Internet fraud: Federal Bureau of Investigation nabs more Nigerians in U.S.

FULL LIST ‘Thank You Jesus’ — the 77 Nigerians on FBI list over cyber fraud

Ahmaad noted that the names are just a list of Nigerians who have brought shame to the country.

Fourteen defendants were arrested, mostly in the Los Angeles region. At least three other defendants were already in custody.

Six other defendants are believed to be fugitives in the USA and the others are overseas, mostly in Nigeria, the report said.

According to the criminal complaint, the schemes used by the believed syndicate included online romances, fake business emails and targeting of the elderly to steal at least $6 million, with attempts to take an additional $40 million from victims in the USA and across the globe.

Six defendants live in the US are fugitives while the remaining defendants live in other countries, mainly Nigeria.

The lead defendants named in the 145-page indictment are Valentine Iro, 31, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, both Nigerian citizens who live in California and were among those arrested Thursday morning.

The suspects allegedly targeted the lovelorn, the elderly, and small and large businesses, using a variety of scams to persuade their victims to send money over the internet.

Hanna disclosed that the scammers had taken advantage of vulnerable status of most of their victims like the elderly.

"In the BEC scams, the fraudsters will often hack a company's email system, impersonate company personnel, and direct payments to bank accounts that funnel money back to the fraudsters in Nigeria", U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said during the news conference. "We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks". Federal Bureau of Investigation agents could be seen processing suspects in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot.

Victims were targeted in the US and around the world, and some lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Iro and Igbokwe were "essentially brokers" of fraudulent bank accounts, prosecutors allege, by fielding requests for bank account information and laundering the money obtained from victims.

"Some of the operatives facilitated the fraud schemes by opening the bank accounts where victims were directed to deposit their money".

Prosecutors allege Iro and Igbokwe did all this in exchange for a cut of the stolen money.

Further investigations revealed that members of the conspiracy sometimes wired funds to other bank accounts under their control or withdrew same as cash or negotiable instruments such as cashier's checks.

The criminal complaint says Iro and Igbokwe, who were among the suspects arrested Thursday, conducted schemes that resulted in the transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds.

Those money exchangers, in turn, used a Nigerian banking application to transfer other funds in naira (₦), the currency of Nigeria, from Nigerian bank accounts they controlled to the Nigerian bank accounts specified by Iro and Igbokwe.

All the defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, while some are charged with additional offences.

Government has released names of 80 Nigerians suspected to have been involved in well coordinated fraud and money laundering in the country.



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