SAN FRANCISCO, March 15, (THEWILL) – US Federal agents have arrested twenty-four individuals, including some Nigerians, for their involvement in a large-scale fraud and money laundering operation that targeted citizens, corporations, and financial institutions throughout the United States.
The defendants allegedly used business email compromise schemes, romance fraud scams, and retirement account scams, among other frauds, to dupe numerous victims into losing more than $30 million.
“Fraud schemes, like the ones perpetrated and facilitated by these defendants, inflict considerable losses on citizens, companies, and the financial system,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
“Some of these schemes target the elderly and often deplete the victims’ entire life savings. These arrests affirm the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens.”
“No one deserves to have their hard-earned money stolen from them, so identifying and arresting these defendants makes everyone in the community safer,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama.
“Foreign nationals arrested in this scheme will be placed into removal proceedings upon completion of their criminal sentence,” he said making reference to foreigners, including Nigerians, among the defendants.
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: The defendants served as money launderers for other individuals throughout the world who conducted cyber-enabled fraud, including business email compromise schemes, romance scams, and retirement account scams, targeted at companies and individuals across the United States.
He said the defendants and their co-conspirators laundered over $30 million in fraud proceeds. The defendants created multiple sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income, or pay wages to employees.
In turn, the defendants opened business bank accounts at multiple financial institutions to facilitate receipt of the fraudulent money.
The defendants also opened personal bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds, often using false identities and victims’ identities.
After funds were deposited into the defendants’ bank accounts, the money was quickly withdrawn from the accounts and circulated among the defendants.
The following individuals have been charged with money laundering conspiracy:
Darius Sowah Okang, a/k/a Michael J. Casey, a/k/a Richard Resser, a/k/a Thomas Vaden, a/k/a Michael Lawson, a/k/a Matthew Reddington, a/k/a Michael Little, 29, of Stone Mountain, Georgia;
Dominique Raquel Golden, a/k/a Desire Tamakloe, a/k/a Mellissa Moore, a/k/a Nicole Nolay, a/k/a Raquel Roberts, a/k/a Maria Henderson, a/k/a Raquel Golden, 29, of Houston, Texas;
Blessing Oluwatimilehin Ojo, a/k/a “Timmy,” 34, of Nigeria;
George Kodjo Edem Adatsi, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Desire Elorm Tamakloe, a/k/a “Chubby,” 25, of Smyrna, Georgia;
Solomon Agyapong, a/k/a “Gumpe,” 31, of Marietta, Georgia;
Afeez Olaide Adeniran, a/k/a “Ola,” 31, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Francesco Benjamin, a/k/a “B-More,” 30, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Jonathan Kojo Agbemafle, a/k/a “Skinny,” 26, of Kansas City, Missouri;
Joshua Roberts, a/k/a “Onyx,” 28, of Houston, Texas;
Hamza Abdallah, a/k/a Reggie Lewis, 30, of McDonough, Georgia;
Prince Sheriff Okai, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
Kelvin Prince Boateng, 24, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Monique Wheeler, 29, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Matthan Bolaji Ibidapo, a/k/a “B.J.,” 27, of Colorado Springs, Colorado;
Stephen Abbu Jenkins, a/k/a “Face,” a/k/a Steven Abbu Jenkins, Steven Jenkins, Steve Jenkins, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Kahlia Andrea Siddiqui, 28, of Chamblee, Georgia;
Alexus Ciera Johnson, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
Abubakar Sadik Ibrahim, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
Emanuela Joe Joseph, 34, of Lawrenceville, Georgia;
Obinna Nwosu, 26, of Douglasville, Georgia;
Ojebe Obewu Ojebe, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia; and
Gregory Thomas Hudson, 38, of Powder Springs, Georgia.
In addition, two related cases charging additional defendants with various counts of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and conspiracies to commit these offenses are currently pending in federal court in Atlanta. These defendants include:
Benjamin Ibukunoluwa Oye, 26, of Sandy Springs, Georgia;
Tyler Keon Roussell, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Christopher Akinwande Awonuga, 27, of Fayetteville, Georgia;
Casey Broderick Williams, 26, of Covington, Georgia;
Macario Lee Nelson, a/k/a “Mac,” 24, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Chadrick Jamal Rhodes, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Chadwick Osbourne Stewart, 40, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Oumar Bouyo Mbodj, 28, of Kennesaw, Georgia;
Seth Appiah Kubi, 60, of Dacula, Georgia;
Ahamefule Aso Odus, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia;
Paul Chinonso Anyanwu, 27, of Hampton, Georgia;
Egale Veonzell Woods, Jr., 41, of East Point, Georgia;
Chineda Obilom Nwakadu, 25, of McDonough, Georgia;
Chukwukadibia Ikechukwu Nnadozie, a/k/a “Chuka,” a/k/a Michael McCord, 27, of Fayetteville, Georgia;
Uchechi Chidimma Odus, a/k/a “Uche,” 23, of Atlanta, Georgia;
John Ifeoluwa Onimole, 27, of Powder Springs, Georgia; and
Oluwafunmilade Onamuti, a/k/a Mathew Kelvin, 26, of Duluth, Georgia.