Nigerian Extradited From Malaysia Convicted For $6.3m Fraud In U.S.

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Nigerian Extradited From Malaysia Convicted For $6.3m Fraud In U.S.

 

A federal jury in New Haven, Connecticut, Wednesday, convicted an extradited Nigerian, Okechukwu Osuji, for operating a business email compromise scheme out of multiple countries, including the United States.

A statement from the US Department of Justice on Thursday said Osuji and his co-conspirators- John Wamuigah and Tolulope Bodunde- fleeced their victims of over $6.3m.

The jury convicted Osuji of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24 and faces a mandatory minimum of two years on the identity theft count and a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison on the wire fraud and conspiracy counts.

A Federal District Court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Osuji was arrested in Malaysia and extradited to the US in 2022. His alleged co-conspirator, Wamuigah, remains in Malaysia and is pending extradition proceedings.

Another co-conspirator, Bodunde, pleaded guilty on February 16. It

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Osuji, 39, and his co-conspirators targeted specific individuals and businesses by masquerading as trustworthy entities in electronic communications to obtain money.

They utilized unwitting and witting “money mules” to receive fraud proceeds in their bank accounts, and then transferred those funds to accounts under the control of Osuji and his co-conspirators or to convert the stolen proceeds to cash for further transfer.

Throughout the scheme’s years-long operation, numerous victims were tricked into transferring funds into bank accounts the victims believed were under the control of legitimate recipients of the funds as part of normal business operations, when in reality, the bank accounts were controlled by Osuji and his co-conspirators.

“Osuji led a network of scammers in Malaysia and elsewhere in a sophisticated business email compromise scheme to defraud victims of millions of dollars,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Nicole Argentieri, said.

In her comments on the conviction, the Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Vanessa Avery, stated,  “Today’s conviction is another example of how the department’s collaboration with international law enforcement partners enables us to bring cybercriminals to justice in the United States.

“While it is often difficult to identify and bring to justice cybercriminals operating overseas, today’s verdict demonstrates the expertise of the FBI and Stamford Police in uncovering this criminal network, and the shared commitment of our counterparts in Malaysia to ensure that fraudsters are held accountable in a court of law.

“We will continue to work to root out those who engage in internet fraud schemes, no matter where in the world they operate and achieve justice for victims of these crimes.”

“The defendant perpetrated a complex international business email compromise scheme and laundered millions in stolen proceeds. This conviction is the result of hard work and close collaboration between the FBI and our local and international partners.

‘’Together, we will work aggressively to bring to justice anyone who engages in fraud and theft against Americans, no matter where they are in the world,’’ said Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan Jr. of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.