Three Nigerians were extradited from the UK to the US for their alleged involvement in multi-million dollar cyber fraud schemes.
In a statement, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) identified the defendants as Oludayo Kolawole John Adeagbo, 43, a Nigerian citizen and UK resident; Donald Ikenna Echeazu, 40, also known as Donald Smith or Donald Dodient; and one Olabanji Egbinola.
According to the DoJ document, the three defendants were allegedly involved in cyber-enabled business email compromise (BEC) fraud schemes in the Western District of North Carolina, the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern District of Virginia.
The defendants’ alleged scams targeted unsuspecting victims, including universities in North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, and attempted to cause over $5 million in losses.
Adeagbo and Echeazu have been charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft for defrauding a North Carolina university (the University) of more than $1.9 million through a business email compromise scheme, according to the statement.
A federal grand jury in the Western District of North Carolina returned the summons on April 17, 2019, and it was unsealed on Tuesday, following Echeazu’s initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte.
From August 30, 2016 to January 12, 2017, “Adeagbo and Echeazu colluded with other individuals to obtain information about significant construction projects occurring throughout the United States, including an ongoing multi-million-dollar project at the said University,” according to the indictment.
“They allegedly carried out the scheme by registering a domain name similar to that of the legitimate construction company in charge of the University’s project and creating an email address that closely resembled that of a construction company employee.”
“They also allegedly used a fake email address to deceive and direct the University to wire more than $1.9 million to a bank account controlled by an individual working under defendants’ direction.” The accomplices allegedly laundered the stolen proceeds through a series of financial transactions designed to conceal the fraud after receiving the payment.
“Both the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges carry a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.” The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence in addition to any other term imposed.”