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President's “whine” inspired Nigerian 419 spoof

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We wondered who could be the author of the witty Nigerian spam scam parody.

It features the "SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH", who solicits a transfer of funds which can be yours if you lodge a deposit via the "INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF AMERICA" by "THE FIFTEENTH(15TH) OF APRIL".

(For our overseas readers, that's tax return day).

Step forward, Professor Zoltan Grossman, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, and a veteran environment and peace campaigner.

Grossman debuted the spoof on the Madison Indymedia board a a week ago.

What in particular inspired the connection, we asked?

"I had actually toyed with the idea last year during the Enron scandal," Grossman told us. "But it didn't quite work."

"His tone of desperate whininess around Iraq sounded so much like a scam letter that I couldn't pass it up this time."

Advance Fee fraud, as it's known, is an old scam predates the commercial use of the Internet. (The name 419 refers to the section of Nigerian criminal code.) Sending solicitations by email to strangers might seem a desperate form of the con, but an accountant for a Michigan law firm actually fell for it, embezzling $2.1 million of the law firm's money as a deposit.®

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