FBI uncovers romance fraud syndicate based in Nigeria, arrests 11 Nigerians

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No fewer than 11 Nigerians living in the US have been indicted by a US federal grand jury for defrauding elderly victims in romance schemes.

The fraudsters targeted elderly victims, including widows and the divorced.

According to court documents, the defendants are: David Animashaun, 38; Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40; Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51; Ijeoma Okoro, 31; Chukwemeka Orji, 36; Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35; Frederick Orji, 37; Uwadiale Esezobor, 36; Victor Idowu, 36; Afeez Abiola Alao, 37; and Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47.

They were arrested Wednesday morning by the FBI in DFW, Eastern District of Texas, Dallas, Lubbock, Los Angeles and charged in the Northern District of Texas for alleged fraud conspiracy, money laundering, mail & wire fraud conspiracy.

The indictment added that the 11 had ties to an international syndicate in Nigeria.

The defendants, if convicted, face up to 30 years in federal prison on the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy counts.

This is as the FBI estimated that more than 20,000 people lost more than $600 million in romance scams in 2020 alone.