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Man accused of scamming attorneys out of $70M gets over eight years in prison

Posted Sep 5, 2013 2:49 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Nigerian man accused of acting as the ringleader in a scheme that scammed lawyers in the U.S. and Canada out of $70 million has been sentenced to 100 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa., earlier this year.

That translates to a prison term of a little over eight years for Emmanuel Ekhator, 42, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, reports WPMT, a Fox News affiliate, and the Patriot-News.

Victimized law firms were contacted by a purported client, usually by email, who claimed to be out of the country needing help with a pending settlement in a case such as a divorce, personal injury claim or real estate transaction, according to authorities.

A cashier's check would soon arrive, which the firm was asked to put in its trust account and use to pay legal fees or other expenses before refunding the balance to the client. By the time the it became clear that the cashier's check was a fake, both the money and the client would be gone.

In addition to the prison term, Ekhator must repay a little over $11 million and forfeit funds in Nigerian bank accounts and Canadian property.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Accused ringleader in scam that bilked $70M from law firms has taken plea"

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