Scamming the Nigerian scammers?
An Australian woman unknowingly turned the tables on her Nigerian 'employers' -- but she took the fall and they got off scot-free.
An Australian woman who was targeted by Nigerian scam artists apparently spent more than $30,000 of their gains from a phony Internet car sales operation.
Sarah Jane Cochrane-Ramsey, 23, was hired in March 2010 as an "agent" for a Nigerian-based company, according to The Courier-Mail. Her job was to open an Australian bank account, where money would be paid from a "dodgy account on a popular car sales website," The Courier-Mail said.
The young woman was to keep 8% of the money as a commission and then forward the rest to Nigeria, but when two people purchased cars on the Internet and payments of $14,850 and $17,500 were deposited into Cochrane-Ramsay's bank account, she spent the money instead, The Courier-Mail reported.
A common scam with uncommon results
The most common arrives as an email solicitation from a "wealthy foreigner who needs help moving millions of dollars from his homeland (and) promises a hefty percentage of this fortune as a reward for assisting him," according to Snopes.com.
In this case, the Nigerians set up a Web server in New York, and payments went to Cochrane-Ramsey's account in Brisbane. When the would-be car buyers realized they'd been scammed, they reported the crime to police, who traced the money to Cochrane-Ramsey. (Post continues below.)
This is not the first story of Nigerian scam artists being scammed. In 2008, This American Life ran a story about a trio of vigilante "enforcers" who met via a website called 419 Eater and together baited a Nigerian con man into traveling 1,400 miles to the border of Darfur to supposedly collect a cash payoff of $200,000.
Cochrane-Ramsey pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court last week to one count of aggravated fraud. She said she had no idea that her employers were dishonest, thus "denying herself the defense that she was somehow attempting to give her fellow scammers a taste of their own medicine," Slate said.
Her attorney, Harry Fong, said she was "an immature young woman" who simply took advantage of having money in her account, according to The Courier-Mail:
He said Cochrane-Ramsay (sic) had no part in the actual Internet fraud and had not heard from (the Nigerian firm) since they realised they were being investigated.
Mr. Fong said Cochrane-Ramsay was now a mother of a young child, was genuinely remorseful, and willing to pay compensation.
The judge in the case, though he said she had a "dishonest bent," released Cochrane-Ramsey on bail, The Courier-Mail reported. She will be sentenced next month.
Despite reports that Cochrane-Ramsey "turned the tables" on her Nigerian employers, the scam artists who set up the car sales operation have not been identified or charged with any crime.
More on MSN Money:
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Occupy Wall Street bought and forgave the student loan debt of more than 2,700 Everest College students.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'