Victim Location 92101
Total money lost $2,394
Type of a scam Fake Check/Money Order
I applied for an ad on Craigslist looking for a personal assistant for an entrepreneur on 2/19/16. I received a response from Michael Rituder on 2/20/16, and was chosen for hire on 2/21/16. Additional contact was made via SMS text messages from 2/22/16-2/26/16. I received a check (Check no. 15918) in the mail on 2/26/16 from the Easley Housing Authority (103 Walace Dr, Easley, SC 29640) for $2,370 via USPS (tracking # 94***2***7, Priority Mail Express Flat Rate). Per text instructions, I was asked to deposit $400 into my account for payment, and to withdraw the remaining balance. I split the $1,970 equally and sent $969 plus fees to Peter Green and Guy Sani in Benin via Moneygram (transaction ref # 69533479 and 20320671). I was informed that the funds were picked up. I was contacted on 2/29/16 to carry out the same task. I received the same type of envelope (tracking # 94***2***7) with 2 checks (# 15932 & 15933) in the amount of $2,360 each. I attempted to deposit check #15932 via mobile banking and a hold was placed on my account instantly. I called my bank and was informed that there was a problem with the issuer’s funds. I was also told that the first check was returned and my personal funds were used to cover the negative balance. I attempted to make contact with Michael Rituder via SMS text messages, and he said the funds would clear and asked when I would be able to try again. At this point, I stopped everything on my end after speaking with my bank. The only contact I have received from Michael was him asking if any of the funds were available yet or when my account would no longer have a hold. The IP address for the e-mails didn’t locate to anywhere (2a00:1450:400c:c09::243). I did a back search on the gmail account and wasn’t able to find anything. When I used Spokeo to search [email protected], I got a hit. The address is tied to a Facebook account belonging to Sherifat Azeez who claims she is self employed and lives in Lagos, Nigeria.