By Debra Cassens Weiss
Nigeria has extradited a man accused of scamming more than 80 law firms and lawyers out of $31 million in a debt collection ruse.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency announced the extradition of Emmanuel Ekhator to the United States on Friday, the Associated Press reports. He is one of several people accused of participating in a fraud ring. Charging documents say the ring not only collected $31 million in the scam, it also tried without success to defraud 300 other lawyers and firms out of $100 million.
The scam worked this way: One scammer would contact a law firm for help collecting a debt. Another person posing as the debtor would send a fake check to the law firm, which would take its fee before sending the remainder to the client. If the scam goes according to plan, the so-called client gets the money before the fake check is discovered.
According to a superseding indictment (PDF), victims included several Pennsylvania law firms, a Canadian law firm and an Alabama law firm.