to believe it," Spears said.

It turned out to be a lot of money up front, but it started with just $100.

The scammers ran Spears through the whole program. They said President Bush and FBI Director "Robert Muller" (their spelling) were in on the deal and needed her help.

They sent official-looking documents and certificates from the Bank of Nigeria and even from the United Nations. Her payment was "guaranteed."

Then the amount she would get jumped up to $26.6 million – if she would just send $8,300. Spears sent the money.

More promises and teases of multi-millions followed, with each one dependent on her sending yet more money. Most of the missives were rife with misspellings.

When Spears began to doubt the scam, she got letters from the President of Nigeria, FBI Director Mueller, and President Bush. Terrorists could get the money if she did not help, Bush’s letter said. Spears continued to send funds. All the letters were fake, of course.

She wiped out her husband’s retirement account, mortgaged the house and took a lien out on the family car. Both were already paid for.

For more than two years, Spears sent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everyone she knew, including law enforcement officials, her family and bank officials, told her to stop, that it was all a scam. She persisted.

Spears said she kept sending money because the scammers kept telling her that the next payment would be the last one, that the big money was inbound. Spears said she became obsessed with getting paid.

An undercover investigator who worked on the case said greed helped blind Spears to the reality of the situation, which he called the worst example of the scam he’s ever seen.

He also said he has seen people become obsessed with the scam before. They are so desperate to recoup their losses with the big payout, they descend into a vicious cycle of sending money in hopes the false promises will turn out to be real.

Now, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim.

She hopes her story will warn others to listen to reason and avoid going down the dark tunnel of obsession that ended up costing her so much.

Spears estimates it will take two years to dig out of the debt she ran up in pursuit of the non-existent pot of Nigerian gold.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: 419; 419scam; api; fool; fraud; greed; internet; nigeria; nigerian; nigerianscam; scam; scammers; stupidity; theft
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Now, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim.

She hopes her story will warn others to listen to reason and avoid going down the dark tunnel of obsession that ended up costing her so much.

Sorry darlin'....we're already up to speed.  It appears that you are the last person on the entire planet to have gotten the memo.  Your interest in going public

will serve mainly to attract legions of scammers to your front door and to cause others to point at you and laugh.

Spears estimates it will take two years to dig out of the debt she ran up in pursuit of the non-existent pot of Nigerian gold.

Only two years???

Besides her work as a nursing administrator, Spears – no relation to the well-known pop star – also teaches CPR and is a reverend who has married many couples.

 


1 posted on 11/11/2008 11:21:26 PM PST by Stoat
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To: Slings and Arrows
DURRR
2 posted on 11/11/2008 11:22:08 PM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: Stoat

This moron was the perfect mark. Like every good mark, she was greedy.


3 posted on 11/11/2008 11:25:55 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Stoat

Two oars short of a rowboat.


4 posted on 11/11/2008 11:27:52 PM PST by taxesareforever (Quick justice for the senseless killing of Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield.)
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To: Stoat
Spears estimates it will take two years to dig out of the debt she ran up in pursuit of the non-existent pot of Nigerian gold.

It sounds like she is STILL in deep denial...if she had to 'wipe out' her husband's retirement to lose this much, they don't make enough to dig out of this in TWENTY years, much less TWO.
5 posted on 11/11/2008 11:30:26 PM PST by beezdotcom
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To: taxesareforever

Just imagine the people who would fall for a letter from
president Obama, Nigeria will soon be a wealthy country.


6 posted on 11/11/2008 11:32:52 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Stoat
"Everyone she knew, including law enforcement officials, her family and bank officials, told her to stop, that it was all a scam. She persisted.

Spears said she kept posting API articles because the scammers kept telling her that the Obama tapes were about to be released, that the big tape was 24 hours away. Spears said she became obsessed with hearing the tape.

An undercover investigator who worked on the case said hatred of Obama helped blind Spears to the reality of the situation, which he called the worst example of the scam he’s ever seen.

He also said he has seen people become obsessed with the scam before. They are so desperate to hear the tape they descend into a vicious cycle of posting API articles in hopes the false promises will turn out to be real.

Now, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim.

She hopes her story will warn others to listen to reason and avoid going down the dark tunnel of obsession that ended up costing her so much.

