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The money could be in the form of gold bullion, gold dust, money in a bank account, blood diamonds, a series of checks or bank drafts, and so forth.
The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the investor is promised a large share, typically ten to forty percent, in return for assisting the fraudster to retrieve or expatriate the money.
He said he wanted to transfer million to the recipient’s bank account – money that was budgeted, but was never spent.
In that con, businessmen were contacted by an individual allegedly trying to smuggle someone that is connected to a wealthy family out of a prison in Spain.
The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which he cannot access directly, usually because he has no right to it.
Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist, could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader who has amassed a stolen fortune, a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives, or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash (leaving no will or known next of kin), and similar characters.
They refer to their targets as Magas, slang developed from a Yoruba word meaning "fool".
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.