18 November 2009

5 More Charged with Scam vs. W.Va. auditor, other states

Five Kenyan-born residents of Minnesota face federal charges after a grand jury indicted them in connection with the Internet-reliant scam that duped West Virginia's auditor out of nearly $1 million, The Associated Press reports.

But the charges unsealed Tuesday further allege that the conspirators targeted three other states -- Kansas, Massachusetts and neighboring Ohio --and at least temporarily netted another $2.3 million.

Around $770,000 of the diverted money ended up in Kenya. "Most of those funds had come from West Virginia," AP reports. "Officials in the other three states identified in the indictment report that they've since recovered their money."

But as noted when the first suspect in the case was arrested and indicted, the scam will likely prove larger than what's been alleged in the criminal charges made public so far.

"West Virginia was hit by a similar scam that netted around $1 million during the same period," the article said. "Utah officials reported earlier in the year that the same sort of fraud attack diverted $2.5 million. (The initial suspect) was arrested in May after Florida thwarted a ploy attempted there."

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