Spears estimates it will take two years to dig out of the posts she ran up on Free Republic in pursuit of the non-existent tape."

7 posted on 11/11/2008 11:34:16 PM PST by icwhatudo
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To: Stoat
Just send this story to Obama, First he'll blame President Bush, and then he'll get her a Bailout.

Odds are 5 to 1 she's an Obama voter.

8 posted on 11/11/2008 11:34:50 PM PST by Kickass Conservative (Democracy, two wolves and one sheep deciding what's for dinner.)
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To: Stoat

$400k nigerian scam? what about the $650 million kenyan scam to get the most liberal inexperienced president in history?


9 posted on 11/11/2008 11:36:19 PM PST by ari-freedom (So this is how Liberty dies... with thunderous applause)
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To: Stoat
Spears – no relation to the well-known pop star –

Not anymore.

10 posted on 11/11/2008 11:40:12 PM PST by MyTwoCopperCoins
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To: Stoat
By Anna Song

Well, I know it's kind of late. I hope I didn't wake you. But, what I've got to say can't wait. I know you'd understand. 'Cause every time I tried to tell you, the words just came out wrong. So, I'll have to say I love you, Anna Song.
11 posted on 11/11/2008 11:41:22 PM PST by Rastus
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To: Stoat

12 posted on 11/11/2008 11:42:59 PM PST by ari-freedom (So this is how Liberty dies... with thunderous applause)
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To: Stoat
The old phrase is: "Stupid is as stupid does". What part of the planet has this woman lived on for the last 20 years.

Several years ago, an Office Manager, with access to a law firm's banking account in Southfield, Michigan, lost the firm over a million dollars.

A good friend defines this thought process as a "terminal case of greed!" and, with this example, it is "right on".

13 posted on 11/11/2008 11:45:03 PM PST by jws3sticks (Hillary can take a very long walk on a very short pier, anytime, and the sooner the better!)
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To: beezdotcom

Must be a real high class private practice she works at to draw a salary of over $200k a year.
Or she’s just not very bright. If I were her employer I’d be double checking her work.

It never fails to amaze me just how anyone can be so stupid and do something like this based on an email from someone they’ve never seen.

Maybe she’s one of those fake part time Reverends who marries gay people on weekends. God sprinkled stupid dust on her as punishment for the blasphemy.

Nobody can be that stupid without a little help.


14 posted on 11/11/2008 11:50:36 PM PST by Nathan Zachary
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To: Stoat

Obama voter.


15 posted on 11/11/2008 11:52:17 PM PST by Swordmaker (Remember, the proper pronunciation of IE is "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE!)
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To: Stoat

You said — “Sorry darlin’....we’re already up to speed. It appears that you are the last person on the entire planet to have gotten the memo. Your interest in going public”

Oh..., I don’t know about that. I see that 52% of the American voting public “bought into” the “Kenyan online scam” of Obama and he got a lot of money online... LOL...

I would say that Obama proves that 52% of the voting public are still susceptible to these African Internet scams....


16 posted on 11/11/2008 11:53:21 PM PST by Star Traveler
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To: Stoat
Anybody so stooooopid as to still fall for this is just beggin' for a Darwin. Let's not deny her.
17 posted on 11/11/2008 11:53:49 PM PST by Scothia (Don't blame me--I voted for Sarah.)
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To: icwhatudo

LOL


18 posted on 11/11/2008 11:56:08 PM PST by smokingfrog (If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now. Appeasement is not the answer. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Nathan Zachary
Maybe she’s one of those fake part time Reverends who marries gay people on weekends.

According to the video (available at the main article link) she has married 'deaf people'.

Apparently she limits her marriage services to that demographic, or at least the video report seems to imply that.

19 posted on 11/11/2008 11:56:40 PM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: Stoat

Hmmmm....wonder what her email address is.


20 posted on 11/11/2008 11:57:43 PM PST by Cementjungle
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To: Stoat; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...
Janella Spears doesn’t think she’s a sucker or an easy mark.

WRONG!!!


