BUT, then the Advance Fee Fraud came in.
The man told him he had to pay $2,500 to transfer the money into his name. He then had to stump for several more documents, some of which cost $5,000. The scammer told Rempel he had to open a bank account in London, with a minimum $5,000 deposit. He said some of the money had been transferred into the account for “safe keeping”.
The scammers then upped the ante, sending an email from a “government department” claiming he owed $250,000 tax on his inheritance. Rempel’s contact assured him he’d “negotiated the fee down to $25,000″.
Rempel decided to travel to London to check that the deal was legit. He made his way to Mexico, where his farm-owning uncle gave him cash and money for a plane ticket. He said: “I had $10,000 in cash in my pocket and my uncle sent another $25,000 when I was over there.”
Once in London, Rempel met “some people” and handed over the $10k. The next day, the 419ers showed their target a suitcase they said contained $10.6m in shrink-wrapped US bills. Rempel demanded further proof, at which point one scammer extracted a bill and “cleansed” it with a liquid “formula” which “washed off some kind of stamp”. The process converted the cash into “legal tender”, Rempel was told.
Rempel said: “I was like holy crap, is that mine?” he said. “They said ‘yes sir, it’s yours.’ It all sounded legit.”
Rempel went back to his hotel room with the magic formula to wait for the 419ers “so they could cleanse all his money”. They, of course, disappeared, later claiming they’d “been held up”.
The victim then managed to drop the bottle containing the formula, breaking it. He rang his contact who said he’d get further supplies. Rempel flew back to Leamington and waited several weeks until a call which confirmed more formula was available for $120,000.
Rempel said: “I thought, ‘let’s work on it, nothing is impossible.’”
The 419ers told Rempel they “were willing to meet associates in different countries to get cash for the formula”, but that they’d need several plane tickets, at $6,000 a pop.
The scammers subsequently confirmed they’d collected $100,000, but were still $20,000 short. Apparently, there was “a guy in Nigeria who had it, but another plane ticket was required”. The contact then insisted he could only get $15,000 of the balance and “begged” Rempel for the remaining $5,000.
Rempel obliged, borrowing the money and defaulting on his credit card and car payments.
A week later, Rempel got the call he’d been waiting for – the cash was ready to go if he could just find an extra $6,900 for “travel costs and to rent trunks to ship the money”.
The final contact between Rempel and the scammers was when they called to say they’d arrived at the airport in New York. However, there was a slight snag – security had stopped them and they needed $12,500 for a bribe.
Rempel, still none the wiser but substantially lighter in the wallet, told them: “No way, I’m cleaned out.”
In one last desperate act, Rempel drove to the airport with his parents and 10-year-old brother, but found no trace of his friends or the money. They then went home and called the police.
The unidentified lawyer said his client had no family but wanted to leave the money to a Rempel. It was John’s his lucky day. “It sounded all good so I called him,” said John. “He sounded very happy and said God bless you.”
The final cost of Rempel’s mix of greed and remarkable stupidity was $55,000 from his uncle in Mexico, $60,000 from his parents to “cover fees for transferring $12.8 million into his name”, plus the money he personally lost – a total of $150,000.
He said: “They’re in it now because of me. If it wasn’t for me, nobody would be in this mess. You think things will work out, but it doesn’t. It’s a very bad feeling. I had lots of friends. I never get calls anymore from my friends. You know, a bad reputation.”
He concluded: “I really thought in my heart this was true.”
after being sent an e-mail on how i am surposed to have won in a lotto the shock and the horror being told ye you have won but you got to pay us first £650.00 damn how dum do i look i never give money away,, thats like paying for my phone before i get the bill… well all i can say is .. well the shock of how i got took in on this.. i could understand a bill after getting the money but not before so because of this i will now go and investigate the irish lotto to see how this has come about.. plus cant get hold of anyone even after the so called win,, if this was a so called win never pay out before you get the money in the bank. (a comment from January 09)