Three Nigerians have been extradited from the United Kingdom and arrived in the United States over an alleged involvement in multi-million dollar cyber fraud schemes.
The defendants were Oludayo John Adeagbo, 43; Donald Ikenna Echeazu, 40; and Olabanji Egbinola, 42.
The scams allegedly perpetrated by the defendants and their co-conspirators was targeted at unsuspecting victims including universities in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia and attempted to cause more than $5 million in losses.
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According to a statement released by the US Department of Justice on Wednesday, August 11, Adaegbo and Echeazu have been charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft for defrauding a North Carolina university (the University) of more than $1.9 million via a business email compromise scheme.
The summons was returned by a federal grand jury in the Western District of North Carolina on April 17, 2019, and was unsealed on Tuesday following Echeazu’s initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, from August 30, 2016 to January 12, 2017, Adeagbo and Echeazu colluded with other individuals to obtain information about significant construction projects occurring throughout the United States, including an ongoing multi-million-dollar project at the victim University.
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They allegedly went ahead to execute the scheme as they allegedly registered a domain name similar to that of the legitimate construction company in charge of the University’s project and created an email address that closely resembled that of an employee of the construction company.
They are also alleged to have used a fake email address to deceive and direct the University to wire a fund of more than $1.9 million to a bank account controlled by an individual working under the direction of defendants. Upon receiving the payment, the accomplices allegedly laundered the stolen proceeds through a series of financial transactions designed to conceal the fraud.
The wire fraud conspiracy charge and the money laundering conspiracy charge each carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.
The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence consecutive to any other term imposed.
Adaegbo, who resided in the UK, was also charged in the Southern District of Texas with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
A federal grand jury returned the indictment March 30, 2022, which was unsealed on August 3, 2022 before he was extradited to the United States
Egbinola was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to a criminal complaint issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, from Sept. 26, 2018, to Dec. 26, 2018, Egbinola was alleged to have conspired with others to defraud a Virginia-based university.
All three defendants were arrested April 23, 2020, by UK authorities at the request of the United States and ordered extradited on September 3, 2021.
All three defendants filed appeals, all of which were rejected by the UK High Court on July 12, 2022.