Police arrest alleged ‘Nigerian prince’ email scammer accused of scamming thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims

Michael Neu, 67, of Slidell, La.

SLIDELL, La. — A man accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a Nigerian prince has been arrested in Louisiana.

Michael Neu, 67, of Slidell, La., faces 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering, according to the Slidell Police Department.

The scam was designed to con money from people by claiming in emails and phone calls that they were named the beneficiary in a will.

Personal information was needed to “prove” they are the beneficiary and to speed the transfer of the “inheritance.”

“Most people laugh at the thought of falling for such a fraud, but law enforcement officials report annual losses of millions of dollars to these schemes,” the police department said on Facebook.

Police said Neu is suspected to have been the “middle man” and participated in hundreds of financial transactions, involving phone and internet scams, designed to con money from victims across the United States.

Some of the money obtained by Neu was subsequently wired to co-conspirators in the Country of Nigeria, according to police.

Neu’s arrest came after an extensive 18-month investigation. Investigators said many leads have led to people outside the United States.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal. “Never give out personal information over the phone, through e-mail, cash checks for other individuals, or wire large amounts of money to someone you don’t know. 99.9 percent of the time, it’s a scam.”

Police said if someone calls claiming to be an official of a government agency, your local utility company, a law enforcement official, or anything similar, ask for a callback number and verify the person is legitimate.