Nigerian scammer gets minimum four-year sentence

The Australian mastermind behind a global Internet fraud, more commonly known as the Nigerian or West African scam, was today sentenced to more than four years jail.

Nick Marinellis pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to 10 counts of fraud and one count of perverting the course of justice over the so-called Nigerian or West African scam.

The ruse fleeced victims of $5 million.

Judge Barry Mahoney sentenced Marinellis to five years and three months jail with a non-parole period of four years and four months. The sentence will be backdated to October last year when the 40-year-old was first taken into custody.

Judge Mahoney said a significant sentence was needed to deter others from committing similar offences.

"None of the matters are trivial and the modus operandi was complicated and devious," he said.

Marinellis will be eligible for release on February 28, 2008.

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