SA woman, Nigerian men admit plotting global online fraud

2016-12-17 14:47
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gulfport – A South African woman and six Nigerian men have admitted to being part of a global fraud network that used online dating sites to reach potential victims, the US Department of Justice said on Friday.

The seven Africans pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, department spokesperson Peter Carr said in an email.

They're among 21 defendants charged in federal court in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The investigation started in September 2011, when a Biloxi woman told police that a man she'd met online through a dating website had sent her cellular phones to repackage and reship, according to documents filed with Wednesday's and Thursday's guilty pleas.

She allowed Homeland Security investigators use her email account to correspond with the man.

Investigators learned that the conspiracy involved more than 200 people worldwide, led out of South Africa and Nigeria, according to court papers. They got warrants for 360 email accounts, obtaining about a million messages.

Laundry list of crimes

The Homeland Security Investigations office in New Orleans was involved, according to the news release.

The conspirators used email scripts to gain victims' affection and get them to send money and participate in other fraud schemes, according to the "statement of facts" backing up the guilty pleas.

It said those included depositing and then wiring someone else money from $29m in cheques and other "monetary instruments" that turned out to be counterfeit, repackaging and forwarding merchandise bought with more than 39 000 stolen credit card numbers, and using hundreds of thousands of dollars of counterfeit postal and private carrier shipping labels.

The US Postal Service alone lost $300 000, the statement said.

The group also took over victims' bank accounts and used several layers of "e-mules" to launder money, according to the documents.

Those who pleaded guilty this week were identified as Rhulane Fionah Hlungwane, 26, of South Africa, and Nigerians Gabriel Oludare Adeniran, 30; Olusegun Seyi Shonekan, 34; Taofeeq Olamilekan Oyelade, 32; Olufemi Obaro Omoraka, 27; Anuoluwapo Segun Adegbemigun, 40; and Adekunle Adefila, 41.

All but Adefila also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, access device fraud and theft of government funds, according to the news release.

Four of the 14 others charged in Mississippi have pleaded guilty, one is scheduled for trial on January 30 on new charges, two have died, two are awaiting extradition from Nigeria and two remain fugitives, Sheila Wilbanks, spokesperson for US Attorney Gregory Davis in Jackson, said in an email.

Read more on:    us  |  fraud  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.