LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KNBC) – Federal prosecutors are targeting online scammers who raked in millions of dollars. Now, investigators are going after scores of con artists, here in America and abroad, who use the internet to find and swindle their prey.
14 people arrested Thursday morning. Eleven of them in the Los Angeles area, home to what prosecutors call a money-laundering network. Most of the rest of the accused are in Nigeria.
Prosecutors unveiled a 252-count indictment Thursday, with charges against 80 people.
Some scams targeted businesses, hacking into their email systems, and diverting money. Others targeted people’s hearts and then their bank accounts.
“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history,” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Nick Hanna said. “In some cases, the victims in this case thought they were communicating with U.S. servicemen stationed overseas. When in fact, they were emailing with con men. Some of the victims, in this case, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this way.”