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Two Nigerians Convicted Of N19 Billion Fraud In US Risk 22 Years Imprisonment

Two Nigerians Convicted Of N19 Billion Fraud In US Risk 22 Years Imprisonment

Two Nigerian men, George Ugochukwu Egwumba and Princewell Arinze Duru, have been convicted by a jury in the United States for their involvement in an extensive, long-lasting, multimillion-dollar fraud.

 

The duo, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice, belonged to a crime syndicate that perpetrated a wide variety of frauds, including business email compromise (BEC) fraud, and romance scams among others.



Egwumba was found guilty of one count of aggravated identity theft, Duru was found guilty of one count of wire fraud and one count of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.

 

They were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

 

Evidence presented during the trial showed that many of the gang members were based in Nigeria but used many middlemen to connect with their fellow co-conspirators in the United States.

 

“The U.S.-based middlemen assisted in receiving and laundering the proceeds of the frauds either through U.S. bank accounts, money transmitting services such as Western Union or MoneyGram, or cryptocurrency.

 

“In exchange, the middlemen and those who assisted with the laundering of illicit proceeds received a percentage of the fraudulently obtained funds,” the statement noted.

 

The middlemen were listed as Valentine Iro, Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, and Chuks Eroha who reportedly fled to Nigeria in 2017, shortly after the Federal Bureau of Investigations executed a search warrant in this case.

 

“This trio of middlemen connected the fraudsters with the money launderers, sometimes with other middlemen in between, and often used the same bank accounts for laundering funds. Iro and Igbokwe have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in this case.

 

“Egwumba acted as another middleman, receiving bank account information from Iro and Eroha to pass to other fraudsters, and also worked to commit fraud himself by using malware and other cybercrime tools.

 

“Egwumba exchanged text messages with Iro and Eroha, in which he asked for and received bank account information that could be used to receive stolen money.

 

“LokiBot and NanoCore remote access trojan malware and other cybercrime tools were found on Egwumba’s computers, along with messages in which he discussed using these tools to attempt to commit fraud.

 

“Duru helped Igbokwe and others in receiving and laundering the fraudulently obtained money, both by opening fraudulent business bank accounts and using money transmitting services and cryptocurrency wallets.

 

“Duru registered a fraudulent business in Sacramento County and then used that company to open two business bank accounts at different banks. Duru gave the bank account information to Igbokwe so it could be used to receive fraud proceeds. One victim was deceived into depositing approximately $25,600 into one of Duru’s business bank accounts.

 

“The conspiracy involved the laundering of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds and the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million.”

 

The court scheduled the hearing for October 17, meanwhile, they risk a maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.

 

So far, prosecutors have secured 19 guilty pleas in the case. Additional defendants have been arrested in Nigeria, and others are believed to be at large.

 

Source: Sahara Reporters.

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