May 2, 2024

Nigerian man extradited from Malaysia convicted for $6.3m fraud in US

Nigerian man extradited from Malaysia convicted for $6.3m fraud in US

A federal jury in New Haven, Connecticut, Wednesday, convicted an extradited Nigerian national, Okechukwu Osuji, for engaging in a business email compromise scheme out of multiple countries, including the United States.

This was revealed in a statement by the US Department of Justice on Thursday, saying that Osuji and his accomplices, John Wamuigah and Tolulope Bodunde defrauded their victims of over $6.3 million.

The jury convicted Osuji of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said, “Osuji led a network of scammers in Malaysia and elsewhere in a sophisticated business email compromise scheme to defraud victims of millions of dollars.” 

“Today’s conviction is another example of how the department’s collaboration with international law enforcement partners enables us to bring cybercriminals to justice in the United States.”

US Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery for the District of Connecticut added, “While it is often difficult to identify and bring to justice cybercriminals operating overseas, today’s verdict demonstrates the expertise of the FBI and Stamford Police in uncovering this criminal network, and the shared commitment of our counterparts in Malaysia to ensure that fraudsters are held accountable in a court of law.

“We will continue to work to root out those who engage in internet fraud schemes, no matter where in the world they operate, and achieve justice for victims of these crimes.”

“The defendant perpetrated a complex international business email compromise scheme and laundered millions in stolen proceeds,” said Executive Assistant Director Timothy R. Langan Jr. of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. 

“This conviction is the result of hard work and close collaboration between the FBI and our local and international partners. Together, we will work aggressively to bring to justice anyone who engages in fraud and theft against Americans, no matter where they are in the world.”

“Today’s verdict provides a bit of closure to some victims of these often financially crippling crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Fuller of the FBI New Haven Field Office. 

“It also displays our international ability to bring criminal actors to justice despite the complexities of their crimes. We want to thank all of our law enforcement partners here and abroad, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office, for their dedication to serving justice.”

Osuji who was deported by Osuji is slated to be sentenced on July 24 and faces a mandatory minimum of two years on the identity theft count and a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison on the wire fraud and conspiracy counts.

A Federal District Court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Osuji was arrested in Malaysia and extradited to the US in 2022. His alleged co-conspirator, Wamuigah, remains in Malaysia and is pending extradition proceedings, while another co-conspirator, Bodunde, pleaded guilty on February 16.