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Nigerian scam leads to arrest of lonely Michigan man January 5, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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How could you not feel sorry for Calvin Walton of Michigan?  He thought that he had met a pretty woman using an online dating website.  A Florida man thought the same thing.  Both men, somehow missing out on news articles, Dateline NBC specials, and just plain old common sense, thought it made sense that this woman that they had never met in person had millions of dollars coming to her.  I’m sure you know what comes next.  She need their help to get the money out of one country and into the US.  All it’ll take is $88,000 which they will get back.

An interesting twist on this old Nigerian scam (in Nigeria, they just call it a scam)  is to use a middleman so that it seems legit.  That’s where Walton comes in.  You see, this “woman” has the man from Florida wire $88,000 to Walton because he thinks that Walton is this woman’s US attorney.  Walton thinks that he is just helping pass money from one account to another so he wires it offshore.  No problems for Walton yet.

The police allege that Walton, in his quest for Internet romance, “became involved with fake money orders and checks”.  Exactly what he did and how exactly he formed any criminal intent here is unknown. 

Although Lapeer County is considered metro Detroit, the entire county doesn’t even have 100,000 people.  Thus, I doubt that the local prosecutor sees much computer crime.  Walton’s attorney can really take advantage of this as it can be very tough for a prosecutor to present a computer crime case to a jury.  You can have a lot of fun if the prosecutor has never done it before as it is nothing like a normal criminal case.

Besides the issue of if they can present the case properly, I’d really like to know how they plan to try this case due to the proof issues that they will have to deal with.  I’m in the dark here since the article doesn’t exactly have specifics with regard to the criminal allegations, so I have to assume that this “woman” instructed him to do one thing or the other.  Of course, none of that will be able to be brought up as it would be hearsay.

I also doubt that this Florida guy is going to come up from Michigan.  So the prosecutor tells the jury that this guy wrote out a fake check(s) but we can’t tell you why.  Of course, Walton is free to say just about anything and blame his actions on this “woman” since she is not there in court.  I call this the empty chair defense; meaning you place the blame on the person who is not there, but should be.  I’d couple with the defense that this guy is a sad sack who is just as much of a victim as the guy from Florida.  Fun stuff.

Here’s the article.    Hope you caught the Pulp Fiction reference.

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