Nigerian dating scam victims
The Slidell detectives said Neu told them he had gone from being a victim to at some point becoming the middle person to whom "Maria Mendez'' directed scam victims to send money.
"'Maria Mendez' would send thousands of emails a day to people through email, text message, chatrooms, and social media, in hopes of finding a victim,'' Slidell police said in a news release later Tuesday afternoon.
"If someone lost money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you can now file a claim to get your money back.
"The email's would consist of 'Nigerian Prince' scams, fraudulent IRS scams, reshipping scams, advance pay scams, etc.'' When someone would bite for the scam, Maria Mendez would direct them to wire Neu the money, police said.
From there, the detectives said Neu told them he would wire the money to people Nigeria and keep a cut for himself.
The police department's news release said the money was wired to "co-conspirators.'' The scammers use a "middle man'' to help conceal their identities and launder the money, police said.
The detectives said Neu was likely involved in several transactions per week.
"They send out thousands of these day, hoping someone will bite,'' said Slidell Detective Daniel Seuzeneau, a police department spokesman. "Most people laugh at the thought of falling for such a fraud, but law enforcement officials report annual losses of millions of dollars to these schemes," Slidell police said in the news release announcing Neu's arrest.