The District of New Jersey has arraigned 11 Nigerians for a $6 million bank fraud in the United States barely a week after 76 people including 6 Nigerians were declared wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for bank and wire fraud.
According to report by Punch, the 11 Nigerians were charged for conspiracy to commit bank fraud spread over four years in Southern New Jersey and Southern Pennsylvania.
They are alleged to have duped hundreds of people through US bank accounts including Wells Fargo and were arraigned on multiple counts of fraud and forgery.
The Nigerians were identified as Sulaiman Dosunmu 39, Tunde Adeowo 40, Muritala Adeowo 55, Ayanniyi Alayande 47, Ahmmed Ponle 41, Margiettu Kamu 34, Rafiat Sarumi 36, Babatunde Oke 40, Adekunle Owolabi 49, Olayinka Olaseinde 42 and Olugbenga Oyedele 47.
Excerpts from the charge sheet read;
“The defendants are allegedly members of a Nigeria-based, multi-layered organization that engaged in a massive bank fraud conspiracy in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Rhode Island, between June 2016 and March 2020.
“Members of the group stole numerous business checks from the United States mail, altered the payee on the checks to a fraudulent name and deposited the checks in bank accounts that had been opened with forged foreign passport documents and fraudulent US visas that matched the names on the stolen checks.”
“Members of the organization have used over 400 fraudulent accounts with fake identity documents to defraud the banks.
“The organization also laundered the proceeds of the fraud by several means, including using debit cards to purchase money orders from third-party stores and using those money orders to purchase used automobiles from different automobile auction companies in Pennsylvania.
“The vehicles were then exported to Nigeria and other countries in Africa to launder the stolen funds and to increase profits by selling the vehicles at the higher market values obtained for vehicles in these foreign countries.”
The accused risk a jail term of 30 years alongside a fine of $1 million if found guilty of the charges.