You don’t have a long lost uncle who died in a car accident on Sagbama
Road in the jungles of Nigeria.
You never purchased the winning ticket in a Sub-Saharan international
lottery, Africa’s version of Powerball.
And there is no fabulously rich Prince Mbuto of the Wahaki tribe willing
to exchange his enormous wealth for an opportunity to study marine biology
at the prestigious University of Tallahassee.
These are just some of the scams being perpetrated by the Nigerian 419’ers.
A group of clever con artists who have perfected the notorious Advanced
Fee Scam to the tune of half a billion dollars.
Last year, I received one of these absurd e-mails from Mr. Ibrahim Mantu.
He promised me more than $10 million dollars from a long lost Nigerian
monetary fund hidden by a previous military regime. All I had to do was
assist the transfer of the funds to the United States.
I gave it some thought and chose to take Mantu up on his fabulous offer.
If someone wants to give me $10 million dollars, I reasoned, the least
I could do was hear him out.
So I forwarded the proposal to a fake e-mail account in the name of Richard
Gosinya and, on a curious lark, told Mantu I wanted to help.
I had no idea what would ensue.
I had no idea the correspondence would continue for the next seven weeks.
Or that I had four daughters. And a wife, Maude, with a bad case of Verticulitis
of the Ovum. I had no idea I’d be quoting the literary works of
Brian Boitano. Or bowling against the Modesto Nipple Twisters. I had no
idea I’d be forging passports, booking flights to Togo or writing
my own obituary. I had no idea I would be re-incarnated as Ukrainian emigrant
Boris Beecha Kockoff or the curmudgeonly Holden McGroyne.
But it’s all true.
And it’s all chronicled. In a book, I had no idea I was about to