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What is a 419 scam?

Fraud is the act of acquiring something from someone through deceit. It is a material misrepresentation of fact that is known to be false by the person making the misrepresentation, and intends the misrepresentation will be acted upon out of ignorance about the falsification. A 419 scam is a type of fraud and involves paying an amount over cost for an item at an auction site, or an attempt to steal money from people based on the premise that the person will gain extra money if they advance a small amount.

If a 419 scam case was dismissed by a criminal court, can the bank still sue?

When a 419 scam case is dismissed by the criminal court, the bank would still have a civil claim (conversion, breach of contract, etc). The bank would then try to collect through a civil court. If they feel they have a valid claim, you will need to go to a civil trial to determine if you are liable or not. The burden of proof in a civil suit is not nearly as high as in a criminal suit.

In a case from Nigeria, would it be better to cooperate or refuse comment to Corporate Security?

Every citizen is morally and legally required to cooperate with corporate security and provide whatever information they later seek. That may include providing records, testifying, providing sworn affidavits, etc. However, each situation may not be simple and you may need legal counsel if your statements are likely to implicate you.

Can a victim of investment fraud/419 scam write off the money lost as either investment fraud or loss/theft?

The loss of a 419 scam victim is considered to be a personal casualty loss. You may deduct losses (subject to limitations) in the year in which you discover the loss. However, no deduction may be possible if the loss is subject to reimbursement or if there is a reasonable prospect of recovery. Further, you may only deduct property in which you have a tax basis. Thus, if the money you lost was part of pre-tax assets (i.e. you deducted the contribution to the 419 plan) you may not deduct the loss.

Will a British law office send a letter asking a person to send them money?

There are numerous 419 fraud scams out of Nigeria and other West African countries using fake British law offices. This could be a type of a 419 scam. If you are being asked to send money to anyone you don't know personally, then you should check with the Better Business Bureau or the FBI before doing anything. 

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