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FULL LIST ‘Thank You Jesus’ — the 77 Nigerians on FBI list over cyber fraud

"Those arrested today are among 80 defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges that millions of dollars were taken from victims through a variety of scams and online frauds", he said.

Authorities in the US said on Thursday that 80 people have so far been indicted in the case which is believed to be the largest in USA history.

Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the 145-page indictment.

The remainder of the 80 indicted are said to be based overseas.

The conspiracy included frauds involving business email, romance scams and schemes targeting elderly people. The remaining defendants live in other countries, principally Nigeria, and investigators say they'll work with the respective governments to extradite them.

"Billions of dollars are lost annually, and we urge citizens to be aware of these sophisticated financial schemes to protect themselves or their businesses from becoming unsuspecting victims", said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

One such romance scam listed in the document details exchanges between a Japanese woman, and what she thought was a US Army Captain stationed in Syria, which started through an global social network dedicated to setting up digital pen pals. She had borrowed money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Garcia with his fraudulent plan. Neither Garcia nor the stash of diamonds turned out to be real. Garcia didn't exist. The whole charade came as part of an elaborate scheme hatched by the worldwide ring of thieves.

Nick Hanna, a U.S. attorney, had said investigations which began since 2016 showed that the suspects colluded with federal and state agents to dupe unsuspecting victims of their money.

Victims were targeted in the USA and around the world, and some lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the victims, identified as only "F.K." in court papers, was reportedly "extremely depressed and angry about these losses", the federal complaint stated. 'She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her'.

He told her they couldn't talk by phone because he wasn't allowed to use one while on military duty in the Middle-East.

At one point, she was even threatened with arrest if she did not make the payments.

All the defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, while some are charged with additional offences. Iro, Igbokwe and another Nigerian defendant named in the indictment, 39-year-old Chuks Eroha, face additional charges for attempting to destroy their cellphones when the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant in 2017 at Iro's apartment in Carson, California.

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