FBI seizes tsunami email scammer

The FBI arrested a man last Thursday for an email scam claiming to be raising funds for tsunami victims on behalf of the humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps

Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Schmieder of Pittsburgh sent out more than 800,000 emails asking for money to be donated into a PayPal account for the charity, and used images and logos from Mercy Corps to give the emails the impression of legitimacy.

Mercy Corps contacted the FBI after receiving a number of complaints about the email and said that the account Schmeider was using only held about $150.

According to court documents, the unemployed painter claimed he intended to use the money to pay bills and repair a car, but intended to pass some of the money on to charities aiding tsunami victims.  Schmeider was charged with fraud and released on $25,000 bail. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing next week.

He is the first American to be arrested for a tsunami scam.

However, according to some reports there are more than 100 such scams taking advantage of the tsunami disaster. MessageLabs says that these range from direct appeals that claim to be on behalf of organisations, such as the disasters emergency committee, to variants of the 419 scam, either seeking donations directly, or where an email is sent purporting to come from a survivor looking to move sums of money out of the region and seeking an account in which to place them.


So apparently this guy intended to pass ‘some’ of the money on to charities, we really hope he didn’t expect any sympathy votes from this statement.  This guy is just as sick as Christopher Pierson (previous Tsunami hoax emails)  A hoax is obviously bad enough but using the disaster for personal gain is disgusting in our opinion.

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