Nigerian Scam Perp Gets 376 Year Jail Sentence
Here’s a scam story with a happy ending… kind of.
Harrison Odiawa (aka Abu Belgore), pictured below, was convicted in a Lagos, Nigeria court to 376 years for advance fee fraud, obtaining by false pretence, conspiracy and forgery.
So why isn’t this a happy story?
It turns out the victim, a U.S. citizen named Robert Blick, has been serving a 30 month jail sentence himself for defrauding his own business partners in order to give over $2,000,000 to the scammers.
The story begins on March 21, 2003, when Blick received an e-mail from a person in Nigeria by the name of Taye Owo, looking for a foreign contractor to transfer $20.5 million out of Nigeria.
Unfortunately, Blick hadn’t heard of the scam and became excited about getting 20 million dollars for nothing. Don’t we all?
After many emails, phone calls, and faxes back and forth, the scammers provided a certificate of incorporation for Blick’s American company in Nigeria as well as a job completion certificate. With those, Blick believed he was ready to pick up the 20 million and decided London was the place to make it happen. Once in London, however, the deal played out just like it always does…
The scammers “… told him that he would need £10,000 for his agent to open a bank account, and another $18,750.00 as a trust processing fee when the money transaction took place.
Blick, who came to London with only £10,000, had to stop around London with his credit cards to raise another £20,000 to meet these demands. From this moment on, Blick was in the net of the fraudsters and they milked and milked him until he started selling his personal property and dipping his hand into the account of the company he co-owned with his partners in America.
First, they showed him an aluminium strong box, which he thought contained the money. They also opened it and showed him two bundles, which he confirmed were genuine. They could not, however, pay him because one document – International Clearance and Policy Certificate (ICP) number was not available. It had to come from Nigeria, so the payment was cancelled. Next, he was informed on April 7, 2003 that a sum of $ 410, 000 was required before the ICP could be issued. He paid $195,000 as his own share. Belgore was to pay the rest.”
Like all “Advanced Fee” schemes, the big payoff gets closer and closer, but never quite materializes.
The milking continued until Blick’s American corporate partners became suspicious and called the FBI. Luckily the FBI was able to knock some sense into Blick, but not until he had given $2,092,894 million of his and his company’s money to the scammers.
In January, 2004 Blick was charged with wire fraud along with conspiracy to draud the Nigerian government. After all, the scam Blick went along with supposedly involved stealing the 20 million dollars from the Nigerian government. Blick was convicted in September, 2004 and sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Enough talk about the “victim.” Now back to our scammers…
Once Blick was convicted, the FBI alerted the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding Odiawa, alias Abu Belgore, the man behind the fraud. With evidence provided by Blick and others, Odiawa was convicted and sentenced to the 376 years.
Does this story have a happy ending? Sort of…
- A scammer has been brought to justice.
- A victim has been taught a painful and valuable lesson about greed.
- The public gets another case study on how to avoid scams and scammers.
The victim and the scammer both received their comeuppance. Hopefully the family of the victim and his business partners get back their $2,000,000.
For all the gory details of the case, see the EFCC web site.