A Florida securities lawyer was sent to prison for 22 years Wednesday for cheating victims out of millions of dollars in a fraudulent advance-fee scheme. Attorney Delmer C. Gowing and co-defendant Emil Scheringer were convicted in September 2009 following a three-week trial before Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels. On Wednesday, Daniels ordered Gowing to forfeit $8.9 million and pay restitution to his victims.
According to prosecutors, starting in 1999, Scheringer pretended to be an owner and officer of companies that did oil business in Nigeria and claimed he owned “contracts” worth millions of dollars that he had purchased for little money or had been given him by the Nigerian government. He persuaded victims to provide payments that would be used to remove legal obstacles to obtaining funds from Nigeria and vowed to quickly double or triple their investments.
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