Police in Louisiana arrested a “Nigerian Prince” scammer and charged the man with 269 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, the New Orleans Advocate reported.
Michael Neu, 67, was identified as the as the suspect. Police say Neu scammed people out of thousands of dollars as a middleman for one of the notorious “Nigerian prince” internet scams.
The “Nigerian prince” scam usually starts with an email purportedly from a Nigerian prince or another exotic figure who reaches out for help in transferring a sizable inheritance they are about to receive. If the unsuspecting victim responds, the scammer proceeds to furnish personal information for the money transfer which is then used to steal funds.
“Most people laugh at the thought of falling for such a fraud, but law enforcement officials report annual losses of millions of dollars to these schemes,” the news release from the Slidell Police Department said.
The news release says the Slidell resident has participated in hundreds of scams and has wired money to Nigeria to his co-conspirators. Slidell police said that the investigation is ongoing, “but is extremely difficult as many leads have led to individuals who live outside of the United States.
Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal says the case should serve as a warning for people to be careful with their personal information.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Fandal said. “Never give out personal information over the phone or through email, 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.”
“This scam, along with others, are becoming a common practice all across the United States,” the police department wrote on Facebook. “If someone call’s you claiming to be an official of a government agency, your local utility company, a law enforcement official, or anything similar, ask for a callback number and verify the person is legitimate.”
According to Neu’s Facebook profile, he is divorced. He left a job at the Pitney Bowes Management Services in 2005 and has no other jobs listed since.
Slidell is 33 miles northeast of New Orleans.