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Nigerian Email Scam Victim Sues Bank, Loses Appeal 312

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-how-foolish-I-am dept.
reidhellyer writes "From California Litigation Attorney Blog: 'While many victims of the so-called "Nigerian e-mail scam" would be too embarrassed to trumpet that fact, others end up infamous for their victimhood like the appellant in a published opinion of the California Court of Appeal in Riverside. In March 2009, Charles Peters received an email from someone purporting to be a citizen of Malaysia. The e-mail informed Peters that certain third parties in the United States and Canada owed the Malaysian money, but that “they can not transfer the funds to any bank account outside America continent due to their new company policy [sic].” He asked Peters to “assist me in receiving the funds and forward to me.” He offered to pay Peters 12 percent of the money. Peters agreed after apparently negotiating an increase of his fee to 15 percent.'"

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Nigerian Email Scam Victim Sues Bank, Loses Appeal

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  • by Stratoukos (1446161) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @10:02PM (#34612254)

    Haha, what a tool. Everyone knows that only Nigerian citizens are the real deal.

  • The man is obviously an idiot not to realize that anyone who would increase the commission to 15% could be negotiated up to 17%.
  • by SilverJets (131916) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @10:12PM (#34612338) Homepage

    I received an e-mail of the latest version of this scam a couple of months ago. This time it was a US Marine trying to get money out of Iraq. After laughing at the idiocy of this I was joking with some friends that "Yeah, I bet the US government would like to get money out of Iraq too. Maybe this Marine should contact them." :P

  • For the most part of this, it is Charles Peters that is stupid. However, we really do need a system in which we can find out if a check REALLY does clear FINALLY and ONCE AND FOR ALL. It won't be easy to do, because if the account holder the check is drawn on is innocent, and only finds out a month later, they certainly must have a right to void the transfer. So this would have to be some specific number of days after which the check is absolutely as clear as cash. Maybe 100 days?
  • by contrapunctus (907549) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @10:16PM (#34612370)
    i think the problem is that the bank told him the deposits cleared, then they took it back saying the checks were altered.
  • Earn 15% commissions when you collect on our debt accounts. We send you the accounts and contact info. You do the collection calls. Payments are sent directly to you. You take 15% out and send the remainder to us and we send you more accounts. OK, that's the pitch. The sting should be obvious to slashdotters at this point. The lure would be a few small accounts that are easy to collect on and the victim actually gets the 15%. They get an email saying "wow, I'm impressed ... we'll be sending you some
  • by stonefoz (901011) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @10:31PM (#34612466)
    Asking the bank if the check cleared yields an answer which doesn't mean shit. If none of that means anything, what question must one ask the bank to require them to not reverse the answer? Is there a point where they can't do what ever the fuck they want to do?
    • Asking the bank if the check cleared yields an answer which doesn't mean shit. If none of that means anything, what question must one ask the bank to require them to not reverse the answer?

      That's the real issue here. Yes, the guy is an idiot for falling for an obvious scam. But this whole check clearing process is bullshit. A check is either good or it isn't. It either clears or it doesn't. There should be no in-between. There should be none of this bullshit of "well ... it has provisionally cleared .

      • Only problem with this is that the account holder never has a chance to see/verify that a check he wrote wasn't altered after the fact somehow (i.e. scanned, reprinted, photoshopped, whatever) before it actually was deposited somewhere.

        Now I agree that I feel the bank is the one that screwed up here. If you are told a check has cleared, then it is cleared. At that point, you have been told legally that the money is now yours and in your account free to do with as you please. At that moment, if something co
    • by Khashishi (775369) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:52AM (#34613730) Journal

      Simply put, banks own the world. If you screw up, you lose. If banks screw up, you lose.

  • Dear Slashdotters, I am writing here in hopes that someone could help me with a problem. I assure you that you will be well paid for your efforts. I am a Martian Prince and have been exiled from my home planet. My planet and this one have been unwilling to allow me to transfer funds from zxabhins to US dollars. If you would be so kind as to help me transfer monies I would gladly give you 15% for your efforts... lol *Note for the sick society we live in: This is a JOKE. Get over it. I can see some jackass po
    • Dear Slashdotters, I am writing here in hopes that someone could help me with a problem. I assure you that you will be well paid for your efforts. I am a Martian Prince and have been exiled from my home planet. My planet and this one have been unwilling to allow me to transfer funds from zxabhins to US dollars ...

