In 2015 accomplice Godwin Nwaofor was jailed for seven years

cheap moncler jackets wholesale For years I’ve been warning that money transfer giant Western Union is loved by fraudsters because it’s quick, they can’t be traced and victims can’t recover their cash.Despite hundreds of thousands of complaints globally, Western Union ignored the scale of the fraud it was facilitating, sometimes with the active connivance of its agents.Now legal action in the United States has forced it to set aside $586million about to refund victims, many from the UK.Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower of the US Department of Justice’s Criminal Division said: “Western Union is now paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers.”Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer of Florida said the company “enabled the proliferation of illegal gambling, money laundering and fraud related schemes”.Another US attorney, Bruce D Brandler of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said: “Since 2001, our office, in conjunction with the US Postal Inspection Service, has charged and convicted 26 Western Union agents in the United States and Canada who conspired with international fraudsters.”(Image: Philip Coburn/Daily Mirror)Here in the UK, Action Fraud says: “We are contacting around 22,000 victims who’ve reported to us and said they’ve paid fraudsters via Western Union between 1st January 2004 and 19 January 2017.”We’ll be letting victims know they might be eligible to claim their money back.”The number of UK victims of these frauds is likely to be much higher than the 22,000 that have reported crimes to Action Fraud.This problem has been public knowledge for years. As long ago as 2009 I warned: “Never never send money by Western Union to someone you don’t know.”It is a service that’s not intended for business transactions between strangers and if the deal goes sour you can kiss your money goodbye.”Unlike a cheque or credit card transfer, there’s no trail to follow, your money’s gone.”The scale of many of the scams is breathtaking. Fraudster Frank Onyeachonam spent so much of his loot on champagne that he was nicknamed Fizzy.He netted an estimated with lottery scams, convincing victims they’d won a windfall but first had to pay bogus fees and taxes, often via Western Union.The Nigerian national living in London, then 38, was jailed for eight years in 2014 after being found guilty of fraud by an Old Bailey jury.In 2015 accomplice Godwin Nwaofor was jailed for seven years.Also Nigerian, he lived in a luxury flat in London Docklands and drove rented Audis, Mercedes and BMWs.The pair would spend months, sometimes years, befriending victims to persuade them that they were genuine lottery employees.In 2016, Tobechukwu Igbokwe, 19, was jailed in Nigeria for 37 years for conning victims in the US into paying more than $40million ( via Western Union in an inheritance scam.In 2012 a reader contacted me to say he had paid to a business which claimed to be able to find a buyer for his unwanted timeshare, but the Spanish outfit disappeared after getting the money through Western Union.The same year an inspector with the Spanish National Police fraud squad told the Mirror about Nigerian gangs based in Spain running fake lotteries, revealing: “Most of the victims send their money through Western Union or Moneygram.”Then there was the poor job hunter from the Wirral who lost in 2014 to crooks claiming to represent employers with vacancies in Dubai.In 2015 I revealed how a bogus landlord wanted payment via Western Union from flat hunters for properties that he did not even own.”Over payment” scams were also common. cheap moncler jackets wholesale

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