A United States Eastern District Court in Texas has indicted 23 individuals for alleged wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering totalling $17 million.
In a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Sept. 8, the suspects allegedly targeted the elderly, laundered their money through a network of various bank accounts, co-conspirators and businesses located in Africa and Asia.
Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei alleged the conspiracy began around January 2017 and involved several methods, including online romance scams, compromising business emails, investor and unemployment insurance fraud.
The multi-scheme fraud involved at least $17 million from over 100 individuals, companies and government entities around the world.
According to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the conspirators “not only coordinated how to extract money from their victims”, but also disguised, disbursed and laundered the money once they successfully defrauded their victims.
“The criminal conduct alleged in this case is sophisticated in its means, expansive in its scope, and callous in its aims. The indictment alleges a scheme where all manner of fraud—including romance and investment scams—was unleashed on an unsuspecting American public, including the elderly and most vulnerable, with the ill-gotten gains syphoned off and funnelled overseas. The amount of loss, both financial and emotional, alleged in this case is nothing short of staggering,” the indictment release stated.
Among the suspects indicted are, Kingsley Ita, aka “Baron Sifk,” 42, of Dallas; Irabor Fatarr Musa, aka “Fatai” “Head JJ,” 51, of Richardson; Solomon Esekheigbe, 48, of Katy; Sandra Iribhogbe Popnen, aka “General,” 46, of Allen; Edgal Iribhogbe, aka “Oseme,” 50, of Allen; Damilola Kumapayi, aka “Luke Morris,” 33, of Dallas; Ehiedu Onyeagwu, aka “Young,” 58, of Rosedale, Maryland; Mathew Okpu, 57, of Temple Hille, Maryland; Benedicta Atakare, 46, of Temple Hills, Maryland; Segun Adeoye, 47, of Pearland; Chidindu Okeke, aka “Steve,” 28, of Richmond; Ngozi Okeke, 47, of Katy; Nosoregbe Asemota, aka “Patrick Asemota,” 46, of Melissa; Chigozi Ekwenugo, 53, of Grand Prairie; Bukola Obaseki, 48, of Allen; Stella Hadome, 43, of Allen; Jequita Batchelor, 37, of Farmers Branch; Osaretin Eghaghe, aka “Biggie,” 37, of Plano; Ejiro Ohwovoriole, 29, of McKinney; Isaac Asare, aka “Asarko,” 48, of Houston; Gold Ude, 44, of Wylie; Henrietha Oziegbe, 23, of Lexington, Kentucky; and Kingsly Oziegbe, 25, of Edinburg.
If convicted, each individual faces up to 20 years in federal prison.