The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, has disclosed that six Nigerians are at the top of its list of most wanted people.
The Nigerians on the wanted list, according to the agency, include Michael Olorunyomi, Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunsakin, Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode and Nnamdi Orson Benson. They were all accused of executing a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.
Through the scheme, FBI said, the suspects defrauded more than 70 different businesses in the US, resulting in combined losses of over $6 million.
Uzuh, who is believed to be the leader of the gang, was indicted on October 18, 2016, in the US district court of Omaha,Nebraska, on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
A federal warrant was issued for his arrest on October 19, 2016, but he had gone into hiding since then, making all the efforts made to arrest him not to yield any result.
According to the FBI advertisement declaring Uzuh wanted, he and his co-conspirators sent spoofed emails to thousands of businesses in the US, requesting fraudulent wire transfers.
Uzuh allegedly worked with money launderers, romance scammers, and others involved in BEC schemes to launder the proceeds of other crimes through a complex network of witting and unwitting people in the US and abroad.
Okpoh who was indicted three years later was accused of providing hundreds of bank accounts to Uzuh and other co-conspirators.
The accounts were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers running into $1 million.
Okpoh was indicted on August 21, 2017 with a warrant of arrest issued on August 22, 2017.
Ogunshakin, who was also declared wanted, was accused of providing bank accounts to Uzuh and gang, to receive the fraudulent wire transfer.
According to the FBI, Ogunshakin caught the bug of fraud, by staging his own BEC, after being an apprentice to Uzuh and others.
Like Okpoh, he was indicted on August 21, 2017 and a warrant issued for his arrest on August 22, 2017.
Kayode, also on the FBI list was accused of providing bank accounts to Uzuh. He was similarly alleged to have conducted BEC and romance scams of his own.
He was indicted the same day with Ogunshakin and Okpoh.
Benson, the fifth member of the gang was also accused of making available bank accounts to the gang. He also staged his own scams too.
Olorunyomi was not just a member of the six-man gang, he targeted vulnerable elders and widows in his scams.
He defrauded his victims of more than $1 million.
Olorunyomi was also accused of aiding the Uzuh group in providing bank accounts of his victims to be used for fraudulent wire transfers from other victims.
He was the last to be indicted on November 13, 2019, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, identity theft, and access device fraud.
His warrant of arrest was issued on November 14, 2019.