Given the now-cliched form of e-mail fraud known as "The Nigerian Prince" -- someone claiming to be African royalty sends you a message out of the blue offering to entrust you with a fortune in exchange for some personal information, such as your bank account number -- it seems odd that a Nigerian publication would chose to print a list of famous international con artists.
Well, the humor in the situation is not lost on Nigeria's Eagle En Style magazine, which recently published a story under the headline, "List of 'World's Notable Fraudsters' (Note: Not a Single Nigerian on It."
Aside from this charming self-deprecation, we paid attention to the list because it includes Pearlasia Gamboa, the Redwood City woman, profiled in a July 2011 SF Weekly cover story, who federal and state authorities say has been involved in what are surely some of the most bizarre scams in recent history.
As we reported, Gamboa is the former president of the Dominion of Melchizedek, a fictitious South Pacific island that authorities say was designed as a sort of mothership for con artists, providing phony documentation such as banking licenses and passports. She was also targeted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly selling shares in a fake gold mine in the Philippines.
As Eagle En Style noted,
Pearlasia Gamboa, president of the micronation of Melchizedek, hundreds of aliases; in 2002, one of Gamboa's banking and investor fraud schemes was described by the Italian newspaper La Republica as "one of the most diabolical international scams ever devised in recent years", and in 2000, the Asia Times described Gamboa's operations as "an astonishing series of worldwide swindles.