IBADAN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Three Nigerians; Olabanji Egbinola, 42, Oludayo Adeagbo, 43, and Donald Echeazu, 40, were returned to the United States after their extradition for Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud operations that sought to steal more than $5 million in losses.
The three Nigerians were extradited from the United Kingdom and arrived in the United States for engaging in BEC fraud schemes between 2016 and 2018.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, the scams allegedly perpetrated by the defendants targeted unsuspecting victims including universities in the Western District of North Carolina, Southern District of Texas and Eastern District of Virginia.
The men attempted to cause more than $5 million in losses.
On 23 September, 2021, all three were detained by UK officials at the request of the US.
The accusations are related to scams that operated between 2016 and 2018 and targeted people and companies in Texas and Virginia.
By pretending to be a construction corporation in charge of projects for the University of North Carolina, the defendants also committed identity theft and wire fraud by defrauding the university of more than $1.9 million.
According to the statement, Adeagbo and Echeazu have been charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft for defrauding a North Carolina university (the University) of more than $1.9 million via a business email compromise scheme.
The summons was returned by a federal grand jury in the Western District of North Carolina on 17 April, 2019, and was unsealed on Tuesday following Echeazu’s initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from August 30, 2016 to January 12, 2017, Adeagbo and Echeazu colluded with other individuals to obtain information about significant construction projects occurring throughout the United States, including an ongoing multi-million-dollar project at the victim University.
They allegedly went ahead to execute the scheme as they allegedly registered a domain name similar to that of the legitimate construction company in charge of the University’s project and created an email address that closely resembled that of an employee of the construction company.
They are also alleged to have used a fake email address to deceive and direct the University to wire a fund of more than $1.9 million to a bank account controlled by an individual working under the direction of defendants.
Upon receiving the payment, the accomplices allegedly laundered the stolen proceeds through a series of financial transactions designed to conceal the fraud.
The wire fraud conspiracy charge and the money laundering conspiracy charge each carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.
The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence consecutive to any other term imposed.