How a bank got e-mail scammed

Wednesday, 25 September 2002, 12:51 AM EST

Ann Marie Poet's new business partner called himself Dr. Mbuso Nelson, and said he was an official with the Ministry of Mining in South Africa.

Nelson popped into Poet's life out of nowhere one day, offering to pay $4.5 million to the 59-year-old secretary for her assistance in transferring $18 million from a bank in South Africa to the United States.

This struck Poet as a reasonable proposition. Oh, sure, there were some pesky little bribes and fees that needed to be paid before the money could be transferred. But Poet could handle that -- compliments of a little corporate embezzlement.

According to court records, from February to August 2002, Poet moved $2.1 million, in amounts ranging from $9,400 to $360,000 per wire transfer, from the accounts of Olsman Mueller & James -- a Berkley, Michigan, law firm where she was employed -- to various bank accounts in South Africa and Taiwan.

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