The United States of America has arrested 74 people, 30 of whom are Nigerians, as part of the effort to combat email scam artists.
Those arrested consist of people who convince correspondents to wire them money for fraudulent activities, BBC reports. The US said such scams are prevalent and pledged to pursue perpetrators “regardless of where they are located”.
Following an investigation led by the FBI with the assistance of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Gloria Okolie and Paul Aisosa, two Nigerians residing in Dallas, Texas, were charged in an indictment filed on June 6. According to the indictment, they are alleged to have victimized a real estate closing attorney by sending the lawyer a spoofing email posing as the seller and requesting that proceeds of a real estate sale, which amounts to $246,000, be wired to Okolie’s account. The attorney reportedly experienced $130,000 in losses after the bank was notified of the fraud and froze $116,000.
Okolie and Aisosa were charged with laundering approximately $665,000 in illicit funds. Other Nigerians arrested include; Adeyemi Odufuye aka “Micky,” “Micky Bricks,” “Yemi,” “GMB,” “Bawz” and “Jefe,” 32, and Stanley Hugochukwu Nwoke, aka Stanley Banks,” “Banks,” “Hugo Banks,” “Banky,” and “Jose Calderon.
Their victims were said to have lost approximately $2.6 million, including at least $440,000 in actual losses to one victim in Connecticut.
They were charged with a seven-count indictment in the District of Connecticut.
A third co-conspirator Olumuyiwa Yahtrip Adejumo, aka “Ade,” “Slimwaco,” “Waco,” “Waco Jamon,” “Hade,” and “Hadey,” 32, of Toledo, Ohio, pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The US department of justice said Odufuye was extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States and on January 3, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Nwoke was extradited to the United States from Mauritius on May 25, marking the first extradition in over 15 years from Mauritius. His case is pending.
Richard Emem Jackson, aka Auwire, 23, of Lagos, Nigeria, was charged in an indictment filed on May 17 in the District of Massachusetts with two counts of unlawful possession of a means of identification as part of a larger fraud scheme. According to the indictment, on two occasions in 2017, Jackson is alleged to have possessed the identifications of two victims with the intent to commit wire fraud conspiracy.
Authorities said they have seized, recovered or disrupted more than $16m (£12m) since January. The US said arrests occurred in the US, Nigeria, Canada, Mauritius, and Poland.