I would love to meet this woman......
Bobbie Johnson in San Francisco
guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 15 2008
An American woman has revealed how she was swindled out of $400,000 (£269,000) by Nigerian internet fraudsters, in what is believed to be one of the biggest cases of its kind ever recorded.
Janella Spears, a registered nurse from Sweet Home, Oregon, said she started sending money to the scammers in 2005 after she received an email promising her several million dollars from a long-lost relative. In what is commonly known as a 419 scam - named after a section of the Nigerian criminal code - the fraudsters randomly contacted Spears over the internet, claiming they would offer her a substantial cut of $20.5m fortune in return for the cash injection which would help move it out of the country.
"I kept thinking it's only a couple hundred dollars - I can get it back," she told local news. Over a period of two years, the fraudsters strung her along and encouraged her to send more payments of up to $14,000 at a time. In the end she became obsessed and sent the fraudsters more than $400,000, which she raised by remortgaging her home and spending her husband's retirement savings.
Despite advice from bank officials, police and even the FBI that the scheme was a ruse, Spears said she continued to send cash in the hope of a large pay-off. Even fake emails claiming to be from the President of Nigeria and US president George Bush could not dissuade her.