Nigerians 1, Michael Axel 0
Apparently, Mr Michael Axel - formerly of the New York City stock brokerage Tripp & Company - is not a reader of Pink Slip. If he had been, he might have been aware of the Nigerian e-mail scams.
Although as it stands, the Nigerian e-mail scam is only a small part of the trouble that Mr. Michael Axel has fallen into.
A recent New York Times article reported that Mr. Axel has been charged with bilking his brokerage customers out of $60oK. At 68, he could be looking at 15 years in the slammer if convicted- plenty of time to think about the folly of bilking his brokerage customers out of $600K. And plenty of time to think about the folly of getting sucked into to a Nigerian Internet scam.
Mr. Axel - who has pleaded not guilty - is alleged to have cut checks from client accounts. Those clients included a school teacher who lost $150K (which I'm guessing is a pretty healthy proportion of a school teacher's portfolio); a 90 year old who'd just moved into assisted living when $400K was ripped out of her account; and a couple of other elderly victims.
Well, never kid a kidder. Or is it, you'd can't sucker an honest man with a get-rich-quick scam.
In any case, the NY prosecutors claim that Mr. Axel was himself a victim of sorts.
In 2005, officials said, Mr. Axel received an e-mail message from someone claiming to be a lawyer for a distant relative who had died and left Mr. Axel $8,750,000. In fact, the money didn’t exist and the e-mail message was part of a common fraud scheme.
But prosecutors said Mr. Axel wired overseas more than $400,000 of the stolen money, “apparently believing that the money would aid in the release of the supposed inheritance.”
Truly, who would believe that some long lost overseas relative had left him nearly $9M? Wouldn't you check this out a bit before wiring off the $400K needed to "aid in the release of the supposed inheritance"?
The brokerage firm has made good on the stolen money; and Mr. Axel has made partial restitution to his former employee.
Stealing from your clients is one thing. It's certainly not a very good one thing, but it is one thing.
But wouldn't you think that a 68 year old NYC stock broker would be savvy enough not to get sucked into a Nigerian Internet scam?