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.
According to a statement released by the US Department of Justice on Wednesday, August 11, the defendants are Oludayo Kolawole John Adeagbo also known as John Edwards or John Dayo, a 43-year-old Nigerian citizen and UK resident, Donald Ikenna Echeazu who also bears Donald Smith or Donald Dodient and Olabanji Egbinola.
The US Department of Justice says the trio engaged in cyber-enabled business email compromise (BEC) fraud schemes in the Western District of North Carolina, Southern District of Texas and Eastern District of Virginia.
The scams allegedly perpetrated by the defendants targeted unsuspecting victims including universities in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, and attempted to cause more than $5 million in losses.
According to the statement, Adeagbo 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. 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.