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How investigations led to arrest of seven Nigerians for fraud in the US

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Seven Nigerians and two others have been arrested for allegedly defrauding businesses and individuals of more than $3.5 million through business email compromises, a Russian oil scam, and a romance scam, a United States Justice Department’s statement showed.

The names of the arrested persons published on the website of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on Thursday, showed that seven of the nine persons have names that of Nigerian origin names.

Two other persons named in the statement – Bryan Eadie and Albert Lucas – cannot be readily identified as Nigerians. However, some Nigerian media reports say all the suspected fraudsters are Nigerians. This is in spite of the investigators not identifying their nationalities.

Other suspects are named as Oluwaseun Adelekan, 36; Olalekan Daramola, 35; Solomon Aburekhanlen, 32; Gbenga Oyeneyin, 32; Abiola Olajumoke, 46; Temitope Omotayo, 36; 29; and Ademola Adebogun, 38.

The arrests were announced by Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James C. Spero, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa, Florida, Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

American authorities said the investigations that to the arrest of the nine persons covered the present year and 2016 when the suspects began “a scheme to defraud businesses and individuals through several categories of false and misleading representations.”

“From at least in or about July 2016, up to and including the present, OLUWASEUN ADELEKAN, a/k/a “Sean Adelekan,” OLALEKAN DARAMOLA, SOLOMON ABUREKHANLEN, GBENGA OYENEYIN, ABIOLA OLAJUMOKE, TEMITOPE OMOTAYO, BRYAN EADIE, ALBERT LUCAS, and ADEMOLA ADEBOGUN, the defendants, a co-conspirator not named as a defendant herein (“CC-1”), and others known and unknown, participated in a scheme to defraud businesses and individuals (the “Victims”) by using false and misleading representations and omissions to induce the Victims to wire a total of more than 53.5 million to the defendants and other members of the scheme,” the indictment reads.

While Aburekhanlen was arrested on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in the Bronx, New York, and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman on Thursday, April 26, 2019, Adelekan, Omotayo, Lucas, Eadie, and Adebogun were arrested on Thursday, April 26, 2019 in New York and was presented on before Judge Pitman on the same day.

Olajumoke and Oyeneyin were also arrested on Thursday, April 26, 2019, in Florida and was scheduled to be presented in the Southern District of Florida later on the same day. Daramola was arrested on Thursday, April 26, 2019 in Texas and was presented in the Western District of Texas on the same day.

The suspects were all charged with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud.

The statement indicated that victims of their frauds were asked to wire payments to bank accounts opened and maintained by the nine defendants in the name of an inactive company.

While Adelakan purportedly created a “Trading Company” around July 2016 and used it to open at least one bank account in the Bronx, New York, Daramola purportedly created a fake company used it to “open at least two bank accounts” into which proceeds of the fraud were sent.

An “Environmental Company” was also purportedly created by Aburekhanlen in “in or about December 2016” which he used to open at least one bank account in Yonkers, New York.

Olajumoke also opened a “fake” company in 2017 with the help of Oyeneyin and they both used it to at least one bank account into which proceeds from the fraud were wired and “were transferred to foreign bank accounts”

OMOTAYO opened a Services Company in or about May 2017 and used to open at least one bank account in the Bronx, New York. “Proceeds of the fraud were wired and out of which proceeds ‘were transferred to DARAMOLA via an account DARAMOLA opened under the name of Shell Company-1 (see { 3.b, supra);”

“A shell company (“Shell Company-3”), over which EADIE purported to have authority and control in or about April 2018 and used to open at least one bank account in the Bronx, New York, into which proceeds of the fraud were wired,”

“A shell company (“Global Company-1”), which LUCAS purported to create in or about November 2016 and used to open
at least one bank account into which proceeds of the fraud were wired;

“A shell company opened by CC-1 (“CC Shell Company-1”), which CC-1 purported to create in or about August 2017 and used to open at least one bank account in the Bronx, New York, into which proceeds of the fraud were wired.

“ADEBOGUN assisted CC-1 maintain cc Shell Company-1 by helping to provide CC-1, and instructing CC-1 to provide a bank, fraudulent invoices as a means of legitimizing CC Shell Company-1,” the indictment statement added.

Email messages were sent to victims to wire payment to those seemingly “legitimate business counterparties into bank accounts that were actually under the control of, and/or maintained by, Adelekan, Daramola, Aburekhanlen, Oyeneyin, Olajumoke, Omotayo, Eadie, Lucas, and Adebogun”

In another attempt, email messages and text messages were sent to “at least one victim offering an opportunity to invest in oil stored in Russian oil tank farms conditioned on that victim wiring upfront payments into bank accounts purportedly affiliated with the purported oil investment but actually opened by and under the control of Aburekhanlen, Olajumoke, and Oyeneyin (the “Russian Oil Scam”).”

“Sending email messages and text messages to at least one victim from an individual (or individuals) purporting to be a female with romantic intentions toward the victim requesting, further to establishing a romantic relationship, the wiring of payment into a bank account under the control of Omotayo (the “Romance Scam”).”

Each defendant faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

The state noted that charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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