The United States has charged three Nigerians with money laundering and a fraud scheme with more than $6 million in losses.
The Nigerians – 29-year-old Kosi Goodness Simon-Ebo, James Junior Aliyu aged 28 and Henry Onyedikachi Echefu, aged 31 – are accused of conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering related to a business email compromise (BEC) scheme with losses of more than $6 million.
One of them is being extradited from Canada to the U.S. to face a federal indictment on Friday, April 14 in a U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, MD.
In a statement on Thursday, the US Department of Justice said the seven-count indictment involves the defendants conspiring with others to perpetrate a BEC scheme.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators, including co-conspirators residing in the state of Maryland, gained unauthorised access to email accounts associated with individuals and businesses targeted by the conspirators.
It was gathered that the co-conspirators then allegedly sent false wiring instructions to the victims’ email accounts from “spoofed” emails, which are emails with forged sender addresses, to deceive the victims into sending money to bank accounts controlled by perpetrators of the scheme, called “drop accounts”.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants conspired to commit money laundering by disbursing the fraudulently obtained funds in the drop accounts to other accounts by initiating account transfers, withdrawing cash, obtaining cashier’s checks and by writing checks to other individuals and entities, to hide the true ownership and the source of those assets.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud conspiracy, for the money laundering conspiracy, and for each count of wire fraud, the US justice department said.