From the March 15 Order of Sr. U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty (D. Minn.), it appears that Plaintiff Andrew Vilenchik (and a business, Community Finance Group) was the victim of a somewhat more elaborate scam than the widely known email “419 scam.” The Kenya Gold scam apparently perpetrated on Vilenchik appears to have included an actual trip to Kenya, an actual inspection of real gold, and, unfortunately for Vilenchik, a $350,000 bank wire transfer. (And, of course, no delivery of gold.)
Most unsettling, perhaps, for Vilenchik was the appearance of Kenya government involvement. That is, there was a Kenya Dept. of Customs official at the gold inspection along with “Kenya administrative police.” These signs of legitimacy of the transaction, however, appear to have been misleading. Vilenchik surely faced an uphill battle in trying to sue Kenya in a federal court in Minneapolis. On the other hand, plaintiff had arguments that certain exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applied, but Judge Doty did not buy them.