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U.S. attorney, FBI open fraud charges against six Nigerians

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United States (U.S.) Attorney for Nebraska District, Joe Kelly and Special Agent in charge of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Omaha Field Office, Kristi K. Johnson, have opened fraud charges against six Nigerians.

They had been indicted for their involvement in Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes, which are sophisticated cyber crimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearinghouse transfers Victims of such schemes include individuals and businesses of various sizes in Nebraska and other states of the U.S.

The defendants were charged for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, punishable by 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, identity theft and access device fraud, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Those charged for violating the U.S. federal law, but still at large are, Richard Uzuh, Michael Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson.A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja yesterday disclosed that two related defendants- Adewale Aniyeloye and Onome Ijomone-had entered guilty pleas.

While Aniyeloye was sentenced in the Nebraska District to 96 months imprisonment for wire fraud, Ijomone got a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.Because of the BEC schemes in the unsealed indictment, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) had imposed financial sanctions on the six fugitives.

“As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property held by the individuals and subject to U.S. jurisdiction were blocked, while other persons were blocked from having financial transactions with them,” the statement added.

Kelly commended the FBI Omaha Field Office Cyber Task Force for its efforts and cautioned members of the public patronising rising scams, as even the elderly lose their accumulated life savings to large scale businesses by falling prey to BECs, romance, COVID and other frauds.

He advised that if members of the public have any information regarding the current whereabouts of the six fugitives, they should call law enforcement immediately.Johnson said, “The FBI is working to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target our businesses and our citizens. Today’s charges are another successful example of our commitment to working with our foreign colleagues abroad and we are sending a strong message to the criminals, who perpetrate the BEC schemes.”

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