The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced yesterday that three people had pleaded guilty to charges related to spam email that promised victims millions of dollars from an estate and a lottery.

The defendants sent emails purporting to be from an individual suffering from terminal throat cancer who needed assistance distributing around £27 million to charity, the DoJ said.

The three defendants, two from Nigeria and one from Senegal, sent spam email to thousands of potential victims, in which they falsely claimed to control millions of dollars located abroad, the DoJ said in a press release. The fraud victims lost $1.2 million by giving the defendants advance fees, the DoJ said.

Pleading guilty in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York were Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, whose aliases include Yellowman, Abdul Rahman, Michael Anderson, Edmund Walter, Nancy White, Jiggaman and Namo, age 31, of Nigeria; Anthony Friday Ehis, also known as John J Smith, Toni N Amokwu and Mr T, age 34, of Senegal; and Kesandu Egwuonwu, also known as KeKe, Joey Martin Maxwell, David Mark and Helmut Schkinger, age 35, of Nigeria.

Anisiobi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Ehis pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and five counts of wire fraud. Egwuonwu pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

The maximum penalty for mail and wire fraud is 20 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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