21 posted on 11/11/2008 11:57:57 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (We are SO screwed.)
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To: beezdotcom
Does anybody know this ladies e-mail address? I may be able to help her recoup all her lost money and then some if she can send me a little bit of money to get started with the appropriate international court legal filings. I've also got some powerful friends in Nigeria's underworld who can trace where the money went.
22 posted on 11/11/2008 11:58:06 PM PST by ME-262 (Stick it to the Man! - Down with Obama!)
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To: Star Traveler
I would say that Obama proves that 52% of the voting public are still susceptible to these African Internet scams....

An excellent, essential point and I humbly stand corrected.

23 posted on 11/11/2008 11:58:20 PM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: jws3sticks
What part of the planet has this woman lived on for the last 20 years.

Sweet Home is a special redneck vortex. (This coming from a guy who grew up in a similar redneck vortex not too far from Sweet Home...LOL).

24 posted on 11/12/2008 12:10:34 AM PST by thecabal (We care a lot)
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To: ME-262
Does anybody know this ladies e-mail address? I may be able to help her recoup all her lost money and then some if she can send me a little bit of money to get started with the appropriate international court legal filings.

I'll bet you a ham sandwich she gets taken AGAIN within a year in EXACTLY this way.
25 posted on 11/12/2008 12:10:50 AM PST by beezdotcom
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To: Stoat; Nathan Zachary

Maybe she marries deaf gay people.


26 posted on 11/12/2008 12:12:04 AM PST by beezdotcom
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To: beezdotcom
Maybe she marries deaf gay people.

LMAO

Perhaps her marriage services will pick up after this....it may become a point of cynical, sissified pride for deaf homosexuals to be able to say to their 'buddies' at the disco "we were married by the stupidest woman on the planet". 

27 posted on 11/12/2008 12:16:35 AM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: Stoat

My guess is that it didn’t happen... It’s a tax scam. Follow this:

She pulls out her husbands retirement which would be taxable at the highest rate. The money is stolen, and she gets to deduct most of the stolen amount from the tax bill on the retirement payout.

In the meantime, the money is squirreled away in the Caiman Islands....


28 posted on 11/12/2008 12:18:59 AM PST by babygene (It seems that stupidity is the most abundant element in the universe)
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To: beezdotcom
I'll bet you... she gets taken AGAIN... EXACTLY this way.

No way dude! This is honest. I'm a real loyer and I can help her with her leegal problems.

29 posted on 11/12/2008 12:24:22 AM PST by ME-262 (Stick it to the Man! - Down with Obama!)
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To: Stoat

My Dad is in his 90s with some judgement impairment and has been taken by several iterations of the scam totaling about $50,000. We have told him that it was a scam, reported it to the FBI several times and have had his city cops and social service do an intervention. We have taken him off the bank accounts and hid the account info. Nothing has worked. He now gets a credit card and borrows on it. My mother, who is also in her nineties is at her wits end.

They tell me I can’t do anything about it. As an adult, he has a right to dispose of his own money any way he sees fit. They told us my mother would have to have him declared incompetant. She is too frail to go through the process. We just hope they end up with enough to make it through their lives without Dad flushing it all to Nigeria. It infuriates me that the FBI will do nothing about it.

G*d damn these scammers. I hope they suffer in hell.


30 posted on 11/12/2008 12:25:05 AM PST by marsh2
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To: babygene
It’s a tax scam

An interesting perspective, although after watching the video of her I have severe doubts that she is bright enough to pull off something like what you suggest.  An aura of breathtaking density and general dimwittedness surrounds her in a way so profound that I have grave concerns for the wellbeing of any patients under her care (she's an RN as well).

31 posted on 11/12/2008 12:26:21 AM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: marsh2
I am a professional anti-scamming counselor. I believe I can help your dear father if you can give me his phone number?
32 posted on 11/12/2008 12:33:00 AM PST by ME-262 (Stick it to the Man! - Down with Obama!)
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To: Stoat

What an absolute idiot.


33 posted on 11/12/2008 12:34:09 AM PST by South40
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To: marsh2

I’m terribly sorry to hear of this. I gather that there is no way that you can be declared legal guardian of them both, considering that he is placing himself and his wife in jeopardy? What an absolutely awful situation.

My prayers to you and your family.


34 posted on 11/12/2008 12:34:22 AM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: Stoat

“An aura of breathtaking density and general dimwittedness surrounds her...”

