Nigerian national extradited to Nebraska for $6M business email spoofing fraud | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

A 40-year-old Nigerian national has been extradited to face a federal indictment in Nebraska in an elaborate scheme targeting business executives’ email addresses to get wire transfers and preying on others by masquerading as love interests.

Alex Ogunshakin, who was on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted List, was arrested in Nigeria and ultimately surrendered to the United States.

Alex Ogunshakin

At an initial appearance in federal court in Omaha on Sept. 29. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson ordered him to remain detained pending trial.

In 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged that Ogunshakin and five other Nigerians (Richard Uzuh, Adewale Aniyeloye, Felix Okpoh, Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson) defrauded Nebraska businesses and businesses elsewhere in the country of more than $6 million.

Ogunshakin is the first to be caught and go to court in the case.

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According to indictments, between 2015 and Sept. 26, 2016, Uzuh and Aniyeloye allegedly spoofed email addresses, posing as real CEOs or other business executives, to direct employees to make wire transfers from business accounts.

Two unnamed companies in Nebraska together lost more than $530,000 before realizing it was a scam, prosecutors say.

In the documents, prosecutors allege Uzuh often would target more than 100 businesses in a day and got at least $6.3 million from American businesses that way.

In another scam, Michael Olorunyomi and his co-conspirators are alleged to have made off with more than $1 million by creating fictitious profiles on dating websites and posing as someone looking for love.

Prosecutors say Olorunyomi developed online relationships with victims to either get money directly from them or use their bank accounts to funnel money that he’d gotten fraudulently.

Between just two Nebraska victims, Olorunyomi allegedly got $480,000 by pretending to be a love interest who needed help with a legitimate financial transaction.

Along with the six still sought, three others charged in the plot — Aniyeloye, Pelumi Fawehinmi and Onome Ijomone — already have entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Omaha and have been sentenced. Aniyeloye received eight years in federal prison for wire fraud; Fawehinmi got six years for conspiracy; and Ijomone got five years for conspiracy.

Each of the Nigerian men also was ordered to pay restitution ranging from $508,934 to $1.57 million.

The scammers are accused of impersonating business executives to request wire transfers from legitimate business accounts and stealing money from innocent Americans by masquerading as affectionate partners to gain trust from their victims.

Officials say the six manipulated their victims in order to gain access to usernames, passwords and bank accounts and used social media and email to carry out the scams.

FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said Ogunshakin’s 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,” Kowel said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or [email protected].

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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National Cyber Security