Welwyn Hatfield Council chief targeted in million dollar scam

PUBLISHED: 13:06 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:29 26 October 2009

Welwyn Hatfield Council chief executive Michel Saminaden

Welwyn Hatfield Council chief executive Michel Saminaden

WHEN council top dog Michel Saminaden received a letter telling him he d been left millions of dollars in a dead relative s will, he knew it was too good to be true. And it was. Mr Saminaden, chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Council, is now warning the

WHEN council top dog Michel Saminaden received a letter telling him he'd been left millions of dollars in a dead relative's will, he knew it was too good to be true.

And it was.

Mr Saminaden, chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Council, is now warning the borough's residents not to fall victim to similar scams.

He had received a headed letter from Cheng Yeung - a business relationship manager for the Guangdong Bank in China.

It said that in 2003, Andrew Saminaden, who has no family died and left $8.5m and Michel was the benefactor.

He was asked to keep the contents of the letter confidential.

Mr Saminaden said: "It just didn't add up.

"I do not have any relatives in China and I was immediately suspicious and contacted the police.

"I would urge anyone in Welwyn Hatfield receiving a letter like this to make sure it is authentic and not part with any cash."

Detective chief inspector Mike Marren said: "This is a well known fraud that has been around for years but perpetuates because the fraudsters still manage to achieve some success with this deception.

"It is a common story of a promise of a lottery win or, in this case, the death of someone sharing your family name.

"They tend to originate from West Africa but are also run from Spain. This is the first time I have seen one from China."

He said: "The goal for the fraudster is usually your account details, an 'administration' fee or both.

"The initial agreed funds will look they are being credited to your account but they will not clear and the person will have lost thousands of pounds.

"In extreme cases, people have re-mortgaged their house on the belief they would receive a large sum of money - but surprisingly were left empty-handed and in extreme cases, in debt.

Det chief insp Marren added: "The basic rule is, if it sounds like it's too good to be true, it probably is.


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