Are 419 Victims Guilty Of Fraud If They Recruit Others?
from the legal-questions dept
One of our readers, Stack, sent in a link to this story about an Australian couple arrested for their participation in recruiting others into a Nigerian 419 scam. Stack suggested in his submission that it was a case of a 419 victim who, having “learned” the scam then turned around and started scamming others. But, from the description I’m not so sure that’s the case. Instead, it sounds like the couple was really convinced that the scam was real, and merely convinced others to join in the scam, as well, in order to collect the “necessary” money to free the (non-existent) millions in Nigeria (or whereever this particular scammer claimed the money was).
This raises some interesting questions. If my read is correct, then the couple in question certainly didn’t profit from the scam at all, and didn’t even know they were being scammed. As we’ve seen in the past, victims of 419 scams are often so convinced by the scam that even when the whole thing is explained to them, they still believe the scammers are willing to give them money — something that’s been found to be true in historical scams like the infamous Drake’s Fortune.
However, if that’s the case, the couple in question didn’t know it was a scam, and wasn’t directly profiting from getting others involved (though, they ignorantly thought they were). So… are they victims or are they scammers? Or both?