US Seeks To Seize $2 Million From Nigerian Man Arrested For Romance Scam
Nigerian man living in Georgia has been arrested and had his first appearance in federal court in Atlanta on charges of laundering the proceeds of romance scams that targeted victims in the Eastern District of North Carolina and throughout the United States.
According to court documents seen by SaharaReporters, Oluwadamilare Kolaogunbule, aka “Dare” opened, maintained, and controlled multiple bank accounts, referred to as “drop accounts” that were used to receive, move, and obscure criminal proceeds, including funds derived from romance scams.
A romance scam refers to a scheme in which scammers create fake profiles on Internet dating sites to identify victims, form fraudulent romantic relationships with them, and then exploit them for profit.
According to the allegations in the indictment, co-defendant Samuel Ugberaese, a/k/a” “Putsammy” a Nigerian national, and his co-conspirators, used romance scam techniques, including false stories and promises, as a means to defraud victims into transferring money on their behalf.
It is alleged that Kolaogunbule conspired with Ugberaese to conduct financial transactions through his bank accounts, including accounts registered to purported Georgia export companies, to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the criminal proceeds.
The indictment seeks a forfeiture money judgment for at least $2,367,520 related to the schemes.
Kolaogunbule is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and faces a maximum penalty of 240 months in prison if convicted.
“Romance scams are among the most prolific and despicable crimes of the digital age. Con artists outside of our borders stalk Internet dating websites for the sole purpose of taking advantage of individuals looking for companionship” stated United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr.
“They make false promises of love, but the victims—many of whom are older Americans—find only emotional and financial devastation. The losses associated with these crimes is staggering. According to theFBI’ss Internet Crime Complaint Center, romance scams produce greater reported financial losses than other online crimes.
“In 2019 alone, romance scams generated reported losses over $475 million. To move these criminal proceeds in and out of our financial system, the scammers often rely on domestic money launderers to help them avoid detection and maximise their profits.
“Disrupting these criminal networks and vindicating the rights of victims to see justice, with targeted investigations and prosecutions, will continue to be a top priority for my office.
“It takes a heartless person to prey on lonely, elderly people. Some of these victims were essentially robbed of their life savings so these conspirators could profit.”
“The FBI and our law enforcement partners are focused on holding offenders accountable who rip off our senior citizens,” said Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Charlotte.
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Kidnapping Spree Hits Northern Nigeria: Eight Abducted in Dan Honu Attack
Gunmen targeted the Dan Honu community in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state, abducting at least eight people in the latest incident of kidnapping for ransom in the region.
This form of criminal activity has become increasingly prevalent in northwest Nigeria, where armed gangs, locally known as bandits, have been wreaking havoc, targeting schools, villages, and travelers.
As a result, it has become perilous to travel by road or engage in farming activities in certain areas.
The attack occurred late on Tuesday in the Chikum local government area of Kaduna state. While the police are actively investigating the incident, residents shared harrowing experiences.
Mohammed Danjuma, a resident who narrowly escaped the abduction, reported that approximately 16 people were taken, but eight managed to evade capture.
During the attack, a vigilant member of the community fired a shot into the air, creating enough disturbance to unsettle the bandits, who subsequently left.
Malam Suleiman, another resident who was initially kidnapped, seized an opportunity to escape while being led into the bushes. Unfortunately, his teenage sons were among those taken by the assailants.
These incidents add to the pervasive insecurity in Nigeria, which includes a longstanding 14-year Islamist insurgency in the northeast and ongoing deadly clashes between farmers and herders in the central region.
Authorities are grappling with the multifaceted challenges posed by these security threats, seeking comprehensive solutions to safeguard the well-being of the population.
Fidelity Bank Set to Host 2 Days of Family Entertainment
In the spirit of the Yuletide, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host the maiden edition of the Fidelity Family Weekend.
Scheduled to hold on Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 December 2023 at the Fidelity Grounds, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event is designed to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for children to play, parents to relax and young adults to unwind during the festive season.
“The Yuletide season is all about coming together and spending quality time with loved ones especially as we wind down the year in anticipation of a new year. As a bank committed to providing memorable experiences for its clients, we pioneered the Fidelity Family Weekend to
fete host our customers and clients to two fun filled days of family entertainment. We believe this is one more way of thanking our customers for a successful year,” noted the Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Meksley Nwagboh, Ph.D. in a chat with journalists.
The Fidelity Family Weekend would run from 10am to 10pm daily and would feature dedicated fun activities for children including dancing competitions, bouncing castles, train rides, Santa’s Grotto, balloon games, amongst others.
Similarly, the programme for the adults’ section would feature exciting activities like karaoke competitions, games arcades, couple games, musical performances and so many more fun games that are geared towards providing a memorable experience for guests.
Entry into the event is free but guests are required to pre-register at www.fidelitybank.ng/family-weekend before 12 December 2023.
Commenting further, Dr Nwagboh said, “As a bank dedicated to helping individuals grow, businesses thrive and economies to prosper, we boast of an array of products and services for our diverse client base. These include the Fidelity SWEETA account for young children below the age of 17 years, Fidelity Flex for teenagers and undergraduates; and even the Fidelity Vintage Account for senior citizens; all tailor-made to meet our customers specific needs. The Fidelity Family Weekend is therefore another demonstration of this devotion to provide platforms for our customers to fulfill their lifestyle requirements”.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
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