Three Nigerian men are currently facing federal indictment in the U.S., accused of engaging in a money laundering and wire fraud scheme that resulted in losses exceeding $6 million.
One of the suspects is being extradited from Canada to the U.S. to face charges in a U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, MD.
The three individuals, identified as Kosi Goodness Simon-Ebo (29 years old), James Junior Aliyu (28 years old), and Henry Onyedikachi Echefu (31 years old), have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, as well as wire fraud and money laundering charges related to a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.
According to the seven-count indictment, the suspects and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in the BEC scheme between February 2016 and at least July 2017.
They gained unauthorized access to email accounts associated with individuals and businesses, and then sent false instructions from fake emails to victims’ accounts, deceiving them into sending money to bank accounts controlled by the perpetrators, also known as drop accounts.
The indictment further alleges that the defendants conspired to commit money laundering by disbursing the fraudulently obtained funds from the drop accounts to other accounts through various means such as account transfers, cash withdrawals, obtaining cashier’s checks, and writing checks to other individuals and entities, in an effort to conceal the true ownership and source of the assets.
Simon-Ebo is charged with three wire fraud counts involving $6,343,533.10 in victim funds wired to accounts controlled by the conspirators, while Aliyu is alleged to have made a wire transfer from one of the drop accounts to an account he controlled in South Africa.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and each count of wire fraud.