A high-living, utterly heartless Nigerian fraudster will spend eight years in a British prison after being found guilty of stealing millions from pensioners in the United States and United Kingdom.
Frank Onyeachonam, 38, was convicted of running an “advance-fee” scam that targeted vulnerable, elderly people in both countries, according to a report from The News of Nigeria.
Onyeachonam, nicknamed “Fizzy” for his taste for champagne, ran a bogus lottery scheme, in which he and his accomplices would contact the elderly victims and tell them they won an Australian lottery.
The scheme ran for seven years, beginning in 2002, according the the Daily Mail.
After duping the victims, Onyeachonam would request an “advance fee” for administrative purposes before the lottery winnings would be disbursed.
Onyeachonam used the stolen money to fund an extravagant lifestyle, that included designer clothes, mansions, and luxury cars than cost well into six-figures.
In sentencing the Onyeachonam, Judge Rebecca Poulet had harsh words for the Nigerian fraudster.
“I judge your culpability to be very high. This was a very well thought out operation, sophisticated in both its planning and its operation,” the judge admonished. “Mr Onyeachonam, you targeted these individuals because they were elderly and likely to agree and be tricked by this scam.”
An “advanced fee” scam is often called a “419” scam, after its number in the Nigerian criminal code. The structure of the consumer fraud is that the fraudster steals a relatively small “advance fee” to process deferred money, from a lottery or other settlement.