Nigerian Ogunshakin wanted by FBI extradited to Nebraska, now in jail

Alex Ogunshakin extradited to US

Alex Ogunshakin extradited to US

Nigerian Alex Ogunshakin once on the wanted list of FBI has been extradited from Nigeria to Nebraska, in the United States for a $6million fraud.

He and his partners tricked business employees into wire transfers and preyed on others by masquerading as a love interest.

Ogunshakin, 40, was arrested in Nigeria following his indictment in 2019 in a filing made in Omaha, Nebraska.

Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced the extradition of Ogunshakin to Nebraska.

He faces a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Lehr said the Nigerian Government granted the United States’ request for extradition, which was submitted in May 2020.

Ogunshakin had an initial appearance on the Indictment on September 29, 2023.

United States Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson ordered Ogunshakin detained pending trial.

Ogunshakin, who was on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted List, is alleged to have participated in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme from January 2015 to September 2016.

The BEC scheme defrauded more than 70 businesses in the District of Nebraska and elsewhere of more than $6 million.

According to the indictment, Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators, including Richard Uzuh, posed as the chief executive officer, president, owner, or other executive of the targeted company.

Using e-mail accounts spoofed to make it appear as though they were from the company’s true business executive, Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators directed business employees or recipients of the e-mail to complete wire transfers.

The business employees, believing the requests were legitimate, complied with the wire transfer requests and wired the money as instructed by Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators.

Using spoofed email accounts, they directed business employees to complete wire transfers. Two unnamed companies in Nebraska lost more than $530,000 in the scam.

It was alleged Ogunshakin provided bank account information to the co-conspirators who sent the fraudulent e-mails, and which directed business employees to wire money to accounts controlled by Ogunshakin and others.

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These bank accounts largely belonged to victims of internet romance scams, who were instructed by co-conspirators to transfer the funds to other bank accounts.

Some of Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators have already been convicted and sentenced.

Adewale Aniyeloye, one of the fraudsters sending the spoofed e-mails to the target business, was sentenced in February 2019 to 96 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,570,938.05 in restitution.

Pelumi Fawehinimi, a bank account facilitator, was sentenced in March 2019 to 72 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,014,159.60 in restitution.

Onome Ijomone, a romance scammer, was sentenced in January 2020 to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $508,934.40 in restitution after his successful extradition from Poland.

Other co-conspirators remain at large.

Learning from Uzuh and others, Ogunshakin allegedly conducted his own BEC and romance schemes later.

FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “Cyber Criminal Alex Ogunshakin worked with other co-conspirators (who remain at large and on the FBI Cyber’s Most Wanted fugitive list) to defraud victims in the U.S. of millions of dollars.

“His 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”.

The FBI’s report on BEC shows more than $2.4billion were lost in nearly 20,000 BEC-related complaints it received in 2021.

BEC and email account compromise (EAC) losses surpassed $43 billion globally.

Department of Treasury release sanctions against Ogunshakin, Uzuh, and four other Nigerian nationals in 2020, blocking their property and interests possessed by U.S. persons and prohibiting people from dealing with them.

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.

Uzuh, Felix Okpoh, Abiola Kayode, and Nnamdi Benson remain unlocated or unfound.

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