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$6m fraud: Nigerian man on FBI’s most wanted list extradited to US

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A Nigerian man identified as Alex Ogunshakin, has been extradited to the United States to answer for charges of fraud.

Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, announced the extradition of Ogunshakin, 40, to the District of Nebraska on a Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud Indictment, filed in August 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria granted the United States’ request for extradition, which was submitted in May 2020.

Ogunshakin, who was on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted List, was arrested in Nigeria and ultimately surrendered to the United States.

Ogunshakin had an initial appearance on the Indictment on September 29, 2023.

United States Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson ordered Ogunshakin remain detained pending trial.

Ogunshakin is alleged to have participated in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme from January 2015 to September 2016.

The BEC scheme defrauded businesses in the District of Nebraska and elsewhere of more than $6 million.

According to the indictment, Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators posed as the chief executive officer, president, owner, or other executive of the targeted company.

Using e-mail accounts spoofed to make it appear as though they were from the company’s true business executive, Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators directed business employees or recipients of the e-mail to complete wire transfers.

The business employees, believing the requests were legitimate, complied with the wire transfer requests and wired the money as instructed by Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators.

It is alleged Ogunshakin provided bank account information to the co-conspirators who sent the fraudulent e-mails, and which directed business employees to wire money to accounts controlled by Ogunshakin and others. These bank accounts largely belonged to victims of internet romance scams, who were instructed by co-conspirators to transfer the funds to other bank accounts.

Some of Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators have already been convicted and sentenced. Adewale Aniyeloye, one of the fraudsters sending the spoofed e-mails to the target business, was sentenced in February 2019 to 96 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,570,938.05 in restitution.

Pelumi Fawehinimi, a bank account facilitator, was sentenced in March 2019 to 72 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,014,159.60 in restitution. Onome Ijomone, a romance scammer, was sentenced in January 2020 to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $508,934.40 in restitution after his successful extradition from Poland. Other co-conspirators remain at large.

“Cyber Criminal Alex Ogunshakin worked with other co-conspirators (who remain at large and on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted fugitive list) to defraud victims in the U.S. of millions of dollars,” FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said.

“His indictment, arrest, and extradition should send a message to his co-conspirators and other cyber criminals: The FBI will remain vigilant in their pursuit of criminals both domestic and abroad. Disrupting these cyber criminal groups and their victimization of U.S. persons and businesses is a priority for the FBI, DOJ, and our international law enforcement partners

“The FBI wishes to thank its partners in Nigeria, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and National Central Bureau, Abuja – INTERPOL (Nigeria Police Force), for their past and continued assistance in pursuing those that engage in Business Email Compromise and other fraud schemes.”

 

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