Efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to track down some Nigerians declared wanted by Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, for fraud in the United State of America is beginning to yield results with the arrest of one of the suspects, Oyediran Joseph in Ilorin, Kwara State.
A series of arrests by the FBI in the US earlier this month, exposed one of the “most prolific” rings of Nigerian fraudsters operating in the country.
While 14 arrests have been made, a 252-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Thursday (August 23) named 80 defendants charged with defrauding victims of up to $10 million in one of the “largest cases of its kind in US history.”
The fraudsters used a variety of cyber fraud methods to attempt to steal $40 million in total from victims in 10 countries as well as the US.
One of those arrested in the 13-month long investigation, was celebrated young Nigerian billionaire, Obinwanne Okeke. Before his arrest, Okeke had posed as a successful entrepreneur and was featured on a Forbes 30-under-30 list as well a BBC Focus on Africa program.
Immediately after the FBI arrest, the Nigeria government urged Nigerians among the 80 persons indicted by the US for massive fraud to turn themselves in voluntarily or be extradited. The EFCC on it’s part, pledged to go after those names on the list .
Parading Oyediran, who is said to be one of the most wanted Nigerian fraudsters by FBI, EFCC Kwara zonal head, Isyaku Sharu told journalists that the government of United States of America had written the commission about two months ago to assist in arrest and possibly prosecute two suspected highly rated internet fraudsters who fled USA for Nigeria.
He said the commission promptly acceded to the request and commenced manhunt across the country which led to the arrest of one of the suspects in Ilorin.
Isyaku Sharu said the 36 years old suspect, Oyediran Joseph had benefited about N60 million loot through various western union transfer.
Said he: “The 36 years old suspect had benefited about N60million from the loot via Western Union Transfers. Three weeks ago, the US authority had written to us for assistance in tracking and possible arrest and prosecution of two most wanted FBI suspects in Nigeria. The commission acceded to their request.”
The commission has been supportive of the activities of the FBI and every other foreign counterpart whose responsibility is similar to ours.”
Isyaku also said that the zone had traced four properties linked to some cybercrime suspects in choice areas to Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
He said the properties include supermarket and plaza put in the region of between N800 million to one billion Naira.
He continued, “Within seven months of our operation, the Ilorin zonal office has independently arrested over 58 suspected internet fraudsters, secured conviction of 25 and got forfeiture of their exotic cars and money running into millions of Naira to the Federal Government.
The EFCC head also enjoined stakeholders to fight internet fraudsters and make cyber space free so that the nation’s economy can be better since many businesses all over the world are now being done through internet
He said,”We all know it is image that sells a product and nothing else. Our strength as a nation is dependent on the vibrancy of our economy which is a common denominator binding us together.
“Businesses worldwide are being conducted through the medium of cyber, this underscores the need for all of us to come together in fighting the scourge of internet fraud and cybercrime with a view to making the cyberspace well-fortified so that foreign investors can come in and invest to further boost our economy.”