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November 7, 1996

Campus police warn of fraud scheme

Campus police are warning members of the University community to beware of a letter seeking investors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

Pitt Police Chief Rick Boyd said the letter is a fraud and that the company is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

According to Boyd, several letters already have been received by faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He said the letters are marked "Strictly Confidential" and come in hand-addressed envelopes.

"If anyone at Pitt receives one of these letters, they should try to handle it as little as possible," Boyd said. "They [the Secret Service] want to try to get finger prints off both the envelope and the letter. So save the original envelope and the letter." Individuals who receive a letter from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. should contact either the campus police at 624-4040 or the Pittsburgh office of the Secret Service at 644-3384.

Although he is not sure if all the letters are signed by the same person, Boyd said the one he has on file was signed by Alhaji Mansur Ahmed, who identifies himself as the group executive director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

Ahmed also claims that he is a member of an ad hoc committee set up by the Nigerian government to review contracts awarded by that nation's former military government. According to the letter, the committee is interested in importing goods into Nigeria using funds currently in the foreign payments account of the Central Bank of Nigeria/Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

Before the goods can be imported into the country, the letter claims, the funds in the Central Bank need to be transferred into a foreign account.

"I have therefore been mandated as a matter of trust by members of the committee to look for a foreign partner into whose account we could transfer the sum of $25,320,000," the letter states.

In exchange for allowing the committee to transfer the funds, the account owner would receive 25 percent of the total amount, according to the letter. Another 65 percent would go to committee members and 10 percent to pay taxes.

The letter claims that the 65 percent cut would be used to start the importation business and that the investment is 100 percent safe. Recipients of the letter are asked to supply their company's name and address, the name, address, telephone and fax numbers of their bank, and the account number and name of the person who is to receive the $25 million.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 6

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