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Sentencing delayed for Nigerian scammer

BRIDGEPORT — The May 7 sentencing of a Nigerian national who a federal prosecutor says helped bilk 52 people out of $1.3 million since 2004 has been postponed until July 7.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall granted the delay to give Jonathan Einhorn, Okpako Mike Diamreyan’s court-appointed lawyer, time to investigate the prosecution’s claim.

A federal jury convicted Diamreyan of three counts of wire fraud in the scamming of Michael Pandelos Sr., a retired international exporter from Shelton. Pandelos lost $71,857 in the scheme.

The conviction involved his wiring payments to Diamreyan and receiving a phone call from Diamreyan in Ghana. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang has asked Hall in court documents to sentence Diamreyan to a term ranging from 12 years, 7 months to 15 years, 8 months in prison.

Diamreyan, who is being detained without bond, is the first person convicted in Connecticut of participating in a Nigerian letter scam.

Chang said one of the victims, Mitchell Bender, a retired Virginia music teacher, was called nearly 1,200 times over a two-year period and lost $51,835.

Diamreyan arrived in the U.S. in 2008 after obtaining a visa to marry a woman in Massachusetts, who he met over the Internet.

However, the prosecutor said Diamreyan made use of his time in the U.S. obtaining, for his overseas accomplices, electronic equipment, like MagicJack, which allows a person to make inexpensive international telephone calls over the internet through their computer and software which made it appear a call was coming from the U.S. He also had money wired to him in the U.S.

“Allowing accomplices to direct victim money within the U.S. served two purposes,” Chang said. “First, it allowed the scheme to be more realistic, so that the victim could be led to believe that a purported consignment had actually reached the U.S. (where it would undoubtedly then be stuck until a fee was paid to someone in the U.S.); second, it allowed the defendant and his accomplices to defraud individuals who were less wary of sending money domestically than overseas.”

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May 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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