For those readers following the Winkler murder trial, a mildly interesting detail has energed.
The defense is alleging that Mary Winkler murdered her pastor husband after an argument concerning the family finances. According to the defense, Mary Winkler had been caught in a variation of the Nigerian 419 scam, and had lost a great deal of the family money.
The version of the scam that is mentioned in the story has become fairly widespread recently. As most good scams, it is fairly simple in design: The scammers contract with the victim to provide assistance in transferring money overseas. The victim is told that cheques will arrive, and that the victim is to deposit the check into their account, then convert the money into a bank draft -- less 10%-15% for services rendered.
Seems relatively harmless: getting 10-15% of each cheque is a nice salary.
Trouble is, the cheques are forged. The victim deposits the bad cheque, the bank shows the extra money, the victim draws out the money and sends a good draft to Nigeria which is cashed right skippy. A week to two weeks later, the bank discovers that the cheque the victim deposited was no good, and wants their money back. The victim winds up owing all the lost money, and since passing a forged cheque is unlawful, there's usually a criminal trial which is virtually unwinnable.
The scammers get more money, the victim has to reimburse the bank for the money the scammers stole, usually after the prison sentence is served.
Seems like scammers may have gotten to Mrs. Winkler to the tune of just under 20 grand. A bad hit for any household to take, and the defense is alleging that stress led to the murder.
Interesting defense. I don't think it will work, but if the cheque scam part is true, that's another one we can mark against the Nigerian 419 scammers.
I hate those sonsabitches.
Time to hook up another couple of scammers and see how much of their time I can waste.