MALAGA’S leading instruction judge has begun the trial of 228 defendants, most of them Nigerian, arrested in the operation “Nilo”. This has been the largest operation against international organised fraud to be carried out in the area.
More than 315 people were arrested in July 2005 due to their alleged involvement with an international advance-fee fraud gang which, in 2004 alone, ripped off 20,000 people from different countries. The defendants are accused of fraud, falsification of documents, and illicit association. Organised groups of people, mainly Nigerians, used the internet to select people living abroad and rip them off. The defendants used to send letters to people saying they had won the Spanish lottery and mail was sent in millions. Most of these letters were ignored but thousands of people still answered them filling in all their personal data and their bank details, as victims were insistently asked to pay the prize tax before they could receive it. The defendants used false passports to withdraw the money from international financial companies. An advance-fee fraud is a confidence trick in which the target is persuaded to pay in advance sums of money in the hope of realising a significantly larger gain. The Nigerian Letter is one of the well-known variations on this type of scam.