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US cracks down on some Nigerians over ‘$30m cyber fraud’

Author:
Taiwo Adebulu

Some Nigerians have been arrested in connection with a $30 million money laundering scheme in the United States.

In a statement, the US department of justice said federal agents arrested 24 suspects for their involvement in the large-scale fraud which targeted citizens, corporations, and financial institutions throughout the country.

The suspects, who were said to have perpetrated the crimes through business email compromise, aggravated identity theft and bank fraud, reportedly duped many US citizens.

Some of the Nigerians arrested and charged to a federal court in Atlanta are:

  • Blessing Oluwatimilehin Ojo
  • Afeez Olaide Adeniran
  • Matthan Bolaji Ibidapo
  • Obinna Nwosu
  • Benjamin Ibukunoluwa Oye
  • Christopher Akinwande Awonuga
  • Ahamefule Aso Odus
  • Paul Chinonso Anyanwu
  • Chineda Obilom Nwakadu
  • Chukwukadibia Ikechukwu Nnadozie
  • Uchechi Chidimma Odus
  • John Ifeoluwa Onimole
  • Oluwafunmilade Onamuti

“Afeez Olaide Adeniran and Blessing Ojo are also charged with wire fraud. Adeniran allegedly defrauded a home buyer of $40,000 intended for a real estate transaction,” the department said.

The indictment alleges that due to a computer intrusion and false invoicing scam, Ojo caused a media company in California to send payments totalling $89,140 to a bank account controlled by one of the defendants. In total, the victim sent $646,840, as a result of the fraud.”

Byung J. Pak, a US attorney, said the fraud schemes targeted the elderly and often deplete the victims’ entire life savings.

“No one deserves to have their hard-earned money stolen from them, so identifying and arresting these defendants makes everyone in the community safer. Foreign nationals arrested in this scheme will be placed into removal proceedings upon completion of their criminal sentence,” said Robert Hammer, acting special agent who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama.

Byung J, an attorney said: “Fraud schemes, like the ones perpetrated and facilitated by these defendants, inflict considerable losses on citizens, companies, and the financial system.

“Some of these schemes target the elderly and often deplete the victims’ entire life savings. These arrests affirm the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens.”

Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, thanked “numerous federal, state and local law enforcement partners who helped make these arrests possible”.

“There is no way we can make the victims of these schemes, many who have lost their life savings, whole again. Hopefully the arrests and pending prosecutions will at least give them solace that someone is being held accountable for their losses,” he said.

Last year, FBI released a list of 80 suspects arrested over alleged cyber fraud. 77 of those on the list are Nigerians.

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