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Alert 2000-2 | March 10, 2000

Suspicious Transactions: Illegal Expatriation of Funds Schemes: Ghana, Nigeria, Russia, etc.


Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (Districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and Examining Personnel

Something for nothing is still too good to pass up. Since the early 1990s, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued several warnings independently and in conjunction with the Government of Nigeria regarding fictitious schemes to illegally expatriate large sums of money. In addition to the OCC, numerous other regulatory, law enforcement, and private entities have continually issued similar warnings regarding schemes to involve citizens and companies in the United States and elsewhere in similar illegal money transfers. This same scheme has now been reported to have originated in many countries throughout the world.

The promoters of these schemes are asking you to actively help them commit a crime. They are saying that they are stealing money from their government or moving money already stolen from their government and they are asking you to become a criminal by participating in the crime. Further, in many cases you are asked to provide confidential information to the criminal about your depository account and to send them cash to perpetrate the crime.

These funds transfer requests are fictitious. They are being done by con artists and they are being sent by mail, Email, and fax. Regardless of from where or whom they originate, they are all fictitious and there are no funds waiting to be transferred.

The only purpose of these communications is to get you to disclose confidential details and wire transfer information about your deposit account, and to obtain up-front fees from you.

The basics of the scheme have not changed, only the package in which it is delivered has been modified. The promise of large rewards for no work will be followed by a request for money to pay transfer taxes, wire charges, or other fees that prevent them from sending you the money, or to permit the funds to clear through some other foreign country. On the other hand, if you have provided them with enough account information, they will just transfer all the money from your account, and any other accounts linked to the primary account.

For more information, please access the United States Secret Service's Internet page at:, and scroll down to the "Public Awareness Advisory 4-1-9 Fraud" connection, or look under "Investigations, Advance Fee Fraud Advisory Information."

Any information which you may have concerning these matters should be brought to the attention of:

Mail: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Enforcement & Compliance Division,
250 E Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20219
Fax: (202) 874-5301

Daniel P. Stipano
Enforcement & Compliance Division