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Nigerian man extradited to Nebraska to face fraud scheme charge

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(The Center Square) – A man from Nigeria has been extradited to Nebraska to face charges of a Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud Indictment.

Alex Ogunshakin, 40, of Nigeria, faces the charges filed in August 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the extradition request from the United States, which the country submitted in May 2020.

Nigerian police arrested Ogunshakin and surrendered him to the United States.

Ogunshakin made his initial appearance on the Indictment on September 29, 2023. He will remain detained pending trial, United States Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson ordered.

Ogunshakin was on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted List. He allegedly participated in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme from January 2015 to September 2016 that defrauded businesses in Nebraska and elsewhere of over $6 million.

The Nigerian man and his co-conspirators posed as the chief executive officer, president, owner, or other executive of the targeted company, the release said.

Using spoofed emails that gave employees the impression that they were the company’s executives, the men told employees to complete wire transfers.

“The business employees, believing the requests were legitimate, complied with the wire transfer requests and wired the money as instructed by Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators,” the release said.

Ogunshakin allegedly provided bank account info to the co-conspirators who sent fraudulent emails.

Those emails told business employees to wire money to accounts controlled by Ogunshakin and his co-conspirators.

“These bank accounts largely belonged to victims of internet romance scams, who were instructed by co-conspirators to transfer the funds to other bank accounts,” the release said.

Some of the co-conspirators of Ogunshakin have already received their convictions and sentences.

For example, Adewale Aniyeloye, who sent spoofed emails to the target business, received a 96-month prison sentence and was ordered to pay $1.57 million in restitution in February 2019. Similarly, Pelumi Fawehinimi, a bank account facilitator, received a 72-month sentence and was ordered to pay $1.01 million in restitution in March 2019, while romance scammer Onome Ijomone received a 60-month prison sentence in January 2020 and must pay about $509,000 in restitution. Other co-conspirators have not been found.

“Cyber Criminal Alex Ogunshakin worked with other co-conspirators (who remain at large and on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted fugitive list) to defraud victims in the U.S. of millions of dollars,” FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said. “His indictment, arrest, and extradition should send a message to his co-conspirators and other cyber criminals: The FBI will remain vigilant in their pursuit of criminals both domestic and abroad. Disrupting these cyber-criminal groups and their victimization of U.S. persons and businesses is a priority for the FBI, DOJ, and our international law enforcement partners.”

“The FBI wishes to thank its partners in Nigeria, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and National Central Bureau, Abuja – INTERPOL (Nigeria Police Force), for their past and continued assistance in pursuing those that engage in Business Email Compromise and other fraud schemes,” he added.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Additionally, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Nigerian Ministry of Justice’s Central Authority Unit assisted in getting Ogunshakin arrested and extradited.

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