Sun | Aug 20, 2017

International cybercriminals sentenced

Published:Monday | May 29, 2017 | 5:00 AM

GULFPORT, Mississippi (AP):

Three Nigerian nationals have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a large-scale international fraud network.

Acting US Attorney Harold Brittain, in a news release Friday, said 31-year-old Rasaq Aderoju Raheem was sentenced to 115 years in prison, 30-year-old Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan was sentenced to 95 years, and 45-year-old Femi Alexander Mewase was sentenced to 25 years.

After a three-week trial earlier this year, a federal jury found each defendant guilty of offences involving mail and wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property. Raheem and Ayelotan were also found guilty of conspiracies to commit bank fraud and money laundering.

A total of 21 defendants were charged in the case, 12 of whom have pleaded guilty to charges related to the conspiracy, and 11 of whom have been sentenced to date.

 

NUMEROUS FRAUD SCHEMES

 

According to the plea agreements and evidence at trial, the defendants and their co-conspirators carried out numerous Internet-based fraud schemes dating back at least to 2001. The schemes involved using unsuspecting victims to cash counterfeit cheques and money orders, using stolen credit card numbers to purchase electronics and other merchandise, and using stolen personal identification information to take over victims' bank accounts.

The US Attorney's Office says the conspirators recruited US citizens via "romance scams," in which the perpetrator would typically use a false identity on a dating website to establish a romantic relationship with an unsuspecting victim. Once the perpetrator gained the victim's trust and affection, the perpetrator would convince the victim to either send money or to help carry out fraud schemes.