Latest Nigerian email scam

… pretends to come from Blackwater employees in Iraq.

This one, instead of trading on the Nigerian government’s well-deserved reputation for corruption and lawlessness to make it plausible that there are tens millions of illicit dollars lying around, uses a different corrupt institution and locale:


Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. And let me start by para-phrasing the content of this message to your understanding, I work with Blackwater USA, a US Security Contractor in Iraq that provides security protection for

American diplomats.

Two months ago my team carried out a raid in a Shiite militia stronghold south of Baghdad,Iranian-made weapons were among a large cache of arms and ammunition found during the operations and amount totaling US$35 Million in cash believed intended for use to purchase more arms or to finance the militia activities to frustrate US rebuilding of Iraq goals.

3 of the Senior officers in my team which includes me, have agreed and decided to keep this amount to ourself, reason why i have contacted you to assist us transfer this amount out of Iraq, and after our time in Iraq in some months time, we shall come for the sharing of the


We are willing to offer you the sum of US$3.5M (10% of the total sum) if you could assist us, we hope to hear from you soon in this regard.

Laurie Zaleski

Blackwater USA LLC

Baghdad, Iraq

The return address is (And yes, it’s been reported to

It strikes me that if scam artists can simply assume that the recipients of their messages will know what “Blackwater” is and assume that people working for Blackwater are likely to be thieves, that represents some progress toward being able to make the mercenary problem a political issue. (For example, Erik Prince used to work for Dana Rohrbacher, who has at last drawn a serious Democratic challenger in the person of Debbie Cook, Mayor of Huntington Beach. Is that connection something Cook could use against Rohrbacher?)

Footnote Please don’t let this go any further, but just between you and me I’m going to pretend to cooperate with these crooks and then double-cross them by keeping the entire $35 million for myself.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: