Summary of the book
Dr. Hassan Abel-Hadi Mashaal is conned by one of the yahoo boys with a fake name of Miss Linda Morgan. Miss Linda convinces the doctor that she has $10.5 million which she wishes to transfer to Dr. Mashaal’s account. Miss Linda uses the trick of a family road accident where she was the only survivor with only months to live. In a series of email exchanges, Miss Linda quickly wins the trust of Dr. Marshaal and actually gets his personal details including the Swizz bank account number. In the email exchanges, Dr. Marshaal becomes a victim of online fraud since he quickly trusts Miss Linda without taking time to establish the factuality of her claims (Chambers-Glenn 29).
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In an interesting twist, Miss Linda actually claims that the transfer is to be done from Ghana since her family demised there on their way to buy gold. Miss Linda cunningly even encourages the unknowing doctor to use the imaginary funds in the most appropriate way to positively touch the lives of many people. Being a medical doctor who has extensively worked in Africa and the Middle East, Dr. Mashaal saw the proposal by Miss Linda as an opportunity of expanding his humanitarian activities in Africa and across the world. Surprisingly, Dr. Mashaal quickly jumps into the deal hoping that it is genuine, and from a philanthropist who has a death wish of changing humanity through a donation to a tune of more than $10 million (Chambers-Glenn 43).
Miss Linda even promises Dr. Mashaal 40% of the total amount for personal use in two response emails. In an interesting development, Miss Linda introduces another imaginary scammer called Barrister Adams Smith who was to facilitate the transfer and act as the contact person between Miss Linda and Dr. Mashaal. Barrister Adams Smith took the scamming game to new levels by sending Dr. Mashaal an email requesting his passport and private telephone number.
Having established a trusted online relationship with Adams Smith, Dr. Mashaal complied quickly and he is requested to deposit $8,400 as processing fees. In between conversations on how to obtain this money, Miss Linda ‘kicked the bucket’ as was alleged by Barrister Adams Smith. The lawyer then proceeded to forward an email to Dr. Mashaal requesting for payment of $8,400 service fees before the money is transferred (Chambers-Glenn 90).
In a concerned tone, Dr. Mashaal complains to his Swizz private banker called Nicholas to expedite the imaginary transfer. In an interesting turn, an imaginary Dr. Vivian Kamara is brought into the picture as the coordinator of transfer in the European location. Dr. Mashaal even sent $5,000 to Adams Smith but nothing seemed to be working since the transfer process was stagnant. After several emails to Dr. Mashaal, he takes a loan from one of the banks in Germany and sends another $25, 000 to Barrister Adams Smith as the transfer fees for the first $1 million to be transferred.
The so-called Adams Smith mysteriously dies in a road accident after two weeks of denying reception of the said amount. Several other fraudster names appear in the transaction scene with Dr. Mashaal paying a total of $35, 000 to the scammers without receiving even a single cent of what was supposed to be an inheritance from Miss Linda worth more than $10 million (Chambers-Glenn 150).
In this scam, the perpetrator was determined by the law courts as Toluwalade Alonge Owolabi who pleaded guilty of scamming Dr. Mashaal for over $35, 000. Dr. Mashaal died in 2009 and the culprit was deported back to Ghana after serving his 30 months jail time. Despite a series of doubtful conceptions in the mind of Dr. Mashaal, he was a culprit of an organized online scam perpetrated by one of the yahoo boys from Ghana. All the characters were imaginary apart from Dr. Mashaal, the investigating officers, the narrator, and the German bank correspondents (Chambers-Glenn 250).
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Key learning: Business ethics, corruption, and international business
The ethical dilemmas identified in the book are conspiracy, fraud, and false statements that have negatively affect parties such as Dr. Mashaal. Based on the code of ethics, the scam parties are expected to exercise integrity when reporting accurate information to Dr. Mashaal. Moreover, good moral ethics define objectivity and motivation in maintaining trust in interaction. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Miss Linda-Dr. Mashaal situation. The bounded scam tends to justify unethical behaviors as stimulated by psychological tendencies and immoral pressure within the relationship between the scammer and the naïve doctor (Sinclair 13).
In relation to the above dilemmas, the bounded scam applies to the psychological tendency of the conspirators to fulfill selfish interests of self-enrichment at the expense of the unsuspecting persons, irrespective of their connection of position in the society. Specifically, due to their top hierarchy in the authority ladder and imaginary trust in one Barrister Adams Smith, Dr. Mashaal succumbed to incentives of free donation and deviated from discipline, responsibility, and sincerity when interacting with unknown persons (Sinclair 31).
