The ringleader of a Dutch-based internet scam that raked in up to $US2 million ($2.6 million) has been arrested in Nigeria, police in Amsterdam say.
The Nigerian, who headed a band of fraudsters operating out of Amsterdam, was arrested in Nigeria’s economic capital of Lagos, police said.
The fraudsters sent emails all over the world promising the recipients quick financial gains from a make-believe inheritance or fictitious lottery wins in exchange for “processing fees” of several thousand dollars.
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Those who paid up never heard from the supposed organisations again or saw a penny of their promised windfall.
Twelve Nigerians were arrested in the Netherlands in February over the scam. Some were held at the request of prosecutors in the United States where most of the scam’s victims are located.
According to the Dutch ANP news agency, the group sent up to 140,000 emails per week.
Nigeria is a major hub for internet scams with criminals bombarding computer owners with emails seeking to trick them into handing over bank details or making advance payments on non-existent money-making schemes.
Experts say that the so-called 419 fraudsters – named after the relevant section in Nigeria’s criminal code – steal hundreds of millions of dollars every year from unsuspecting victims.