After an 18-month investigation, on Thursday (Dec. 28), the Slidell Police Department announced 67-year-old Michael Neu from Louisiana faces 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for his hand in a “Nigerian Prince” scheme.
Law enforcement described Neu as a “middle man” for facilitating hundreds of financial transactions – including Internet and phone calls – with citizens across the nation gaining personal information and money that he would then wire to his Nigerian connects.
Although thinking that a white, elderly man from Louisiana has anything to do with African royalty is a shameful scheme to fall for, the only thing worse than falling victim to this age-old scam is being in the position Michael Neu is now in as the crime’s “fall guy.”
As stated by the Slidell Police Department, the latest version of this scam (that even Federal Trade Commission describes as a joke) is still under investigation. Yet due to logistics, the department says it will be “extremely difficult” to bring full justice to the situation “as many leads have led to individuals who live outside of the United States,” making it highly unlikely that any of Neu’s co-conspirators will become his co-defendants.
While this is now a "laughable" crime, at one point the “Nigerian Prince” scam stole nearly $100 million from Americans, and even though awareness and the government have aided its decline, Neu’s arrest is a reminder to citizens about the lengths they should go to protect themselves.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal warned. “Never give out personal information… 99.9 percent of the time, it’s a scam.”