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Two men charged with computer crimes, linked to larger scam

Most people have access to a computer nowadays and it is easy to connect with a stranger through the Internet. Everyone in Columbia, South Carolina should be cautious because he or she could end up as a front for Internet crimes.

Police arrested two men who allegedly stole more than $50,000 from a stranger's bank account to send money to a woman in South Carolina who claims to be a Dutch national. Police believe that they were part of a larger scam.

According to police, one of the men met her on a dating website and she expressed an interest in living with him, telling him to open a bank account so that he could send her money by wire transfer. However, because there is a limit on the amount of money that can be wired to a savings account, he asked his mother and a friend to each set up a checking account instead. After withdrawing $15,500, he purchased two money orders, which totaled $5,000, and sent it to a man named Kurt in North Carolina.

An employee at the bank alerted police because they were suspicious when his friend tried to withdraw $30,000 from his mother's account. According to the bank employee, she spoke with the person who had been transferring the money to the suspect's mother's account. The owner of the bank account where the money originated stated that his account had been hacked and that he did not know the mother or allow the bank transfer.

The two men are facing multiple charges for using a computer to defraud or embezzle.

Computer crimes, such as Internet crimes, are difficult to deal with in court because they are very technical. In this case, the men may not be aware of the full implications of the crime of which they are accused. Those that are convicted of these types of crimes are often subject to a prison sentence and substantial fines.

Source: Rio Grande Sun, "Two Men Busted For Stealing Money," Nov 21, 2013

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