Six most wanted Nigerians in U.S. believed to be hiding in Nigeria: FBI
Six Nigerian nationals have found themselves in the crosshairs of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with the agency designating them as wanted and as international flight risks.
The suspects are Felix Osilama Okpoh, Alex Afolabi Ogunsakin, Micheal Olorunyomi, Richard Izuchukwu Uzhi, Nnamdi Orson Benson, and Abiola Ayorinde Kayode.
The FBI called them “cyber’s most wanted.”
According to the FBI, the wanted sextuplet “currently resides in Nigeria.”
The FBI has issued a plea to the public, urging people to contact the nearest FBI office or the American embassy with any information regarding their whereabouts.
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“If you have any information concerning this person. Please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate,” said the agency.
The individuals, now subjects of a global manhunt, have been implicated as co-conspirators in a series of criminal activities. Their alleged crimes encompass a wide range, including romance scams, fraudulent wire transfers, and advanced fee fraud schemes.
Mr Olorunyomi is wanted for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 U.S. businesses, resulting in losses exceeding $6 million. He is also accused of conducting romance fraud, targeting vulnerable individuals, and defrauding them of over $1 million. Legal action was taken against him in November 2019, leading to a warrant for his arrest.
Mr Kayode is sought for his purported role in a BEC scheme that defrauded numerous U.S. businesses, totalling over $6 million in losses. He allegedly facilitated fraudulent wire transfers and engaged in BEC and romance frauds. Legal action was initiated against him in August 2019, resulting in a federal arrest warrant.
Mr Benson is wanted for his alleged involvement in a BEC scheme with similar financial consequences. He is accused of providing bank accounts for receiving fraudulent wire transfers and participating in romance and advanced fee fraud schemes. The FBI said a federal warrant was issued for his arrest in August 2019.
Mr Uzuh faces allegations of participating in a BEC scheme, along with co-conspirators, which defrauded numerous U.S. businesses of over $6 million. He is also accused of money laundering and collaborating with others involved in BEC schemes. On October 19, 2016, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest, according to the FBI.
Mr Okpoh is wanted for his alleged role in a BEC scheme that defrauded numerous U.S. businesses of over $6 million. He is accused of providing bank accounts for fraudulent wire transfers, resulting in losses exceeding $1 million. The FBI issued an arrest warrant against him on August 22, 2019.
Mr Ogunshakin is sought for involvement in a BEC scheme that caused substantial financial losses to multiple U.S. businesses. He is accused of providing bank accounts for fraudulent wire transfers and participating in these schemes by sending spoofed emails. On August 22, 2019, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.
The six suspected criminals add to the growing roster of Nigerians implicated in criminal activities and scams. Some are already incarcerated, while others are currently facing legal action.
For instance, Ramon Abass, a Nigerian socialite and Instagram influencer, received an 11-year sentence in the United States for participating in money laundering conspiracies tied to business email compromise frauds and various scams. These schemes included defrauding a US law firm of around $40 million, illicitly transferring $14.7 million from a foreign financial institution, and attempting to steal $124 million from an English Premier League club.
Abba Kyari, a senior police officer, is also under scrutiny for his alleged involvement in assisting Mr Abass with his criminal endeavours.
Olalekan Ponle, known as Woodberry, recently received an eight-year sentence and forfeited all his known assets to the United States. He pleaded guilty to defrauding at least seven companies of over $8 million in less than a year.
Obinwanne Okeke, also known as Invictus Obi, is serving a 10-year prison term in the United States for internet fraud that caused $11 million in losses to his victims. He initially pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison on February 16, 2021.