A Nigerian man has been extradited to Nebraska by the FBI for a $6 million fraud. He tricked business employees into wire transfers and preyed on others by masquerading as a love interest.
According to Daily Mail, Alex Ogunshakin, 40, was arrested in Nigeria and surrendered to the U.S. after being indicted in 2019.
Acting U.S. Attorney Susan Lehr announced this week the successful extradition of Ogunshakin, who made his first court appearance on September 29 and has been detained pending trial.
Ogunshakin allegedly defrauded more than 70 businesses in Nebraska and across the U.S. through a business email compromise (BEC) scheme between 2016 and 2017. He and his co-conspirators posed as executives of targeted companies and used spoofed email accounts to direct business employees to complete wire transfers. Two unnamed companies in Nebraska lost more than $530,000 in the scam.
Ogunshakin also assisted in sending spoofed emails to businesses and provided his co-conspirators with bank accounts used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
Learning from his co-conspirators, Ogunshakin also allegedly conducted his own BEC and romance schemes.
The FBI’s report on BEC shows more than $2.4 billion was lost in nearly 20,000 BEC-related complaints it received in 2021. BEC and email account compromise (EAC) losses surpassed $43 billion globally.
“His indictment, arrest, and extradition should send a message to his co-conspirators and other cyber criminals,” said Eugene Kowel, the FBI Omaha special agent in charge, in a press release.
Some of Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators have already been arrested and sentenced.
Adewale Aniyeloye, who sent the spoofed e-mails to the target business, was sentenced in 2019 to 96 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,570,938.05 in restitution.
Pelumi Fawehinimi, a bank account facilitator, was sentenced in 2019 to 72 months and ordered to pay $1,014,159.60 in restitution.
Onome Ijomone, a romance scammer, was sentenced in January 2020 to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $508,934.40 in restitution after his successful extradition from Poland.
Richard Uzuh, who led the BEC scheme, used spoofed email accounts and directed business employees to complete wire transfers. He remains unlocated or unfound.
The U.S. Department of Treasury released sanctions against Ogunshakin, Uzuh, and four other Nigerian nationals in 2020, blocking their property and interests possessed by U.S. persons and prohibiting people from dealing with them.
Prosecutors allege Uzuh often would target more than 100 businesses in a day and got at least $6.3 million from American businesses that way.