Thursday, February 9, 2017

Internet fraud: 3 Nigerians convicted in US; face 115, 95, 25 years in jail



Three Nigerian nationals, who in July 2015 were extradited from South Africa to the Southern District of Mississippi, were convicted on Wednesday by a federal jury for their wide-ranging Internet fraud schemes.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis of the Southern District of Mississippi made the announcement.

A statement by the Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, said: "Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, access device fraud, and theft of U.S. government funds, two counts of mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering."

"Ayelotan faces up to 95 years in prison.

"Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31 was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, access device fraud, and theft of U.S. government funds, three counts of mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"Raheem faces up to 115 years in prison.

"Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit identity theft, access device fraud, and theft of U.S. government funds.

"Mewase faces up to 25 years in prison.

"Sentencing for all three is set for May 24 in the Southern District of Mississippi."

"According to trial testimony and evidence presented in the three-week trial, the defendants participated in numerous complex Internet-based financial fraud schemes, including romance scams, re-shipping scams, fraudulent check scams, and work-at-home scams, as well as bank, financial, and credit card account takeovers. From as early as 2001, the defendants identified and solicited potential victims through online dating websites and work-at-home opportunities. In some instances, the defendants carried on fictitious online romantic relationships with victims for the purpose of using the victims to further objectives of the conspiracy. For example, the defendants convinced victims to ship and receive merchandise purchased with stolen personal identifying information (PII) and compromised credit card and banking information, to deposit counterfeit checks, to withdraw money from fraudulent pre-paid debit cards that were loaded with money from stolen credit cards and to transfer proceeds of the conspiracy via wire, U.S. mail, or express delivery services.

"A total of 21 defendants were charged in this case. To date, defendants Adekunle Adefila, 41, of Nigeria; Anuoluwapo Segun Adegbemigun, 40, of Nigeria; Gabriel Oludare Adeniran, 30, of Nigeria; Genoveva Farfan, 45, of California; Rhulane Fionah Hlungwane, 26, of South Africa; Teslim Olarewaju Kiriji, 30, of Nigeria; Dennis Brian Ladden, 75, of Wisconsin; Olutoyin Ogunlade, 41, of New York; Taofeeq Olamilekan Oyelade, 32, of Nigeria; Olufemi Obaro Omoraka, 27, of Nigeria; and Olusegun Seyi Shonekan, 34, of Nigeria; have pleaded guilty to related conspiracy charges. Susan Anne Villeneuve, 49, of California, is awaiting trial.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Significant assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the HSI Cyber Crimes Center, HSI Attach├ęs in Pretoria, South Africa and Dakar, Senegal, the U.S. Marshals Service’s International Investigations Branch and the Southern District of Mississippi District Office, the South African Police Service (SAPS) Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) Electronic Crimes Unit, the SAPS Interpol Extradition Unit, the South African National Prosecution Authority and the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Trial Attorney Conor Mulroe of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, Senior Counsel Peter Roman of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams of the Southern District of Mississippi tried the case," the statement read.
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