One of the 80 Nigerians charged by the FBI on Thursday, August 22, with participating in a conspiracy to steal millions of dollars was recorded in a viral video celebrating his baby shower.
The yet-to-be-identified suspect can be seen in the now-viral video throwing wads of dollars at guests as he danced around.
Here is another video of those Nigerians on the FBI list. I'm told this is a baby shower. Can you see the child throwing dollars in the air. They are not only destroying the present but also the future. #LiveWithinYourMeans pic.twitter.com/3bYrowUDB7
— Adebayo Bankole Akintunde (@AdeBanqie) August 24, 2019
They are accused of using business email fraud schemes and romance scams to con victims – many of them elderly.
Police have so far arrested 14 suspects across the US, 11 in Los Angeles alone.
Others are thought to be in Nigeria and authorities there say they will cooperate with the US.
Prosecutors say it is one of the “largest cases of its kind in US history”.
The FBI investigation is a major step to disrupt criminal networks, US 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,” he added.
The FBI started investigating the case in 2016 in a single bank account but it later extended to cover multiple victims in the US and around the world.
All the 80 defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, the US Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California said in a press release.
Two Nigerian nationals, identified as Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, who are part of those arrested in the US, have been named as co-conspirators working with others in the US and in Nigeria, to obtain money from victims and then transfer it abroad.
They managed to fraudulently obtain $6m (£5m) in a conspiracy aimed at stealing $46m, the US Attorney’s Office alleges.
The remaining 66 defendants are believed to be abroad, “with most them located in Nigeria”, the authorities say.
Those named should be handed to the US to face a trial, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who heads the Nigerian government’s diaspora commission said in a statement.
“We ask those accused in Nigeria to voluntarily turn themselves in to American authorities to clear their names, without which the Nigerian government should extradite them if relevant international treaties between the two governments are invoked.”
The actions of a few should not tarnish all Nigerians, she added.
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