Paris Hilton Bilked by Nigerian Internet Scam

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HOLLYWOOD – Celebutant Paris Hilton has appeared before a grand jury again, this time to testify that she was bilked by a man calling himself Howgul Abul Arhu, who claimed to be an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

On Friday Ms. Hilton told a Los Angeles grand jury that even though she seldom has time to read all her e-mail, she read the one she had received from Mr. Arhu last fall “because the name sounded Greek.”

According to Mr. Arhu’s e-mail, he was writing to request Ms. Hilton’s assistance “to transfer the sum of $47.5 million into your accounts,” but before he could do so, he would need Ms. HIlton’s banker’s name, telephone, account and fax numbers, as well as her private telephone and fax numbers.

Ms. Hilton told the grand jury she had to go to “a lot of trouble” to obtain that information, but she had done so because she “felt sorry” for Mr. Arhu.”He said he was some kind of servant, I think,” said Ms. Hilton, “and that servants aren’t allowed to carry money in his country. That’s why he needed me to help him get the money out of the country. I decided to send him the name of my banker in the Netherlands because that sounds like it’s close to Nigerialand.”

The attorney questioning Ms. Hilton pointed out, “It’s Nigeria, and it’s in Africa.”

“Yeah. Wherever,” replied Ms. Hilton. “But the cool thing was he said the money was going to be shared 70 percent for his company, 25 percent for me, and 5 percent for the IRS or somebody. I figured it out, and 25 percent of $47.5 million comes out to, like, one third.”

When she was asked if she was curious about how Mr. Arhu had gotten her e-mail address, Ms. Hilton replied, “Don’t you read US Weekly? They reported last year that my cell computer thingie had been cracked by these, like, poor computer geeks. I think they’re called crackers, and they live in trailers. Since then I and all my friends have been getting lots of e-mails from crackers we don’t know.”

A spokesperson for Ms. Hilton told reporters that she hadn’t lost much money in the Nigeria scam because she had gone shopping shortly before sending Mr. Arhu the particulars about the account, and by the time he accessed the account, there was only $42.27 left in it.

In other news, President George W. Bush has sent several mining-safety officials to Otay Mesa, California, to study the 2,400-foot-long tunnel that runs from a warehouse there to a warehouse near the airport in Tijuana, Mexico.    

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