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Six Nigerians sanctioned by US government for $6 million cyber fraud

The United States government on Wednesday  says it has placed sanctions on six Nigerians who defrauded US citizens through various internet-related schemes to the tune of $6 million.

Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary,  revealed this in a statement published on Tuesday  on the US department of treasury website, stating that the perpetrators of the fraud are between the ages of 32 and 37.

“Today, in a coordinated action with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against six Nigerian nationals for conducting an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from victims across the United States,” read the statement.

The Nigerians who were sanctioned are Richard Uzor, Michael Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Nnamdi Benson and Abiola Kayode.

“The individuals designated today targeted U.S. businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud.

“American citizens lost over $6,000,000 due to these individuals’ BEC fraud schemes, in which they impersonated business executives and requested and received wire transfers from legitimate business accounts,” the statement read.

The statement did not indicate the location of the six persons, nor any information about their arrest while the alleged fraudulent acts were committed between 2015 and 2017.

“As technological advancement increasingly offers malicious actors tools that can be used for online attacks and schemes, the United States will continue to protect and defend at-risk Americans and businesses,” Mnuchin said.

The secretary included the terms of the sanctions placed on the six Nigerians in his statement.

“Today’s action includes the designation of six individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, as amended by E.O. 13757, which targets malicious cyber-enabled activities, including those related to the significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources for private financial gain.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them,” the statement read.

Last year, government officials in Washington confirmed that the US lost hundreds of millions of dollars to a fraud ring suspected to be perpetrated by Nigerians.

The attackers were suspected to have used information about US citizens such as social security numbers to file for unemployment claims on behalf of people who have not been laid off.

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