BOSTON – A Nigerian man has been sentenced in federal court in Boston for his role in online fraud schemes.
Happy Chukwuma, 30, was sentenced on May 5, 2023 by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to eight months in prison (time served). On April 10, 2023, Chukwuma pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy. Chukwuma was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2019. He was arrested and detained in the United Kingdom in September 2022 and extradited to the United States in March 2023.
Between November 2015 and January 2019, Chukwuma and his co-conspirators participated in a variety of online fraud schemes, including “phishing” and romance scams. They exchanged victims’ personally identifiable information, including identification and financial documents, and engaged in financial transactions with that information. Several of the victims whose information was compromised were from Massachusetts.
Phishing schemes mimic the appearance of legitimate websites to gather victims’ online credentials, including usernames, passwords, financial account information, social security numbers and other types of personal identifiable information. In romance scams, perpetrators generally create fictitious online personas to develop online romantic relationships with individuals in the United States, and then leverage those relationships to obtain money and property.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police National Extradition Unit provided critical assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Chukwuma.