Saturday, March 26, 2005

More Research on Nigerian Fraud Was Needed

Click here for AmazonEver wonder who falls for those idiotic "Nigerian scam" emails? How about a Harvard professor? Really. This is old news, but I'd never seen it before. Perhaps you missed it as well.

Apparently, Weldon Xu -- a researcher employed by Harvard -- was bright enough to scam $600,000 from coworkers... but stupid enough to lose it all to a classic Nigerian scam. Hmmm... Harvard professor, you say?

A Harvard researcher accused of conning $600,000 from coworkers lost it all to a Nigerian e-mail scam, the Boston Herald reported.

Weldong Xu's lawyer described his client as "a gullible guy" at Xu's trial for larceny in Roxbury, Mass., after entering a not guilty plea.

Xu, 38, until his arrest last week did cancer immunology and AIDS research for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was a professor at Harvard Medical School... Xu reportedly solicited the money from 35 people, saying it would go to research into SARS.

Police said Xu confessed there never was any plan to study severe acute respiratory syndrome and he "lied" to investors, including fellow researchers.

However, his lawyer Arnold Abelow claimed Xu had every intention of doing the research until the fateful e-mail arrived.

"He got sucked in," Abelow said.

When police asked where the money went, Xu allegedly told police he lost it to a Nigerian e-mail scam promising him a $50 million return on his investment.

"He fell for it," Abelow said.

Xu was ordered held on $600,000 cash bail, the newspaper said.

More Research on Nigerian Fraud Was Needed

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