The United States government released full details and identities of the 80 suspected fraudsters, with many being Nigerians, arrested in the country.
According to a statement released by the US authorities, the suspects either played major roles in the alleged fraud or acted as accomplices.
The United States attorney, Nick Hanna, said: “This case is part of our ongoing efforts to protect Americans from fraudulent online schemes and to bring to justice those who prey upon American citizens and businesses.
“Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use BEC schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators – no matter where they reside – and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”
The country named Valentine Iro, 31, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, as lead suspects adding that once a victim deposited funds into a bank account or a money services account, the duo allegedly coordinated with others to further launder the funds.
Investigations revealed that members of the conspiracy sometimes wired funds to other bank accounts under their control or withdrew same as cash or negotiable instruments such as cashier’s checks.
The US said the suspects often “used illicit money exchangers to move funds overseas, generally avoiding transferring the funds directly through banking institutions, the indictment alleges.
“To do this, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the transfer of a victim’s funds from a fraudulent bank account they controlled to US bank accounts belonging to illicit money exchangers.
“Those money exchangers, in turn, used a Nigerian banking application to transfer other funds in naira (₦), the currency of Nigeria, from Nigerian bank accounts they controlled to the Nigerian bank accounts specified by Iro and Igbokwe,” the statement said.
The authorities said this strategy was used to transfer millions of dollars to Nigerian co-conspirators without directly transferring funds overseas. Below is are the names of the Nigerian suspects indicted in the alleged fraud case: