The United States have arrested six Nigerian nationals for an alleged $6 million internet fraud.
This was made known in a statement by the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and posted on the Treasury Department website on Tuesday.
The individuals arrested are Richard Uzuh, Micheal Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Nnamdi Benson and Abiola Kayode.
The US Department of State said the six persons “manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources.”
Part of 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,” read the statement.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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