Anyone who has an email account has seen the emails. The sender promises to give you millions of dollars from some kind of inheritance that they can’t get out of the country, or some such nonsense. While it is well known that Nigerians send out this kind of scammy spam, it turns out they are not the only ones responsible.

Police in Slidell, Louisiana, have tracked down a 67-year-old scammer, who purported to be a “Nigerian Prince,” and he’s now in custody facing money laundering and wire fraud charges. He certainly isn’t Nigerian and he is definitely no prince.

‘Nigerian’ money laundering scammer gets caught

The scam has been going on for some 20 years now, but people are still falling for the emails.

I can remember first receiving one of these emails back around 1997 in South Africa and eventually discovered they were emanating from an Internet café close by, where a bunch of Nigerians sat sending them out to all and sundry. In that case, staff was aware of what they were doing, but were too scared to do anything about it. At least now someone has been caught in the act.

Victims fall for the email scam

The Slidell Police Department announced on Thursday that 67-year-old Michael Neu had been arrested relating to a “Nigerian Princeemail scam which has robbed email recipients of thousands of dollars. The Federal Trade Commission reckons Neu’s phishing scam started with an email, allegedly from a high-ranking official in Nigeria, who is seeking financial assistance and personal information in order to get their hands on an alleged “inheritance.”

While many people realize immediately that the email is a scam and promptly delete them, some more susceptible folk have seen what they think is a way to get rich quick and have responded.

The response involves giving the alleged “Nigerian Prince” banking and other personal information, thus allowing the scammer to both take advantage of them and to rob them.

18-month investigation nets scammer

According to the Slidell Police Department, they have been running an investigation for 18 months into the scam and tracked down Neu, who is thought to be the “middle man” in the fraudulent scheme, obtaining money from his victims and then wiring it to his co-conspirators, who are, in fact, in Nigeria. Following his recent arrest, Neu is now facing 269 counts of money laundering and wire fraud.

As reported by SFGate, despite the fact that this kind of scheme is well known and thought to be a joke by many, officials say people continue to fall victim to the emails. The Slidell police said in a statement that while most people tend to laugh at the idea of falling for such a scam, officials have reported millions of dollars lost to similar schemes.

Chief Randy Fandal of the Slidell Police Department said in the statement that if an email sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. He went on to warn recipients to never give their personal details via email or over the phone and to certainly not wire money to strangers, as in 99.9 percent of cases it is a scam. Fandal hopes that Neu’s arrest will serve as a warning to the public to not fall for those tempting words.