Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. The
short answer is that fraud is fraud (and more specifically, wire fraud
is wire fraud). Most states in the US have a provision in the law that
permit?s a person, in some cases, to commit an offense that would
otherwise be considered a prosecutable crime in an effort to prevent a
greater crime. This legal provision is often referred to as a ?lesser
of two evils? defense.
Unless you are committing an offense in order to prevent a greater
offense, the offense you commit is a prosecutable crime. Even if you
are trying to prevent a greater offense you can sometimes still be
prosecuted if it is determined that other non-criminal options (such
as involving the police) were available and the need to commit the
defensible crime was neither urgent nor live-saving. You must remember
too that under US law everyone is presumed innocent until PROVEN
guilty so, believe it or not, this ?scammer? you are referring to is
not legally a ?scammer? unless he has been convicted of some crime.
Consider this scenario: A burglar breaks into your home and steals
your goods. You find out where he lives but you decide not to involve
the police. Instead you make the decision to burglarize his home and
steal your belongings back. Assuming this occurs in a state where
lethal force in response to home invasion is authorized and considered
justifiable homicide (as it is in most states), the homeowner (the
burglar) catches you in his home and shoots you. Will he be prosecuted
for killing you in his home? No, probably not. Why? Because YOU, in
spite of your intentions, were a burglar YOURSELF. Now you are a dead
burglar. The original burglar (the guy who killed you) was never
convicted or even reported as a suspect in the original crime. He was
merely a citizen that was lawfully defending HIS home against unlawful
invasion. Not only would he likely walk away with your life but he?d
probably walk away will all your stuff too - because YOU took the law
into your own hands and never even reported it missing.
Your best course of action is to abandon this revenge scheme and
notify the authorities. Otherwise you place yourself at risk of
prosecution by the same authorities that are seeking to prosecute
those scammers. Failing to do so places you in jeopardy of prosecution
for wire fraud, postal crimes, counterfeiting a banking instrument,
extortion, conspiracy just to name a few and probably a host of other
crimes as well. Even if you were to beat the charges the criminal
defense against such an indictment would likely destroy your
reputation and ruin you financially. I think you will agree that it
isn?t worth it just for the sake of entertainment (or ill gotten gain
if the guy ?did? end up sending you money).
Honestly, they have the advantage since they are in an foreign
jurisdiction and not always subject to US laws. You, on the other
hand, do not enjoy such a position. To use another common example,
casinos commissions and state laws where gambling is legal, don?t care
if you are cheating a cheater. Cheating is cheating, and if you are
doing it you are one too and you will be prosecuted.
If you are determined to entertain yourself at some 419 scammer?s
expense, you might consider getting involved with other ?scambaiters?
(a term coined to describe people who seek to circumvent scammers by
giving them a dose of their own medicine such as directing the same
types of email responses, back at them). One such group is 419 EATER.
Other scambaiting sites and organizations are listed here:
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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Lesser of two evils