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Man sentenced in international check scam

January 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A Nigerian national who operated a money-transfer business in Chino was sentenced Monday to 97 months in federal prison for his role in an international check scheme. Prosecutors say that 39-year-old Alvin Chiemezie Asieru bilked hundreds of victims out of more than $1.5 million. Asieru was also ordered to pay full restitution to his victims.

He pleaded guilty last year to one count of mail fraud, admitting that he participated in an international telemarketing scheme that defrauded almost 500 American victims.

Prosecutors say Asieru's scheme involved sending fradulent checks to victims, telling them that they had either won a contest, had been chosen to participate in a promotion, or were being offered employment as "secret shoppers."

The victims were then instructed to deposit the checks, wire most of the funds through MoneyGram, and report the transaction number.

Asieru would then use the transaction number to collect the proceeds of the wire transfer in Chino, according to prosecutors. He would share the proceeds with others in Canada.

The victims later found out that they were responsible for the money they had now lost.