The United States Government has arrested and sanctioned six Nigerian nationals involved in a fraud scheme that stole more than $6 million from residents in the country.
The Department of the Treasury published the names of the suspects in a press release on it’s website on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
The statement reads:
“Today, in a coordinated action with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against six Nigerian nationals for conducting an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from victims across the United States.”
“The individuals designated today targeted U.S. businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud.
“American citizens lost over $6,000,000 due to these individuals’ BEC fraud schemes, in which they impersonated business executives and requested and received wire transfers from legitimate business accounts.
“Money was also stolen from innocent Americans by romance fraud, in which the designees masqueraded as affectionate partners to gain trust from victims.”
“The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims in order to gain access to usernames, passwords, and bank accounts in furtherance of the scheme.
“Several of those who engaged in romance fraud used online tools, including social media and email, to further their social engineering tactics.”
“OFAC closely coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which today released details regarding its indictment against members of the conspiracy.
“The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receives romance fraud victim reports from all ages, education, and income brackets. However, the elderly, women and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.”
Uzuh was arrested for having engaged in cyber-enabled activities that have the purpose or effect of causing a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources for private financial gain.
From at least 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.
Uzuh would often target over 100 businesses in a single day. A loss in excess of $6,300,000 can be attributed to the BEC scheme led by Uzuh and an accomplice.
Olorunyomi was arrested for having engaged in cyber-enabled activities that have the purpose or effect of causing a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources for private financial gain.
From September 2015 to June 2017, Olorunyomi and an accomplice led a scheme that victimized Americans through the use of romance fraud.
Olorunyomi 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 victims, or used their bank accounts to funnel fraudulently obtained money. Losses exceeding $1,000,000 can be attributed to the romance fraud scheme led by Olorunyomi and his accomplice.
Ogunshakin was arrested for having provided financial, material, or technological support for Uzuh.
Ogunshakin conducted BEC and romance scams. Ogunshakin provided Uzuh and other co-conspirators with bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
Additionally, Ogunshakin assisted Uzuh with contacting victim companies and he conducted his own BEC schemes.
Okpoh was arrested for having provided financial, material, or technological support to Uzuh.
Okpoh conducted romance scams and engaged in money laundering, working closely with Uzuh and others involved in the scheme.
Okpoh provided hundreds of U.S. bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers from victims of BEC and romance fraud.
Nnamdi Benson – Romance Fraud and Money Laundering.
Benson was arrested for having provided financial, material, or technological support to Uzuh.
Benson conducted romance scams and money laundering, working closely with Uzuh. Benson 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 U.S. businesses.
Abiola Kayode – BEC and Romance Scams.
Kayode was arrested for having provided financial, material, or technological support to Uzuh.
Kayode conducted BEC and romance scams, working closely with Uzuh and others involved in the scheme. Kayode provided U.S. bank accounts to individuals involved in the scheme, one of which was then used to receive a $69,150 fraudulent wire transfer.
The statement added that the treasury is committed to responding to evolving online threats that target organizations and individuals in the United States.