Two men fronting as Nigerian sales agents facing fraud charges
By Katherine Wei, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) yesterday indicted two men for their roles in a large-scale fraud and allowed a foreign fraud gang to use their bank accounts to hold money extracted from a Switzerland firm.
August 28, 2013, 12:24 am TWN
According to the TDPO, the two men, surnamed Chen and Lin, who long resided in Nigeria, falsely claimed they had established a firm overseas and were working as real estate salesmen as a front for their scam. The fraud was not a collaborated effort on the men's part as they reportedly did not know one another, but had heard of each other's names from working in the real estate market in Nigeria.
The TDPO's prosecutors pointed out that Chen and Lin were indicted for volunteering their overseas bank accounts to the fraud gang's laundering scheme. In 2009, a telephone manufacturing company received an email from another firm allegedly called “A.M.,” which claimed that a pipeline-laying construction project in Iraq — a collaborated project between the two firms — had been finished, but the firm still needed US$10 million to pay for lawyer fees and commission before it could apply for funding from the Iraq government, the TDPO said.
The Swiss company took the email at face value and proceeded to remit a total of US$4,223,696 to several bank accounts appointed by the fraud gang, a portion of the money transferred to Chen and Lin's overseas bank accounts. The Swiss firm reportedly suspected fraud soon after and called for an attorney to report the case to the Switzerland's Federal Office of Justice.
During the investigation launched by the TDPO after being tipped off by Swiss government officials, Chen and Lin had claimed that the large sums of money in their accounts was simply their salaries earned in Nigeria, as they had not been able to remit the money back to Taiwan right away, TDPO prosecutors said..
Despite the remittance documents provided by the two men, the TDPO ruled that the evidence was insufficient to prove Chen and Lin innocence; both men did not have actual jobs, nor an operating firm in Nigeria, according to prosecutors.