The US Department of Justice has charged 34 Nigerians charged in Texas with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, according to the statements released by the US government.
The statements by the US justice department, on September 24, 2021, say 23 of the suspects were arrested in the Eastern District of Texas and 11 in the Northern District.
“Beginning 2017, the defendants (from Eastern District) used a multiple of fraudulent schemes to obtain money from their victims, including online romance scams, business email compromise and investor fraud, and employment insurance fraud,” one of the statements reads in part.
“Allegedly, the defendants obtained at least $17 million from at least 100 individual victims, companies, and government entities from across the world.”
The 11 Individuals from Northern District of Texas were said to have been arrested during a large-scale operation and charged with variety of crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
“According to court documents, these defendants allegedly preyed on elderly victims, many of whom were widowed or divorced. They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites like Match.com, ChistianMingle, JSwipe, and PlentyofFish, searching for their targets,” the seond statement reads.
Those arrested include David Animashaun, 38, Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40, Chukwemeka Orji, 36, Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35, and Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47, all charged with wire fraud conspiracy.
Others are Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51, Ijeoma Okoro, 31, Frederick Orji, 37, Uwadiale Esezobor, 36, Victor Idowu, 36, Afeez Abiola Alao, 37, Kingsley Ita, 42, Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51, Solomon Esekheigbe, 48, Sandra Iribhogbe Popnen, 46, Edgal Iribhogbe, 50, Damilola Kumapayi, 33, and 58-year-old Ehiedu Onyeagwu.
Mathew Okpu, 57, Benedicta Atakare, 46, Segun Adeoye, 47, Chidindu Okeke, 28, Ngozi Okeke, 47, Nosoregbe Asemota, 46, Chigozi Ekwenugo, 53, Bukola Obaseki, 48, Stella Hadome, 43, Jequita Batchelor, 37, Osaretin Eghaghe, 37, Ejiro Ohwovoriole, 29, Isaac Asare, 48, Gold Ude, 44, Henrietha Oziegbe, 23, and Kingsly Oziegbe, 25, also made the list.
However, the Department of Justice noted in the statements that the indictments are mere allegations of criminal conduct and not evidence.
“If convicted,” the statement reads,”the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy counts and up to 10 years in prison on money laundering conspiracy counts.”