UNITED States (U.S.) Federal agents have arraigned 24 individuals, including some Nigerians, for their involvement in a large-scale Atlanta, United States-based fraud and money laundering operation.
The scheme, according to a report by an online publication, The Will Nigeria, targetted American citizens, corporations and financial institutions throughout the U.S.
The defendants allegedly used business email compromise schemes, romance fraud scams, and retirement account scams, among other frauds, to dupe numerous victims into losing more than $30 million.
“Fraud schemes, like the ones perpetrated and facilitated by these defendants, inflict considerable losses on citizens, companies, and the financial system,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
“Some of these schemes target the elderly and often deplete the victims’ entire life savings. These arrests affirm the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens.
“No one deserves to have their hard-earned money stolen from them, so identifying and arresting these defendants makes everyone in the community safer,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama.
“Foreign nationals arrested in this scheme will be placed into removal proceedings upon completion of their criminal sentence,” he said, making reference to the foreigners, including Nigerians, among the defendants.
Pak, in the indictment and other information presented in court, said: “The defendants served as money launderers for other individuals throughout the world, who conducted cyber-enabled fraud, including business email compromise schemes, romance scams and retirement account scams, targetted at companies and individuals across the U.S.
He added that the defendants and their co-conspirators laundered over $30 million in fraud proceeds. The defendants created multiple sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income or pay wages to employees.
In turn, the defendants opened business bank accounts at multiple financial institutions to facilitate receipt of the fraudulent money.
The defendants also opened personal bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds, often using false identities and victims’ identities.
After funds were deposited into the defendants’ bank accounts, the money was quickly withdrawn from the accounts and circulated among the defendants.
The following individuals have been charged with money laundering conspiracy: Darius Sowah Okang, (a.k.a Michael J. Casey), Richard Resser (a.k.a Thomas Vaden), Michael Lawson (a.k.a Matthew Reddington); and Michael Little, 29, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Dominique Raquel Golden (a.k.a Desire Tamakloe), Mellissa Moore (a.k.a Nicole Nolay ), Raquel Roberts, (a.k.a Maria Henderson), and Raquel Golden, 29, of Houston, Texas.
Others include Blessing Oluwatimilehin Ojo, (a.k.a “Timmy,” 34, of Nigeria); George Kodjo Edem Adatsi, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia; Desire Elorm Tamakloe, (a.k.a “Chubby”) 25, of Smyrna, Georgia); Solomon Agyapong (a.k.a “Gumpe) 31, of Marietta, Georgia; Afeez Olaide Adeniran, (a.k.a “Ola,”) 31, of Atlanta, Georgia; Francesco Benjamin, (a.k.a “B-More)” 30, of Atlanta, Georgia; Jonathan Kojo Agbemafle, (a.k.a “Skinny”) 26, of Kansas City, Missouri; Joshua Roberts, (a.k.a “Onyx”) 28, of Houston, Texas; and Hamza Abdallah (a.k.a Reggie Lewis) 30, of McDonough, Georgia.
Also included are: Prince Sheriff Okai, 26, of Mableton, Georgia; Kelvin Prince Boateng, 24, of Atlanta, Georgia; Monique Wheeler, 29, of Atlanta, Georgia; Matthan Bolaji Ibidapo (a.k.a “B.J.”) 27, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Stephen Abbu Jenkins, (a.k.a “Face”) (a.k.a Steve Jenkins) 53, of Atlanta, Georgia; Kahlia Andrea Siddiqui, 28, of Chamblee, Georgia and Alexus Ciera Johnson, 26, of Mableton, Georgia.
Others mentioned in the court charges are: Abubakar Sadik Ibrahim, 26, of Mableton, Georgia; Emanuela Joe Joseph, 34, of Lawrenceville, Georgia; Obinna Nwosu, 26, of Douglasville, Georgia; Ojebe Obewu Ojebe, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Gregory Thomas Hudson, 38, of Powder Springs, Georgia.
In addition, two related cases charging additional defendants with various counts of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and conspiracies to commit these offenses are currently pending in federal court in Atlanta.
These defendants include: Benjamin Ibukunoluwa Oye, 26, of Sandy Springs, Georgia; Tyler Keon Roussell, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia; Christopher Akinwande Awonuga, 27, of Fayetteville, Georgia; Casey Broderick Williams, 26, of Covington, Georgia; Macario Lee Nelson (a.k.a “Mac) 24, of Atlanta, Georgia and Chadrick Jamal Rhodes, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia.
Also in the charges are: Chadwick Osbourne Stewart, 40, of Atlanta, Georgia; Oumar Bouyo Mbodj, 28, of Kennesaw, Georgia; Seth Appiah Kubi, 60, of Dacula, Georgia; Ahamefule Aso Odus, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia; Paul Chinonso Anyanwu, 27, of Hampton, Georgia; and Egale Veonzell Woods, Jr., 41, of East Point, Georgia.
Included are Chineda Obilom Nwakadu, 25, of McDonough, Georgia; Chukwukadibia Ikechukwu Nnadozie (a.k.a “Chuka,” a.k.a Michael McCord) 27, of Fayetteville, Georgia; Uchechi Chidimma Odus, (a.k.a “Uche”) 23, of Atlanta, Georgia; John Ifeoluwa Onimole, 27, of Powder Springs, Georgia; and Oluwafunmilade Onamuti (a.k.a Mathew Kelvin) 26, of Duluth, Georgia.