The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested 35 Nigerians in North Texas, in fraud worth $117 Million.
They will face indictment for alleged money laundering and wire scam that defrauded over 100 people nationwide.
According to the department, the defendants are accused of conducting romance schemes to defraud and steal money from older American adults.
The defendants allegedly use alias names and trolled dating sites like Match.com, ChistianMingle, JSwipe, and PlentyofFish, to prey on vulnerable targets like widowed or divorced.
These victims are made to build trust with the scammers as they would pose interest by sharing a fake snivel story and then request a large sum of money.
“These criminals rely on victims’ isolation, loneliness, and sometimes their grief. The only mistake these victims make is being generous to the wrong people. ”Acting U.S. Attorney, Prerak Shah, stated at a press conference announcing the charges.
“Once they depleted the savings they vanished into thin air.
“Romance scams are often difficult to prosecute because victims are often embarrassed, feel duped, and don’t want to come forward.
Shah encourages victims to come forward and reassure them that the scams are more common than one might think — more than 20,000 people lost $600 million in romance scams in 2020
Eleven of the arrests were made in the Northern District of Texas while 24 arrests were made in the Eastern District of Texas.
Nigerians Charged in the Northern District of Texas;
1. David Animashaun, 38 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy.
2. Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
3. Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51 – arrested in the Eastern District of Texas, charged by the Northern District of Texas wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
4. Ijeoma Okoro, 31 – arrested in DFW, wire fraud conspiracy fraud, money laundering conspiracy
5. Chukwemeka Orji, 36 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
6. Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
7. Frederick Orji, 37 – arrested in Dallas, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
8. Uwadiale Esezobor, 36 – arrested in Lubbock, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
9. Victor Idowu, 36 – arrested in Los Angeles, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
10.Afeez Abiola Alao, 37 – wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
11.Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47 – wire fraud conspiracy
All of the defendants named are innocent until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy counts and up to 10 years in federal prison on the money laundering conspiracy counts.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.