OLYMPIA WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN CONNECTION WITH “NIGERIAN CHECK” SCAM
Defendant Drawn in to Criminal Conspiracy by Man She Met on Internet
EDNA FIEDLER, 44, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty March 14, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Conspiracy to Commit Bank, Wire and Mail Fraud. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on June 20, 2008, FIEDLER faces up to 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and five years of supervised release.
According to records filed in the case, FIEDLER was contacted via email by a man she met on a the Internet. In November 2007, that person shipped counterfeit checks and money orders from Lagos, Nigeria to FIEDLER. These documents were made to appear as though they were legitimate Walmart Money Orders, and Bank of America and United States Postal Service Checks, and American Express Travelers Checks. The co-conspirator in Nigeria sent emails telling FIEDLER how to fill out the checks and where to ship them. FIEDLER filled out and shipped to other people in the United States $609,000 in phony checks and money orders. Those people were to cash them and return a portion of the proceeds to FIEDLER or the person in Nigeria. Those who got the checks may not have realized they were fake, and thought they were assisting someone overseas. Instead, once the checks were found to be phony, those who cashed them were on the hook for the full amount, including what had been sent to FIEDLER or the co-conspirator in Nigeria.
FIEDLER had filled out an additional $1,109,024 in phony checks and money orders that she was preparing to send out when agents executed a search warrant on her residence. FIEDLER was arrested December 18, 2007.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.