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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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first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 121-127 next last
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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To: FredZarguna

Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens,
but *by the government*: by an artificial expansion of the
money supply required to support deficit spending.
No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever
plundered people’s savings on a scale comparable to the
plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist
governments.

AYN RAND


51 posted on 11/12/2008 1:41:28 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Obama, Change America will die for.)
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To: cmj328

Why are we ‘picking’ on this poor, defenseless woman.
It is NOT a scam.
In the last month I have won about 50 lotteries I never played and my new recently orphaned/widowed/etc friends in Africa and England have been sending me offers that range into the trillions if I could get a calculator that would carry all the zeros. The majority prize/windfall is in the 75-100 million range.
I just feel I have been blessed and as soon as I can scrape enough together to buy a book of stamps I will answer these people and start collecting my money.
If this keeps up, I will be able to personally pay off the US debt.
AIN’T THIS A BEAUTIFUL WORLD????...S/S/S/S


52 posted on 11/12/2008 1:52:28 AM PST by xrmusn
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To: thecabal
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).

I call shenanagins. everyone knows oregon is full of enlightened tree-hugging dirt hippies that fart rainbows.

53 posted on 11/12/2008 2:03:10 AM PST by 09Patriot (I am a MILITANT Conservative, compassionate conservativism got us NOWHERE)
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To: Stoat

2 years to dig herself out of a $400,000 hole? This does not make sense.


54 posted on 11/12/2008 2:04:11 AM PST by cydcharisse
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To: Stoat
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
....and she's an Red Obambi Supporter/voter, too....fawnin' & prayin' @ the "Red Messiah's feet"...no different than the LMSM
55 posted on 11/12/2008 2:32:20 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (just b/c you're paranoid, doesn't mean "they" aren't out to get you.. :^)
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To: Stoat

If she read the FR over the years, she might have saved herself.


56 posted on 11/12/2008 2:38:06 AM PST by bmwcyle (Primary support for McCain and Huck showed complete stupidity)
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To: icwhatudo
...that it was all a scam. She persisted.
..that the big tape was 24 hours away. Spears said she became obsessed with hearing the tape.
..into a vicious cycle of posting API articles in hopes the false promises will turn out to be real.
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."

*sigh*....Say it ain't true. /sarcasm
57 posted on 11/12/2008 2:40:57 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (just b/c you're paranoid, doesn't mean "they" aren't out to get you.. :^)
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To: jws3sticks

I just recently got a new scam letter from the “FBI” promising to recover any money I may have lost through prior scam letters! All for a “small fee”, of course. Now and then I play along with the scammers for a while just to amuse me and annoy them. There are dozens of excuses as to why I have not yet sent the money for fees they requested, but it will be forthcoming. HA!


58 posted on 11/12/2008 2:44:55 AM PST by mono
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To: ME-262
No way dude! This is honest. I'm a real loyer and I can help her with her leegal problems.
...will yah take a chez (its' in the mah. :)
59 posted on 11/12/2008 2:46:26 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (just b/c you're paranoid, doesn't mean "they" aren't out to get you.. :^)
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To: marsh2
G*d damn these scammers. I hope they suffer in hell.

While I totally agree with you, they are probably living fat, dumb, wicked and "happy", living in London or Paris.

It just makes me sick.

60 posted on 11/12/2008 2:56:31 AM 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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