Extradited Belgian man faces e-mail scam charges in Boston
A Belgian man was extradited from Morocco to the United States on Thursday to face charges in connection with an e-mail scam that allegedly swindled charities and law firms, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Aref Zokita Said, 36, was charged, in an indictment that was unsealed Friday, with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts.
Said was arrested in Morocco in April, but, after his extradition, only arrived in Boston Thursday night, according to that office. Authorities said he was detained after an initial appearance in federal court Friday.
Said and his co-conspirators are alleged to have defrauded law firms and nonprofits, including charities, in a scam where they would send the firms and nonprofits fake cashier’s checks, and then convince them to wire money to members of the scheme, according to the indictment.
Those behind the scam would give false assurances that the fake checks would cover the expense, but once the checks were discovered to be fake, the victims’ bank accounts were debited, and the victims were left with thousands of dollars in losses, according to the US attorney’s office.
If convicted, Said could face up to 20 years behind bars, three years of supervised release, and a fine, federal prosecutors said.