The Nigerian scam (aliases: the 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the Letter From Jerusalem) dates back to the 1700s, but email has made it as commonplace an inbox nuisance as penis-enlargement ads or forwarded jokes from your mother's second-cousin. Just who are the confidence men behind the broken English? Are they even Nigerian? And does anyone ever fall for them? We now have answers to all of those questions, as Pennsylvania law enforcement has captured a 100% authentic Nigerian scammer!
His name is Maxwell Gbogboade, and his mark was a 64-year-old man whom he met on a dating service. Gbogboade posed as a woman from Nigeria named Mary Douglas, who needed "money to go to a movie shoot in Africa." After that, she promised him, she'd move to the U.S. to be his girlfriend.
The man attempted to withdraw $46,000 from the bank for his Nigerian internet girlfriend, whereupon a good samaritan (the story doesn't specify who) smelled a rat and contacted the police. After tracing some emails back to Nigeria, a sting was set, and Gbogboade was arrested in the lobby of the Philadelphia Airport Marriot posing as a courier.
He's being held on $750,000 bail and being charted with two counts of theft by deception through false impression. As far as the mugshot goes — well, that's pretty much exactly what I expected a Nigerian scam artist to look like. No twist endings here! [WFMZ, photo via Hatfield DP]