For their alleged involvement in frauds worth over $6million, the United States has indicted six Nigerians.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FIB) named the suspects as Richard Uzuh, Micheal Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Nnamdi Benson, and Abiola Kayode.
In a statement on its website, the US Department of State said the six persons “manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources”.
It said they targeted American businesses and individuals using “business email compromise and romance fraud” while impersonating American business executives, requesting and receiving wire transfers from their accounts.
The Department of State explained they specifically targeted women, especially those who just lost a spouse, deceiving them with affection through calls and constant chats until they gain their trust and swindle their unsuspecting victims.
US Department of Justice declared that “all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of US persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them”.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, warned: “The U.S. will not tolerate such gross misuse of technology. The United States will use all of the tools at our disposal to defend the American people and businesses from malign actors that seek to target them, including cyber-enabled actors who prey on vulnerable Americans and businesses.”
1. Richard Uzuh, m, born April 29, 1986; Passport no, A05284868
According to the US Department of Treasury Office, Uzoh was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having engaged in fraudulent cyber-enabled activities.
From early 2015 to September 2016, Uzuh and an accomplice sent emails to victims appearing as though they were coming from a company’s true business executive and would request and receive wire transfers of funds from the businesses’ accounts. He targeted over 100 businesses in a single day and a loss in excess of $6,300,000 can be attributed to a scheme he led.
2. Michael Olorunyomi, m, born May 12, 1983; Passport no, A50143448
Olorunyomi was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having engaged in scandalous cyber-enabled activities.
From September 2015 to June 2017, Olorunyomi and an accomplice led a scheme that victimised Americans through the use of romance fraud. He and his co-conspirators created fictitious profiles on dating websites and posed as individuals looking for love. He developed online relationships with victims to either obtain funds directly from them or used their bank accounts to funnel fraudulently obtained money. Losses exceeding $1,000,000 can be attributed to the romance fraud scheme he led.
3. Alex Ogunshakin, m, born February 23, 1983; Passport no, A05285583
Ogunshakin was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having provided financial, material, and technological support for Uzuh.
Ogunshakin conducted business email compromise and romance scams and provided Uzuh and other co-conspirators with bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
4. Felix Okpoh, m, born March 9, 1989; Passport no, A06415967
Okpoh was also designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having provided technological support to Uzuh by availing hundreds of US bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers from victims of BEC and romance fraud.
5. Nnamdi Benson, m, born March 21, 1987; Passport no, A06417829
Benson was also designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having provided support to Uzuh, working closely with Uzuh in romance scams and money laundering. He communicated with multiple romance fraud victims to obtain their bank account details and provided the account information to Uzuh to receive fraudulent wire transfers from US businesses.
6. Abiola Kayode, m, born November 1987; Passport no, A05637743
Lastly, Kayode was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended for working closely with Uzuh and others involved in the scheme. He provided US bank accounts to individuals involved in the scheme, one of which was then used to receive a $69,150 fraudulent wire transfer.