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Nigerian scammer’s sentencing delayed

Michael P. Mayko, Staff Writer
Published: 11:05 p.m., Wednesday, July 7, 2010
BRIDGEPORT — A federal judge Wednesday postponed the sentencing of a Nigerian e-mail scammer after determining she needed more information regarding the 65 mostly elderly victims from whom the prosecution claims he helped grab more than $2.5 million.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall delayed Okpako Mike Diamreyan’s sentencing until Sept. 1. In the meantime, she ordered Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang to provide more detailed information on the loss amount victims sustained after their first known contact with the defendant. Additionally, she asked for evidence detailing what the government determined the words “old work” and “new or fresh work” meant in e-mails Diamreyan sent to fellow scammers.

Chang, over the objection of Jonathan Einhorn, Diamreyan’s court-appointed lawyer, contends that “old work” refers to individuals who previously sent money to scammers and could be victimized again. The prosecutor added that many of the people victimized are senior citizens.

Diamreyan, a native Nigerian, constitutes a rare breed. He is the only person caught and convicted in Connecticut in the past two decades for involvement in advance fee scams, known as the 419 scam. It’s named after a section of the Nigerian criminal code.

A federal jury convicted him earlier this year on three wire fraud charges all involving Michael Panedelos, a 78-year-old Shelton man.

Panedelos transferred at least $72,987 between October 2004 and June 2007 to schemes involving Diamreyan and others, according to court documents.

Chang told the judge Diamreyan boasted he and his team were clearing “$5 million a year.”

“It sounds to me like every scam that originated in Nigeria or Ghana is being laid at this defendant’s feet,” Einhorn argued.

E-mails seized by Richard Lauria and Christopher Mehring of the Defense Criminal Investigative Services disclose that Diamreyan has portrayed himself as government secretary, a doctor, an airport director, a diplomat and even a prince in the schemes.

July 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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