News and Press Releases

Claimed He Needed ‘Investors’ to get Nigerian Inheritance Funds from Canada

July 16, 2010

In a wrinkle on a well known internet scam, a Blaine, Washington, man has been charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle, with scamming investors over a fake $30,000,000 inheritance. SCOTT ALAN STUART, 50, allegedly convinced various investors across the country to send him money so he could claim an inheritance from a bank in Canada. STUART represented to investors that his father had made millions constructing an oil pipeline in Nigeria. STUART claimed that his inheritance from his father was in a bank in Canada, and that if investors provided enough money to pay the taxes, he would be able to access the $30,000,000, and investors would get a large return on their investment. The indictment alleges there was no inheritance or Canadian bank account. STUART collected more than $3.2 million from investors across the country.

A second man, WAYNE CHARLES SEWELL, 32, of Ferndale, Washington, is charged as part of the conspiracy. According to the indictment, SEWELL assisted STUART by collecting more than $150,000 wired by investors to SEWELL, on STUART’s behalf. STUART shared the ill-gotten gains with SEWELL. Several investors sent as much as $100,000 to the pair. Various investors convinced their friends to participate as well, believing that if STUART had just a bit more money, he would be able to access the large inheritance.

STUART and SEWELL are expected to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle next week.

Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Wire Fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 fine. Filing a false tax return is punishable by up to three years in prison, and willful failure to file a tax return is punishable by up to one year in prison.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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