Louisiana police arrest 'Nigerian prince' on 269 counts of fraud

Randal Sanchez
January 1, 2018

The scheme, which frequently targets the elderly and others not up to speed on technology and fraud, was allegedly conducted in part by one Michael Neu, himself 67-years-old.

A Louisiana man has been arrested in connection with the infamous "Nigerian prince" scam, according to local police.

Police said Neu is suspected to have been the "middle man" and participated in hundreds of financial transactions, involving phone and internet scams, created to con money from victims across the United States.

The police in a Facebook post said the fake Nigerian prince has duped hundreds of people across America using emails. These messages are the butt of late night jokes, but people still respond to them. Or there's this version: A purported surviving spouse of a Nigerian official tells you their funds are tied up somewhere, and with your bank account information they can pay fees and taxes to get their money - which they will be more than happy to share with you in exchange. "Some fraudsters have produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to try to verify their claims".

Michael Neu, who is neither Nigerian nor a prince, has been charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

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In Louisiana, a man is accused of engaging in such a scam. The victim is then asked to send personal information which is used to con them out of their money. Investigators are continuing to untangle Neu's web of scams, but many other leads also connect to people outside the USA, the post says.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said he hopes the arrest serves as a warning to people targeted by such scams. Yet due to logistics, the department says it will be "extremely difficult" to bring full justice to the situation "as many leads have led to individuals who live outside of the United States", making it highly unlikely that any of Neu's co-conspirators will become his co-defendants.

While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually.

He went on to urge resident not to "give out personal information over the phone, through email, cash checks for other individuals, or wire large amounts of money to someone you don't know".

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