Sunday, May 28, 2006

Is the Latest Congressional Scandal a Nigerian Fraud


The AP is now reporting the possible involvement of Nigerian Vice President Abubakar Atiku in the bribery scandal involving Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana.

To try to get some commentary on this, I went to Congressman Jefferson's site. The only thing I found "interesting" was a message to the "Katrina Victims." Unfortunately, Katrina has now - ALSO - proven to be a fraud-ridden event.
Now the AP is briefly mentioning that the Vice President of Nigeria was the intended recipient of the bribe and the African Press is discussing it in more detail.

As reported by the AP:

While the name of the intended recipient of the $100,000 is blacked out, other details in the affidavit indicate he is Abubakar Atiku, Nigeria's vice president. He owns a home in Potomac, Maryland, that authorities have searched as part of the Jefferson investigation.


For the full story from the AP, courtesy of W-TOL in Toledo, Ohio, link here.

Nigeria has received a lot of bad press for being the "point of origin" for fraud schemes that have victimized people worldwide. In the past few years, President Olusegun Obasanjo has come down hard on fraud and with the help of his EFCC (Economic Financial Crimes Commission) prosecuted a lot of high profile cases, which were well publicized.

Here is a description of Nigerian fraud that I wrote in an earlier post:

"Nigeria is one of main sources for all sorts of Advance fee fraud (419) fraud scams. The Advance Fee scam is where a ruse is used to get a victim to send them money (nowadays normally wire-transfer) in anticipation of riches (or sometimes love) to come. The best known is the "Nigerian Letter," but the activity has mutated into romance, lottery, auction, check cashing, work at home and reshipping scams."
While the fraud that is exported from Nigeria is what we read about all the time, there is considerable evidence that fraud in Nigeria (at least historically) exists at all levels. The current President (Obasanjo) has led a very public campaign against corruption within Nigeria and is credited with making great strides in this area.

It will be interesting to see if the EFCC investigates the Vice President. AllAfrica.com is reporting the story, which quotes Atiku as saying Jefferson was name dropping and obviously committing a 419 (Nigerian Penal Code for Advance Fee) scam. In all fairness, most of the money was still in Congressman Jefferson's freezer, and he did indicate to the "informant" that the money had reached the intended recipient.
Please note that other fraudsters impersonating Nigerian fraud is nothing new. In the past, I've seen other groups do scams - which were made to look as if they came from Nigeria.
However, BiafraNigerianWorld.com wrote an article about the "mysterious" mansion in Potomac, and it's (legal) owner, Jennifer Douglas. According to BiAfra Nigerian World, the mansion was purchased after Atiku became Vice-President and Jennifer Douglas - who they describe as one of Atiku's many wives - is a student with no verifable income. Their article states that Ms. Douglas has left the United States and returned to Nigeria. The AP article states that this mansion, if they are one and the same, belongs to Atiku and makes no mention of Ms. Douglas.
BiAfra Nigerian World has a link to Maryland Property records showing Jennifer Douglas as the owner.
Another item mentioned in all the artices was a telecommunications deal with Nigeria, where the owner of the U.S. company in question has already pled guilty to giving Congressman Jefferson $400,000.00 to seal deals with Nigeria and "other African countries.
Link to the story from BiafraNigerianWorld.com, here.
The AP doesn't seem to come to any conclusions and the FBI isn't commenting yet, which could mean the matter is still under investigation.
The FBI recently added a page to their website, where the public can report government fraud.
Considering the recent activity with Tom Delay, Randy (Duke) Cunningham and now this investigation, they seem to be pretty busy in this arena.

Here are some previous posts, I've done on Nigerian Fraud:

419 From the Other Side of the Fence

Hard Drives for Nigeria

Nigerian Vice President Abubakar Atiku

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gee, did Congressman Jefferson get one of those letters.

Sarah Bernstein said...

I don't see how Jefferson could be innocent, the person who bribed him is pleading guilty?

T.L. Stanley said...

Good post. Take care.

prying1 said...

I need a good scam to make lots of money but I don't like the idea of the jail part. It seems a lot of these guys scam a few million, get caught and pay a couple million in fines. Where does the fine money go to and what about the rest of the cash?