US Declares Another Nigerian Wanted for $10m Scam

Nnamdi Nwosu

A 33-year-old Nigerian, Nnamdi Nwosu, has been declared wanted by two US government agencies, the Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a $10million business email compromise scam, for which six other Nigerians had been jailed.

Nwosu, who lives in Houston Texas is wanted on charges of conspiracy to launder money instruments and one count of passport fraud. He remains a fugitive, for now, according to the Department of Justice.

ICE has called for information about Nwosu’s whereabouts through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form.

One of Nwosu’s gang members, Bameyi Kelvin Omale, 32 years-old and also a Houston resident was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison on Wednesday and also ordered to pay $5,378,292.03 for his role in a money laundering scheme.

Omale was arrested in May of last year along with other Texas Nigerian nationals involved in the scheme to launder millions of dollars derived from business email compromise (BEC) schemes.

Three others – Chinonso Agbaji, a 30-year-old Houston resident, Igho Calaba, a 26-year-old Austin resident and Chibuzor Stanley Uba, a 31-year-old resident of San Antonio – pleaded guilty to the same charge. Last month, Agbaji was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison; Uba to 36 months in federal prison; and Calaba to 30 months in federal prison.

Two others involved in the scheme were also sentenced. In February 2019, 28-year-old Joseph Odibobhahemen of Austin pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy. In December 2018, 32-year-old Nosa Onaghise of Austin pleaded guilty to one count of passport fraud in furtherance of the money laundering conspiracy.

Odibobhahemen was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,639,419.57. Onaghise is scheduled to be sentenced next week, reported KVUE, an affiliate of ABC.

According to the indictment, the money was largely derived from BEC schemes perpetrated against U.S. and foreign victims. The scheme began sometime before Nov. 2016. More than $10 million was allegedly sent by victims to accounts controlled by the defendants, who were able to take in excess of $3 million before the fraudulent transfers were stopped by law enforcement of financial institutions.

The indictment said that the conspirators acquired or controlled dozens of bank accounts opened in the U.S., including in Austin, utilising fraudulent identification documents, including fake passports.

The indictment said that once the funds were procured and deposited into these fake accounts, the defendants worked quickly to withdraw or transfer the money.

The indictment alleged that some of the conspirators also received funds sent by the victims of romance fraud.

Money laundering conspiracy calls for up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction, while passport fraud calls for up to 10 years in federal prison upon conviction.