Country-wide business scam hits U

by Jim Martyka

A University instructor reported receiving a letter from a Nigerian doctor soliciting money for a supposed business partnership.
The letter, signed by Dr. Jeff Bada from Lagos, Nigeria, read, “We are top officials of the Federal Government Contract Review Panel who are interested in the importation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in Nigeria.”
The letter then asked that University professor Richard Purple assist in transferring $21,320,000 into his bank account by sending his banker’s name and address, his account number and fax number. Purple decided against making the transaction and instead reported the letter to University Police.
Accounts of these business scams have appeared throughout the country for at least two years.
“It’s a scam,” said Purple, professor of physiology. “I just wanted them to be aware of it.”
He said the letter has been received by people throughout the country. His son heard about it while watching television.
Purple said he originally considered sending a faxed message back to Nigeria offering to open the corporation for them if they would send him a $23 million certificate of deposit.
“I’d set up the corporation and call it When Pigs Fly, O-I-N-K,'” he said.
Instead, he notified University police so they could alert any future recipients of the letter.
“I find it kind of funny myself,” he said. “I don’t know how anyone could fall for it.”
The incident capped off a bad crime week for Purple and his family. Earlier in the week, his wife’s purse was stolen from her car, and Purple’s locked automobile was stolen from in front of his house near Loring Park.

Police also answered calls in response to several other incidents this week:
ù Minneapolis police responded to a report of a car accident on University Avenue in Dinkytown involving two University students and a drunk driver.
Neither student was hurt in the collision that started when Callie Rose Sommers, 24, hit the car belonging to one of the students while it was stopped at a red light. The car, which was instantly pushed forward, hit the other student crossing the road, causing her to roll up onto the hood of the car.
Police arrested the driver who made the initial impact and booked her at Hennepin County Jail. According to police records, this is the third drunk-driving offense in 10 years and the second offense in five years for the woman. She neither attends classes nor works for the University.
The students were taken to the Fairview University Medical Center where they were treated and released with no injuries.

ù Quick thinking by an officer in plainclothes caused the apprehension of a suspect wandering through Fairview-University Medical Center.
A member of the hospital’s security staff reported seeing someone acting suspicious in the building. When security approached him, Albert Lee Rean sprinted into the Mayo Building.
Rean, who had previously been issued a trespass warning and wasn’t supposed to be in a campus building, was recognized by Officer Dave St. Cyr.
Sgt. Joe May said Rean has been causing trouble on campus all 28 years May has been on the force.
“The first time I detained him was 1970 at Wilson Library,” he said. “He’s been around here as long as I have. I started coppin’ and he started stealin’.”
However, Rean never serves lengthy jail sentences because he never hurts anyone; nobody has ever caught him with his hands in the purse. May said that between University and Minneapolis police, 23 cases have been closed in which Rean has been the main suspect.
“These are just the ones we know about,” he added.