Thirty-five Nigerians have been arrested in North Texas by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, for involvement in a fraud worth $117million.
The suspects, who have allegedly defrauded over 100 people nationwide, would face indictment for money laundering and wire scam.
They were accused of grossly conducting romance schemes to defraud and steal from unsuspecting older American adults.
It was learnt that the suspects used fake names on dating sites to prey on their targets including widowed and divorced.
These victims were made to build trust with the scammers as they would pose interest by sharing a fake snivel story and then requesting a large sum of money.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Prerak Shah, stated at a press conference while announcing the charges against them that “These criminals rely on victims’ isolation, loneliness, and sometimes their grief. The only mistake these victims make is being generous to the wrong people.”
“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 reassures them that the scams are more common than one might think, disclosing that more than 20,000 people lost $600million in romance scams in 2020.
Meanwhile, eleven of the arrests were made in the Northern District of Texas while the remaining 24 were made in the Eastern District of Texas.
Identities of the Nigerians charged in the Northern District of Texas were;
David Animashaun, 38 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy.
Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51 – arrested in the Eastern District of Texas, charged by the Northern District of Texas wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Ijeoma Okoro, 31 – arrested in DFW, wire fraud conspiracy fraud, money laundering conspiracy
Chukwemeka Orji, 36 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Frederick Orji, 37 – arrested in Dallas, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Uwadiale Esezobor, 36 – arrested in Lubbock, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Victor Idowu, 36 – arrested in Los Angeles, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Afeez Abiola Alao, 37 – wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
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.