80 people in the US and Nigeria have been accused of participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday morning executed warrants at multiple locations across L.A County where 252 counts indictments of the fraud schemes were announced.
It is alleged that the accused laundered the funds through a Los Angeles based money laundering network.
According to the US Attorney’s office for the Central District of Carlifonia, eleven of the accused were arrestes on Thursday in South Carlifonia while three others were taken into custody elsewhere in the U.S
Authorities said the remaining of the defendants are believed to be abroad, mostly in Nigeria.
According to the indictment, the accused used business email compromise frauds, romance scams and schemes targeting the elderly to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena who are both Nigerian citizens were implicated in the fraud scheme.
“These victims are used primarily as money mules, by allowing their bank accounts to be used to transfer stolen funds,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt.
The criminal complaint says Iro and Igbokwe, who were among the suspects arrested Thursday, conducted schemes that resulted in the transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds.
“The overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least $40 million,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.