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Australian 'Nigerian' 419 scammer jailed


- AAP

(Tuesday, November 9, 2004)

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"Sophos trusts that this substantial sentence delivers a clear message to all email fraudsters that the law and technology, supported by consumer education, is fast closing in on them," Forsyth said.


The Australian mastermind of a global Internet scam was today sentenced to at least four years behind bars. Nick Marinellis pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to 10 counts of fraud and one count of perverting the course of justice over the so-called Nigerian or West African scam. The ruse fleeced victims of AU$5 million.

Judge Barry Mahoney sentenced Marinellis to five years and three months jail with a non-parole period of four years and four months. The sentence will be backdated to October last year when the 40-year-old was first jailed.

Judge Mahoney said a significant sentence was needed to deter others from committing similar offences. "None of the matters are trivial and the modus operandi was complicated and devious," he said. Marinellis will be eligible for release on February 28, 2008.

"The crime of fraud has been with mankind for a long time. This style of robbery is just a new theft technique using a modern tool - the internet," said Rob Forsyth, managing director for Sophos Australia and New Zealand. "If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. With the increase of spam email, the old adage of caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware -- should be written in bold across the top of every computer screen."

"Sophos trusts that this substantial sentence delivers a clear message to all email fraudsters that the law and technology, supported by consumer education, is fast closing in on them," Forsyth said.

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