Man, that’s awesome. I’m stealing it. I don’t know where I’m going to use it, but it’s too good to let get away.


35 posted on 11/12/2008 12:38:31 AM PST by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: Kickass Conservative
Odds are 5 to 1 she's an Obama voter.

That was my first thought. She has that "liberal look."

And if she falls for scams, I'm sure she fell for the BO scam.

36 posted on 11/12/2008 12:40:34 AM PST by Allegra
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To: PLMerite

I think Jethro Tull said it best.

To be thick, as a brick.


37 posted on 11/12/2008 12:42:31 AM PST by Kickass Conservative (Democracy, two wolves and one sheep deciding what's for dinner.)
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To: jws3sticks
"Stupid is as stupid does"

And to add to that old phrase, the newer one...'you can't fix stupid'.

38 posted on 11/12/2008 12:51:27 AM PST by SiVisPacemParaBellum (Peace through superior firepower!)
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To: PLMerite
Man, that’s awesome

Thank you so much for your gracious and complimentary words and sentiment  :-)

 Thank You

39 posted on 11/12/2008 12:52:04 AM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: Stoat
Now, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim.

Hey thanks for the tip. I got one for you. That email that has been going around telling you that microsoft will pay you to forward it....its a fake too. Us ignoramuses have to stick together.
40 posted on 11/12/2008 12:55:22 AM PST by pennyfarmer (Shiite Muslim named Bob.)
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To: Stoat
Hi,
My name is Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., and if you'll just send me $750 billion I'll save your banking system. If you don't send me the money, your 401(k) plan could lose as much as 23% of its value in just a week.
President Bush has approved this plan.
So have a majority of Senators and Congressmen.
Oh, yes, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve has, too.

No, this isn't a scam!
Really.

The Nigerian hustle is chicken feed.

41 posted on 11/12/2008 12:59:00 AM PST by FredZarguna (And please, no more Vanities that are Goedel Sentences.)
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To: tet68

LOL


42 posted on 11/12/2008 1:01:02 AM PST by taxesareforever (Quick justice for the senseless killing of Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield.)
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To: Stoat; beezdotcom; Nathan Zachary
Spears estimates it will take two years to dig out of the debt she ran up in pursuit of the non-existent pot of Nigerian gold.

Possibly sooner if the check from the Prime Minister of Mali clears.

Owl_Eagle
”You know, I'm going to start thanking
the woman who cleans the restroom in
the building I work in.  I'm going to start
thinking of her as a human being”

-Hillary Clinton
(Yes, she really said that
Peggy Noonan
The Case Against Hillary Clinton, pg 55)

43 posted on 11/12/2008 1:07:24 AM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: lowbridge

Nigerian ping


44 posted on 11/12/2008 1:15:02 AM PST by bootless (Never Forget. Never Again. And NEVER GIVE UP!)
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To: Swordmaker

Absolutely.


45 posted on 11/12/2008 1:20:11 AM PST by GiovannaNicoletta
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To: Stoat
"For more than two years, Spears sent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everyone she knew, including law enforcement officials, her family and bank officials, told her to stop, that it was all a scam. She persisted."

For more than two years, she just kept on sending money, despite of everyone's advice. She is beyond stupid.

46 posted on 11/12/2008 1:27:55 AM PST by FocusNexus
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To: Stoat
She may be forced to sell some of her possessions, like that bridge in Brooklyn.
47 posted on 11/12/2008 1:29:27 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: marsh2

“My Dad is in his 90s with some judgement impairment “

Consult a lawyer immediately. In your case you should be able to have him declared not competent and be named as conservator to handle his affairs.


48 posted on 11/12/2008 1:30:58 AM PST by FocusNexus
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To: FocusNexus
She is beyond stupid.
 

Agreed.  One might be able to make the argument that she is bent on self-harm, a clinical mental illness.

Not the sort of person who should be involved with the care of medical patients (she is an RN as well)

49 posted on 11/12/2008 1:32:23 AM PST by Stoat (Palin / Coulter 2012: A Strong America Through Unapologetic Conservatism)
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To: icwhatudo

LOL.


50 posted on 11/12/2008 1:33:18 AM PST by cmj328 (Filibuster FOCA or lose reelection)
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