Nine Nigerians have been arrested in the United States over allegations of fraud.
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Spero, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa, Florida, Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced this in a statement.
The suspects were 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.
They are Oluwaseun Adelekan, Olalekan Daramola, Solomon Aburekhanlen, Gbenga Oyeneyin, Abiola Olajumoke, Temitope Omotayo, Bryan Eadie, Albert Lucas, and Ademola Adebogun.
“As alleged, these defendants deployed three different email schemes to defraud their victims,” the statement said.
“The common denominator in all three schemes was the defendants’ alleged fleecing of their victims through fictitious online identities.
“The schemes allegedly earned the defendants $3.5 million – and also arrests on federal felony charges.”
The suspects were accused of participating in a scheme to defraud businesses and individuals through several categories of false and misleading representations.
These include sending victims email messages that appeared to be but were not, from legitimate business counterparties that included instructions to the victims to wire payment to those seemingly legitimate business counterparties into some bank accounts.
The accounts were said to be under the control of the defendants who were also accused of sending email messages and text messages to at least one victim, offering an opportunity to invest in oil stored in Russian oil tank farms.
They were alleged to have placed the victim on condition of 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.
According to the statement, the victims, in reliance on the misleading representations, transferred in excess of $3.5 million into bank accounts opened in the names of oil companies but maintained by the defendants.
The defendants were each charged in the indictment with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and they face a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.