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FBI declares six Nigerians, 73 other nationals wanted over N2.4b internet fraud

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THE Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on Saturday declared six Nigerians who are currently on the run wanted after they were indicted and charged for internet-related crimes.

The FBI, on its official website listed six Nigerians among its most-wanted cybercriminals in a crime resulting in over $6 million losses.

The six Nigerians include: Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, Nnamdi Orson Benson and Michael Olorunyomi.

This declaration is coming few days after the Dubai Special Weapons And Tactics Unit (SWAT), Police revealed how they uncovered a fraud plan worth of Dh1.6 billion (N168billion), involving a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymoni Igbalode, popularly known as Hushpuppi alongside 11 others.

According to a Twitter post, the US intelligence and security service requested for tips on how to capture the six Nigerians.

“Help the #FBI find ​six Nigerian nationals wanted for their involvement in ​business​ email ​compromise (BEC) schemes resulting in over $6 ​million in losses,” the FBI tweeted.

The FBI said Ogunshakin, Uzuh, Okpoh, Kayode and Benson are all wanted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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“Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin is wanted for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 different businesses in the United States resulting in combined losses of over $6,000,000 USD,” it wrote on its official website.

“Ogunshakin allegedly provided bank accounts to Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, and other co-conspirators Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson, that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.”

It added that the Nigerian allegedly also assisted in these schemes by sending spoofed emails to businesses used to solicit fraudulent wire transfers.

The FBI further revealed that “Ogunshakin allegedly later conducted his own BEC schemes, learning from Uzuh and others and on August 21, 2019, Ogunshakin was indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.

A federal warrant was issued for his arrest on August 22.

Michael Olorunyomi is wanted by the FBI for defrauding older people using a romance scam.

“Micheal Olorunyomi is wanted for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 different businesses in the United States resulting in combined losses of over $6,000,000 USD,” the FBI said.

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He allegedly conducted romance fraud schemes often targeting vulnerable elders or widows and  allegedly defrauded several victims out of more than $1,000,000 USD.

“Additionally, the bank accounts of many of Olorunyomi’s alleged romance scam victims were provided to other co-conspirators to be used to receive fraudulent wire transfers from other fraud schemes.

“On November 13, 2019, Olorunyomi was indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Identity Theft, and Access Device Fraud. On November 14, 2019, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest,” US intelligence and security service said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to social media platform, Twitter to express their displeasure over the FBI’s post which according singled out just Nigerians among other persons wanted for cybercrime.

A Twitter user by the name @One_Dosh , said “A cyber crime is committed, there are 79 Persons: 16 Russians, 20 Chinese, 6 Nigerians and 37 men of arabic descent. Our dearest FBI choose to use 6 Nigerians for their headline,by the time we realize the hate it’ll be so far gone. Y’all can do better FBI,you can do better.”

Another user by the name Gimba Kakanda, wrote,”This sensationalizing bullshit is the reason I commended Dubai Police. They captured scammers of Nigerian descent and paraded them as “international cyber criminals.” FBI had to activate Nigerian nationality-baiting, with only 6 Nigerians out of 79 scammers of many nationalities.”

Kingsley Elijah , said “Racism at its peak… We have other nationals there from 39 Arabians, 16 Chinese.. Russia etc but 6 Nigerians they are hyping it….. Report this tweet.

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Seun Adedeji, said “16 Russians, 20 Chinese, 37 Arabs and 6 Nigerians. It is the six Nigerians that made the headline while the majority of white scammers are kept in the background. If this is not racism, I don’t know what else to call it.”

 

 

 

Author profile

Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via Abeeb.alawiye@bbc.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww

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