37-year-old Nigerian scammer Paul Gabriel Amos convinced Citibank officials to wire him $27 million belonging to Ethiopia. Rather than go with the usual Nigerian nom de plumes like prince or will executor, Famous Amos pretended to be an official with the National Bank of Ethiopia. Amos forged “official-looking” documents that confirmed his status with the central bank and instructed Citibank to await faxes telling them where to send the country’s cash.
There was also a list of officials who could be called to confirm such requests. The signatures of the officials appeared to match those in Citibank’s records and were accepted by Citibank, the complaint says.
In October, Citibank received two dozen faxed requests for money to be wired, and it transferred $27 million to accounts controlled by the conspirators in Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, Cyprus and the United States, the complaint says.
Citibank called the officials whose names and numbers it had been given to verify the transactions, prosecutors said. The numbers turned out to be for cellphones in Nigeria, South Africa and Britain used by the conspirators.
Citibank, in its investigation, later determined the package of documents had come via courier from Lagos, Nigeria, rather than from the offices of the National Bank of Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa.
The FBI arrested Amos when he tried to visit Los Angeles. Citibank sent the $27 million back to Ethopia and may soon form a support group with this guy.