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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48210
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a friend who was left 2 gold bars in her fathers will.

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I have a friend who was left 2 gold bars in her fathers will. She collected them from a security company in Ghana.Put them in her luggage to fly home.Did not declare them to customs and did not know about the International law concerning movement of money from one country to another. She was arrested by customs at the Airport and had to go to court where she was fined £30.000 or face a jail sentence and lose her inheritance if she did not pay. I feel that the fine is a little over the top considering the deed she had done. Is this the normal figure for such an act and what can she do to correct it
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How do you know this friend of yours if you do not mind me asking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have been corresponding for the past 12 months and are hoping to marry when she comes to UK
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Have you been asked to help her pay this fine?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. but she knows I cannot afford to pay such a large amount of money so I am asking for advice on what to do
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is not a scammer if that is what is on your mind. She was born in Australia to a South African mother(white)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Lived in Durban ZA for the past 18 months
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have photo's of her know her home address and spoken to her regular on Yahoo messenger with web cam
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
are you still there
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am logging off I do not want to sit here all night waiting for an answer
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Sorry my connection dropped earlier. So how do you know she is not a scammer if you have never met her in person? I have dealt with fraud for many years and I can tell you this is about 99% a scam, unless you can give me some verifiable details that she is not....apart from what she has told you as of course she will say these things
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How can i check her out to see if she is a scammer or not what is the best way to go about it without alerting her
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If someone was caught taking gold bars in their luggage without declaring them what would be the approximate cash fine for such an act?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
The first important thing you should be aware of is that it is never possible to state with certainty whether someone you have met online is genuine or not unless you have actually met them in person. Therefore, there will inevitably be a degree of speculation involved.
With the anonymity of the internet, there has been a very significant increase in romance scams. The main way to identify such scams is not by tracing the person, which as mentioned would often be impossible, but by looking at the overall situation and identifying certain 'red flags'. The most common ones are:
1. You have met this person online, usually through a dating or social networking website, or via instant messaging.
2. They will usually be located in a different country to you.
3. They will strike a long-distance relationship with you, they are very pleasant and romantic, some even fall in love straight away. They may take time to gain your trust, although often the relationship progresses unnaturally fas and could often end up with plans of marriage even though you have never even met in person
4. Regardless of the nature of the relationship, they WILL eventually ask for money. The story you are facing has been used countless times before. The gold bars, the detention at the airport, the fines and penalties associated with it. I cannot even recount how many times I have heard this exact same story. However, the golden rule is that you should never send money to a stranger that you have originally met online, no matter what the reasons or who they say they are. In this case the sum is grossly exaggerated. Whilst smuggling gold is unlawful and will attract penalties, it is in the region of 17.5% of the value of the gold. So unless her two gold bars were worth £180,000, which I very much doubt, she will not have to pay such fines. Even if she got the amount right, you should never ever pay money to what is effectively a stranger, someone you have only met online and whose background you cannot uet verify as you have never met them in person.
5. Finally, they often request that the payment is made via some dubious money transfer method, with little or no fraud protection, such as Western Union, Moneygram, etc. These are also used because it makes tracing the recipients of the money very difficult, if not impossible.
If the above looks familiar, chances are that the person you are involved with is a fraudster and you need to proceed with extreme caution, if at all. I strongly suggest you cease all contact with the person and certainly not send anything to them.
It is easy to try and convince yourself that the person is genuine, based on how nice they have been in their communications and the promises they have made but that is the exact intention of a scammer. So if this person is genuine they should not ask for money and still find a way to get to you, if they keep demanding money for whatever reason, then I suggest you ignore these requests. In the end the money is yours so you can do whatever you want with it but you have been warned.
I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
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