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Scam victims ordered to repay bank $800,000

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  • Scam victims ordered to repay bank $800,000

    here is an interesting News article from the Dominion Post....umm glad it wasn't me!

    Two Rotorua residents have been ordered to pay the ASB Bank more than $800,000 after falling victim to Nigerian scams.

    Landlord Lambertus Petrus Maria Geurts and naturopath Aidan Pargeter of Rotorua, along with Sandra Catherine Foley of Hamilton, have been ordered to pay back the money after cashing a counterfeit cheque with the sharebroking arm of the bank. The decision was released late last month.

    Documents from the Auckland High Court reveal that both Geurts and Foley fell for separate but similar scams around the same time.

    Foley was originally approached in June 1999 by a person calling himself Choice Voteman and offered a quarter share of $US15.5 million ($NZ24.8 million) worth of managed funds.

    According to the documents, both she and Pargeter spent a "considerable sum of money" pursuing the deal.

    Geurts was drawn into a similar scam, which required him to pay for a specialist "cleaning machine" and chemicals needed to wipe "security film" from money that was being held in a secured bank deposit.

    As part of the deal, he received what he believed was a US Treasury cheque for $US455,600.

    Geurts initially tried to bank the cheque through a Vanuatu account, but was unsuccessful.

    A financial adviser put him in touch with Foley and Pargeter and together the trio approached ASB Securities in May 2002.

    The bank paid out on the cheque, which later turned out to be counterfeit.

    In the Auckland High Court, Justice Geoffrey Venning has ruled the trio are obliged to repay the money, partly because they lied about the nature of their business relationship.

    The judge criticised Geurts for not realising the cheque was suspicious, especially as the instructions accompanying it encouraged him to tell ASB an "outright lie".

    He also criticised Foley and Pargeter for not telling ASB Geurts had already had problems banking the cheque.

    Foley admitted in court that when she saw the cheque she was "very dubious" and said: "There's a little saying: if it's too good to be true it usually is".

    Pargeter told the court he was aware of Nigerian bank scams, but "didn't give it any thought" after travelling to the Netherlands to pursue the deal.

    The judge has ordered the trio to pay nearly $100,000 interest on the original sum, as well as court costs to ASB.

    Contacted yesterday, Pargeter said he did not want to comment for fear of prejudicing a planned appeal. However, he said the judge's ruling "blew the socks off me."

    Geurts could not be reached for comment and ASB Securities managing director Tim Preston declined to comment.

    According to court documents, ASB has since changed its procedures. It now insists on holding such cheques for 21 working days, instead of 15 - even though it took 26 working days for the counterfeit cheque to be dishonoured.

    Consumers' Institute chief executive David Russell said the Rotorua case was the third Nigerian scam he had heard of in the past two weeks. He said his advice was simple.

    "Never ever, ever, ever, ever take any notice of something that promises you world wealth for nothing. It is simple common sense. It just does not happen."

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  • #2
    What IS it with Nigeria?? I get emails from about five Nigerian princes, oil tycoons, lawyers and widows of assasinated political figures every day! Every single one of them wants to make me a millionaire!


    • #3
      If they are dumb enough to fall for those scams then they would have lost the money some other way eventually!
      You can find me at: Energise Web Design