A Blaine man was one of two Whatcom County residents arrested Friday on suspicion of running an internet scam often associated with Nigeria.
Federal authorities arrested Scott Stuart, 50, of Kickerville Road, along with Wayne Sewell, 32, of Ferndale, for allegedly scamming individuals out of more than $3.2 million for funds they claimed they needed to access a fake $30 million inheritance.
According to charging documents filed with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Seattle, Stuart convinced various people across the country to send him more than $3.2 million to an account at Whatcom Educational Credit Union in Bellingham so he could claim an alleged inheritance from a bank in Canada. Stuart claimed his father made millions constructing an oil pipeline in Nigeria but died before the money could be moved to the United States.
He told would-be investors if they provided enough money to pay the taxes, he would be able to access the money and that they would get a large return on their investment.
Sewell assisted Stuart by collecting more than $150,000 wired by investors to him on Stuart’s behalf.
Court records indicate that dozens of individuals in several states sent funds ranging from $500 to $45,100 to his account beginning in September of 2003.
The men appeared in federal court in Seattle this week on conspiracy charges, which are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.