…says ‘not all successful Nigerians abroad are fraudsters, criminals’
• $11m fraud: Invictus Obi for sentence Oct 22 in U.S.
Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, yesterday insisted that not all Nigerians ‘succeeding abroad are involved in fraudulent activities’. Dabiri-Erewa’s submission followed a statement credited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which disclosed that; “Nigeria’s most-wanted hacker, Ramo-ni Igbalode (aka Ray Hushpuppi), recently arrested by the International Police and the FBI; has considerable cases of cybercrimes being investigated by the EFCC.”
The anti-graft agency had further stated in a statement that “it is engaging with the FBI in tracing victims of his fraudulent transactions and other fraudsters having direct involvement with him. Local cyber-criminals with money laundering networks with him are also being investigated.”
But reacting via her verified handle on the micro- blogging site, Twitter; Dabiri-Erewa said the illicit actions of a few should not be used to tar all Nigerians. “Allegations against Ramoni Igbalode (aka Hushpuppi) running into millions in fraud. I stress again, not a yardstick to judge Nigerians excelling abroad. One bad apple should indeed not spoil the whole bunch,” she tweeted. In another development, a Nigerian entrepreneur based in the United States, Mr. Obinwanne Okeke (aka Invictus Obi) on Thursday appeared before an Eastern District of Virginia court; where he reportedly pleaded guilty to an $11 million scam.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in a statement, disclosed that Okeke and conspirators appeared before the Magistrate; Judge Robert Krask, on counts bordering on fraud, forgery, among others. Equally important 32-year-old Okeke operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group between 2015 and 2019. However, he was accused of fleecing unsuspecting victims of over $11 million.
Meanwhile, Okeke, who is 32 years old, is reported to have pleaded guilty to the charges and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, when sentenced on October 22, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The statement read: “The conspirators obtained and compiled the credentials of hundreds of victims; in-cluding victims in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere. “As part of the scheme, Okeke and others engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.
“In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials. The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. “Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, funds which were transferred overseas. Okeke pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”