Nigerian e-mail scammer sent to prison

A Nigerian conman who tricked people into handing over money and personal data in expectation of receiving a huge windfall has been sentenced to 20 months in prison by a Welsh court.

A Nigerian conman who tricked people into handing over money and personal data in expectation of receiving a huge windfall has been sentenced to 20 months in prison by a Welsh court.

Peter Okoeguale, 33, who was arrested in Wales while is the process of committing one such '419' scam, also faces deportation from the United Kingdom at the end of his sentence.

When arrested, Okoeguale was found in possession of headed notepapers and forged documents, all created for the purposes of duping gullible victims and making them believe he was a in charge of a large fortune which needed to be laundered through a Western bank account.

In sentencing, Judge John Rogers QC said: "You had in your possession a substantial amount of equipment and carefully drafted fraudulent documents with the intention that they should be used to fool gullible people."

Handing out the custodial sentence Rogers said "only a period of imprisonment is appropriate" for a crime which amounted to "international fraud".

Police investigating the case have tracked down 11 victims of Okoeguale. One individual in Scotland lost £20,000 (US$36,582) to the scam, according to police.

Although sympathy is often thin on the ground for victims of the scam, who fall foul to their own greed and gullibility, the National Criminal Intelligence Service says the organised crime rings behind them still need to be cracked because the money raised by perpetrating such frauds often funds far more serious criminal activity such as the trafficking of drugs and people.

At the time of his arrest Okoeguale was based in Ireland where he was living with his wife and children.

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