419 Scammer Charges Dropped

from the no-reason-given dept

Last week we had the story of how a woman who received a 419 Nigerian scam email played along to try to track down the scammers. When someone was sent to her to pick up the money, he was arrested. As was pointed out at the time, it sounds as though this guy was just a courier and not the actual scammer – but, in theory should be able to help authorities find the real scammers. Instead, though, they’ve released him without any charges being filed – and without an explanation. The woman who set up the sting is furious and claims this is why such scams continue. Of course, if the guy really is just the courier there probably isn’t too much they can charge him with. Even if they did charge him with some small crime for helping out, it wouldn’t do much to stop the scam anyway. Perhaps, in releasing him, they’re going to use him to get more information about the real scammers.

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Comments on “419 Scammer Charges Dropped”

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LittleW0lf says:

Article missing a lot of info...

As said before, IANAL, but I am *well* acquainted with the Federal legal system and with prosecutors working for the Federal government (to tell you any more would mean I’d have to kill you.) Oh, and I am also a regular fan of CSI and Law and Order…but does that really count. And as stated before, I believe this guy was the courier, and the most they could have got him on was aiding and abetting attempted larceny or a conspiracy charge. But then again, IANAL…

And this article too is missing an awful lot of information, such as whether the police or the prosecutor’s office is still investigating this crime, or the circumstances of the release…I doubt very seriously that Ms. Evans accusation that money must be lost are true, and believe her ignorance of the system may be indicitive as to why the case was dropped…it just isn’t the way the system works. I’ve seen folks put away on conspiracy charges with absolutely no money changing hands, and much smaller amounts of money being requested. This guy is guilty of a crime, attempted larceny is a crime, and the prosecution probably has enough to convict, which is why it wasn’t dropped until right up to the court date…

The fact that they went through with the prosecution right up to the court date, when they decided to drop the prosection shows one of two things…they are morons (which I highly doubt,) or they were using the prosecution to get information from him, which they received, and then let him go when they got enough from him.

I believe the latter is what really happened, and suspect the matter is still being investigated. What good would throwing this guy in jail be if you don’t get the master-minds, and he’s likely not going to talk without some sort of deal.

Besides, the information they had on him was very shaky at best, and a defense lawyer need only bring up that the arrest was based on entrapment, that Heidi Evans was acting as an agent (even though she was not) of the government when she contacted the government with the complaint, and then continued correspondance with the scammer in order to obtain evidence to be used for conviction. In this case, she would have had to have all her ducks in a row to avoid this defense, and the prosecution might not have been comfortable with that or with her for such a small charge. To convict, you’d need a 100% guilty decision, and there might be enough reasonable doubt in the mind of just one juror to kill that.

There is a statue of limitations on larceny, but the prosecution can always reintroduce those charges at a later time up until the statue of limitations expires. However, since they had him in jail, and the Constitution states that those arrested are entitled to a expedited trial, they either had to go forward or drop the case and release the guy.

What will be interesting is to see within the next couple years if they get any further to finding and bringing those behind this, not just the couriers, to jail.

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