Scamming is characterized by inflating the asset values, overstating the reported assets, and eliminating the liabilities of the financial records as was cleverly achieved by one Barrister Adams Smith. These events may make the victim go bankrupt. Dr, Mashaal’s scamming scandal resulted in a massive loss that had never been experienced by a responsible citizen of his status. First, he lost several thousands of dollars as a result of transactions with clever scammers from Nigeria.
Secondly, the doctor incurred hefty losses in terms of time and energy assets from these international scammers. Despite the clear broken lines at the beginning of the false transaction, Dr. Mashaal was persuaded by the possible gain and the impact this fortune would leave in poor countries. The good doctor did not consider consulting any of his financial advisers to establish if what he was supposed to get into is real and meet the international money transfer and trade codes. The element of secrecy resulted in a complete loss of $32,000 and energy in following up the scammers (Chambers-Glenn 210).
A number of analyses can be carried for the Miss Linda-Dr. Mashaal’s scandal. This can be attributed to the fact that it impacts heavily on the elements of international financial transfer codes. The analyses may revolve around the causes and effects of the scandal. For instance, analysis carried out by the German Federal aimed at improving the accounting and auditing profession and also to mitigate the risk to which unsuspecting fraud victims may be exposed to.
Thus, the punishment by the German law enforcement system on the fraudster was appropriate considering the complexity and the long period of the scandal. Basically, ethics denote a set of laws or moral systems that provide a basis for discerning whether an action is correct or erroneous. Therefore, members of a profession can come up with ethical principles that guide them when carrying out their duties. From this scandal, there is an important lesson to those who participate in international money transfers on the basis of non-confirmation (Sinclair 42).
The five common ethical principles are “independence, integrity, responsibilities and practices, competence and technical standards, responsibilities to clients, responsibilities to colleagues, and other responsibilities and practices” (Sinclair 46). Since the fraudster was aware of this provision, the punishment was right in checking negligence and irresponsible business practices. From the case, it is evident that the scammer used information that was not known by the victim and the entire public to obtain undue benefits. In his actions, there is an outright breach of the professional ethical code of conduct such as integrity, confidentiality, professional due care, and professional behavior.
This calls for even harsher punishment than that which was imposed by the German legal system. The crime committed by the imaginary Miss Linda, Barrister Smith, and others can be categorized into five ethical dilemmas. These are conspiracy, false statements, and fraud. Based on the code of ethics, it is clear that the scammer breached all the ethical principles in international funds transfer. Further, the scammers lacked objectivity. They deviated from the main goal of the legal international transfer of funds and failed to take into consideration the victim’s interests (Hill, Tim, and McKaig 18).
Conclusion and Rationale
Business ethics are moral obligations that parties in a genuine transaction should follow in doing business activities. Good business ethics define objectivity and motivation in maintaining trust in transactions. In order to promote the ideals of positive business ethics, it is vital to develop a good authenticity tracking system by fostering a strong alignment on the set path of achieving goals, missions, and vision. This is achievable through adhering to the written rules of engagement, expected behavior, and accepting the repercussions for deviation (Hill, Tim, and McKaig 25). These aspects are not clear in Miss Linda-Dr. Mashaal scam.
Therefore, healthy communication ethics that recognizes and where necessary, supports proactive consultation and interaction should be encouraged to ensure that innocent citizens do not fall victim to such fraudulent activities As a matter of fact, Dr. Mashaal was in a position to consult his bank before releasing any funds besides seeking the opinion of his financial advisers. As a result, he ended up in the trap of a smart scammer.
The main aim of ethical education is to create a sagacity of moral responsibility of the general public at the earliest time possible before they become a party to questionable transactions and deals. Further, ethics education enables the public to have knowledge on how to handle ethical dilemmas that they may face when carrying out funds transfer (Hill, Tim, and McKaig 30).
The bounded ethicality tends to justify unethical behaviors as stimulated by psychological tendencies and organizational pressure. In relation to the above dilemma, the bounded ethicality applies to the psychological tendency of the scammer to fulfill the selfish interests of self-enrichment at the expense of the unsuspecting Dr. Mashaal. Specifically, due to his assumption of invisibility and a trusting victim, the scammer succumbed to incentives of power and deviated from discipline, responsibility, and sincerity in international transactions through a series of falsehood concoctions (Hill, Tim, and McKaig 39).
Chambers-Glenn, Agnes. Double Deceit: A True Story of a Nigerian Scam, Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2013. Print.
Hill, Charles, Richardson Tim, and Thomas McKaig. Global Business Today, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Limited, 2006. Print.
Sinclair, Michael. Fear and Self-Loathing in the City: A Guide to Keeping Sane in the Square Mile, London: Karnac Books, 2010. Print.
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