|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
March 18, 1998
Washington, D.C. – U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH)is warning
local businesses about a Nigerian-based scam operation to illegally obtain
bank account information and payments. The scam has been operating
in the U.S. for at least four years. Several companies in the Mahoning
Valley have received letters from Nigeria asking them to invest in questionable
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the letters are fraudulent. The large dollar amounts referred to in these letters do not exist, but are a ploy to obtain bank account information and/or "facilitation fees" from businesses. The scam letters frequently refer the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a legitimate company which oversees Nigeria's vast petroleum industry. NNPC is not, however, tied to the scam operation. The letters refer to the NNPC to convey the impression that the proposals are legitimate.
Traficant is advising local businesses not to answer any such business proposals, and to forward the letters to the U.S. Secret Service. Copies can be sent to the U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 1800 G Street, NW, Room 942, Washington, D.C. 20223. The Secret Service will investigate and share the information with the appropriate U.S. and international authorities.