      Ah-HA! You're not a Martian Prince! Any true Martian Prince would have enough of an education to know that Martians always capitalize any and all H's in proper nouns. Once again bad grammar exposes another scam artist.

  • He actually had about $800K in the bank from the scammers in checks that cleared before he sent $458k back to them, Then the fraud was discovered by the bank and they attached his assets... oops
  • by mbstone (457308) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @11:37PM (#34612820)

    According to the California Court of Appeal opinion, neither the lawyer for the scam "victim" nor the lawyer for the bank identified the correct legal issue (apportionment of fault per the Uniform Commercial Code). And neither the lawyers nor the Court of Appeal picked up on the federal Check 21 law issue (the law that says banks are required to give credit against fake cashier's checks within one day after deposit).

    The plaintiff's lawyer, because he didn't spot the UCC issue, almost certainly failed to discover or put on evidence that the bank was negligent in crediting the fake check.

  • Question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Monday December 20, 2010 @12:35AM (#34613032) Homepage

    FTA: "Peters deposited the $808,988.90 in checks received from the purported Malaysian at the Chino Commercial Bank. After the bank notified Peters that the checks had cleared, Peters wire transferred $468,000 to Hong Kong. Shortly thereafter, the checks were dishonored after the bank detected that they had been altered. Since Peters was personally liable for any overdrafts on the account which had only a few thousand dollars, the bank sought to attach property owned by Peters to collect on the overdraft. The trial court granted the bank’s motion to attach against Peters in the amount of $458,782.60...

    Despite the obvious life lessons, the legal one is this – don’t transfer funds received unless and until you know that collection of the original deposit is final. This is particularly true for lawyers and others who receive funds in trust. (Chino Commercial Bank v. Peters, Dec. 13, 2010, Case No. E049170.)"

    So my question is this -- HOW do you know that collection of the original deposit is final? (I've never even heard that phrase before.) Apparently being told "the check has cleared" doesn't do it?

    • by mochan_s (536939)

      I don't think there is a way to tell from the depositing bank.

      Some people say wait a month but banks say it can take up to 2-3 months for checks to clear.

      The other way is to ask the bank that issues the check or money order to check if it has cleared. Obviously, this is a big problem if the issuer is outside the US.

      And that is why this scam is popular. Once people put the check in the bank and the balance shows up, people think everything is legit and send money out of that balance.

    • Re:Question (Score:5, Funny)

      by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday December 20, 2010 @02:37AM (#34613472) Journal
      HOW do you know that collection of the original deposit is final?

      When the bank will allow you to withdraw the money out of your account, in cash, while mentioning you need "spending money" because you are leaving on an extended trip* to [insert name of country without extradition].

      * Where "extended" >= statute of limitations for bank fraud...
  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Monday December 20, 2010 @01:29AM (#34613234)

    After the bank notified Peters that the checks had cleared, Peters wire transferred $468,000 to Hong Kong.

    Shortly thereafter, the checks were dishonored after the bank detected that they had been altered.

    So what the hell does clearing a check mean? I always assumed that this means that the bank verified that the check was good and they received the funds from the other bank. How much later can a bank claim that a check is no good after it has cleared it?

  • by northernfrights (1653323) on Monday December 20, 2010 @01:56AM (#34613344)
    The scammer successfully made off with $460,000 that never existed. This is no "I need $200 from you to cover the transferal fees" scam. This is some crazy shit.
  • Either the person has a legitimate condition limiting mental or emotional function, and as such needs to be protected from themselves (i.e. Dementia, Psychosis, Alzheimer, etc.)

    OR

    Someone has just paid their idiot tax. Being, promoting, empowering, electing, and/or justifying stupid is expensive, and our society is continually finding new and more interesting ways of paying that tax every day.

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