Nigerian man jailed in the US for 7 years after he opened 25 bank accounts to defraud US residents of $3.4m
Olaniyi Nasiru Ojikutu a Nigeria 39-year-old man was sentenced to nearly seven and a half years in a United States prison for his role in a multi-year romance scheme.
According to US prosecutors, Ojikutu was a permanent legal resident of America. He opened approximately 25 bank accounts under his name and created a fake company name. The shell company name allowed him to transfer nearly $3.4 million worth of fraudulently obtained proceeds.
They revealed that Ojikutu was among nine others indicted in Operation Gold Phish in Chicago, which identified cybercrimes targeting older people.
Fox32Chicago reported that Ojikutu was sentenced on Wednesday to 88 months imprisonment. He was originally charged with wire fraud.
After he was charged, Ojikutu fled to Canada by bus but he was arrested seven months later, with the Canadian authorities turning him over to the United States in January 2020.
He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud last July.
Prosecutors said that schemers in the U.S. and Nigeria targeted the older citizens and built trust with them through an online romance before stealing money from them, John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, said in a statement.
Victims of the scam were contacted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and on the mobile dating app, Match.com.
Ojikutu used the fraudulently obtained funds for his own personal benefit, including purchasing vehicles in the United States and shipping them to Nigeria for resale, prosecutors said on Thursday. As a result of Ojikutu’s actions, some victims lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, federal prosecutors announced.
All but one of the nine defendants in federal custody have pled guilty in this case. The scam’s alleged leader, Daniel Samuel Eta, who is also known as Captain and Etaoko, 35, of Skokie has pleaded not guilty and his case is still pending, federal prosecutors said.