Three Nigerian nationals have been extradited to the Southern District of Florida to face federal charges in connection with allegations of running an international fraud enterprise. Kennedy Ikponmwosa was extradited from Spain and appeared in front of US Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres on April 18. Iheanyichukwu Jonathan Abraham and Jerry Chucks Ozor were extradited from the United Kingdom today and will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eduardo I. Sanchez in Miami on Monday, May 1.
Ikponmwosa, 51, Ezennia Peter Neboh, 48, and Prince Amos Okey Ezemma, 49, are from Madrid, Spain, while Abraham, 44, Ozor, 43, and Emmanuel Samuel, 39, are from London, UK. They are facing federal charges in Miami, Florida. Neboh, Ikponmwosa, Abraham, Samuel, and Ozor were arrested in April 2022 by authorities in Madrid and London based on an indictment filed in the Southern District of Florida, and they have been imprisoned since then. On March 27, Samuel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The defendants are accused of running an inheritance fraud conspiracy, according to court documents. They allegedly sent personalized letters to elderly consumers in the United States for more than five years, falsely claiming that the sender was a representative of a bank in Spain and that the recipient was entitled to a multimillion-dollar inheritance left for the recipient by a family member who allegedly died years before in Spain. Victims were advised that in order to get their alleged inheritance, they needed to provide money for shipping costs, taxes, and payments in order to escape inquiry from government officials. Victims remitted money to the defendants via a complicated chain of former victims in the United States, whom the defendants persuaded to act as money mules. Victims who sent money, according to the indictment, never received their alleged inheritance cash.
“Wherever they are located, the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch will pursue and prosecute transnational criminals who defraud US consumers.” “I thank the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom for their tireless efforts in assisting US authorities in locating and apprehending these individuals so that they can face charges here in the United States,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department and U.S. law enforcement will continue to work closely with law enforcement partners across the globe to bring to justice criminals who attempt to defraud U.S. victims from outside the United States.”
“The United States Postal Inspection Service works tirelessly to protect our communities from predatory criminals who seek to abuse and exploit the most vulnerable members of our society,” stated Postal Inspector in Charge Juan A. Vargas of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Miami Division. “This case demonstrates how Postal Inspectors will aggressively pursue fraudsters and bring them to justice for the crimes they have committed.”
“These extraditions demonstrate that by bringing law enforcement agencies together, we can best focus on investigating individuals and illicit criminal organizations associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect vulnerable seniors,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “I want to thank everyone involved in this investigation and in the extradition process for their dedication; together we have the tools to keep our elderly from falling prey to these scams.”
All of the defendants are accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as mail and wire fraud. Both Neboh and Samuel have been extradited this year. Ikponmwosa, Abraham, and Ozor each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail if convicted. A federal district court judge will impose a sentence based on the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory circumstances.
The situation is being investigated by the Consumer Protection Branch, USPIS, and HSI.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Phil Toomajian and Trial Attorneys Josh Rothman and Brianna Gardner of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch. Critical assistance was offered by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Europol, and authorities from the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal.
-All Rights Reserved-
Permission to use any material, including text, still photograph, audio and video from this site is granted subject to permission being formally sought and, if granted, appropriate credit must duly be given to The News Room as the source.