Six Nigerian nationals were extradited from South Africa to Gulfport, Mississippi, to face a nine-count federal indictment in the Southern District of Mississippi alleging various Internet fraud schemes. A total of 20 defendants are charged in this case.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis of the Southern District of Mississippi made the announcement.
Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30; Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31; Olusegun Seyi Shonekan, 33; Taofeeq Olamilekan Oyelade, 30; Olufemi Obaro Omoraka, 26; and Anuoluwapo Segun Adegbemigun, 39, are charged along with 15 others in an Oct. 7, 2014, indictment with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, use of unauthorized account access devices, theft of U.S. government funds and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges stem from the defendants alleged participation in numerous Internet-based complex financial fraud schemes, including romance scams, re-shipping scams, fraudulent check scams and work-at-home scams, as well as bank, financial and credit card account takeovers.
According to the allegations in the indictment, from as early as 2001, the defendants identified and solicited potential victims through online dating websites and work-at-home opportunities. In some instances, the defendants allegedly carried on fictitious online romantic relationships with victims for the purpose of using the victims to further certain objectives of the conspiracy. For example, the indictment alleges that the defendants convinced victims to ship and receive merchandise purchased with stolen personal identifying information (PII) and compromised credit card and banking information, to deposit counterfeit checks, and to transfer proceeds of the conspiracy via wire, U.S. mail or express delivery services.
To date, defendants Teslim Olarewaju Kiriji, 30; Olutoyin Ogunlade, 41; and Dennis Brian Ladden, 75, have been convicted of offenses relating to their roles in the schemes. Defendants Susan Anne Villeneuve, 49; and Genoveva Farfan, 45; Sesan Olumide Farin, 40; Femi Alexander Mewase, 44; Rhulane Fionah Hlungwane, 24; and Adekunle Adefila, 40, are awaiting trial. The United States is seeking extradition from Nigeria of defendants Kayode Bamidele, Ajayi Oluwaseyi Stephen and Emmanuel Adeniyi Osokomaiya. Defendants Gabriel Oludare Adeniran and Oduntan Sikiru Lawani remain fugitives.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Significant assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the HSI Cyber Crimes Center, HSI Attachés in Pretoria and Dakar, U.S. Marshals Service’s International Investigations Branch and the Southern District of Mississippi, the South African Police Service (SAPS) Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) Electronic Crimes Unit, the SAPS Interpol Extradition Unit, the South African National Prosecution Authority, and the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Robert Tully of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Annette Williams and Scott Gilbert of the Southern District of Mississippi.