Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The 'Spanish Prisoner' In Nigeria

Mitchell Zuckoff has a riveting article in a recent issue of The New Yorker about a "Christian psychotherapist" who was taken for more than $80,000 by the Nigerian E-mail Fraud people and wound up with a two-year prison sentence -- and more debt. As Zuckoff writes, the moral of the story is as old as greed itself:
"The mind-set was best explained by the linguist David W. Maurer in his classic 1940 book, 'The Big Con':
"As the lust for large and easy profits is fanned into a hot flame, the mark puts all his scruples behind him. He closes out his bank account, liquidates his property, borrows from his friends, embezzles from his employer or his clients. In the mad frenzy of cheating someone else, he is unaware of the fact that he is the real victim, carefully selected and fatted for the kill. Thus arises the trite but none the less sage maxim: 'You can’t cheat an honest man.' ”
The amazing thing is how utterly stupid the "Christian psychotherapist" was -- and how astonishingly persistent the Nigerians were. If the ending of the article is any indication, by now they've found a way to contact the devout shrink in prison and he's busy raising more money to hand over to them.

1 comment:

pissed off patricia said...

Damn, imagine that. A christian doing something unlawful. Plus he appears to also be an idiot.