Man sentenced to more than seven years in prison for African Craigslist scam

gavel judge moneyJACKSON — Federal prosecutors say James Lewis Johnson has been sentenced to 86 months in prison for his role in a Mississippi-based fraud that used stolen financial information to get money and goods and then ship them to South Africa and Nigeria.

Johnson was among several people indicted in the case earlier this year. He pleaded guilty in May to his involvement in the fraudulent scheme involving Craigslist postings.

Prosecutors said Johnson and the others would buy bank account information from hackers, steal money, and then send cash or goods to Africa.

They said Johnson, who had set up shop in Lauderdale County, printed the counterfeit postage, money orders and checks, mailed them, received money from the victims and forwarded the money to the primary operators in Nigeria by way of Western Union.

Prosecutors said over 590 wire transactions and over 100 mailings resulted in a total victim financial loss of more than $534,600.

Johnson, 61, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour Jr. in Jackson. Johnson was also ordered to pay restitution of in the amount of $107,926.

Prosecutors said investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been investigating the schemes since October 2011, when they were contacted by a Mississippi woman who had been a victim.

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