U.S. Federal prosecutors claim that 80 suspects, mostly Nigerians, have been indicted for a widespread conspiracy that scams out millions of dollars of elderly people and companies.
Through various schemes such as romance scams and business email compromise claims, they face charges of stealing at least $46 million (Ksh. 460 million).
“These victims are mainly used as cash mules, enabling their bank accounts to be used to transfer stolen funds,” said Paul Delacourt, FBI Assistant Director at Charge, as cited on ABC7.
CNN revealed that on Thursday in the United States, law enforcement officers detained 14 individuals; 11 from South Carolina.
While announcing an unsealed 252-count accusation, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles informed journalists that the suspects were laundering the cash after their victims had received it.
Nigeria’s Premium Times released a list of the 77 suspected Nigerian fraudsters showing that most of them live in Nigeria and coordinated receipt of funds.
According to the Associated Press, when they announced the indictment of the 80 suspects, federal authorities cited the case of a Japanese woman, known only as “F.K.”
“We think this is one of the biggest in U.S. history instances of its kind,” U.S. Nick Hanna’s attorney informed a news conference. “To disrupt these criminal networks, we are taking a significant move.”
All defendants will face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft.