Nine Nigerians, including the son of veteran Fuji musician, Kwam 1, have been arrested in the U.S and Nigeria as part of an international investigation into online “romance scams” and “mystery shopper” schemes that made victims lose at least $2 million over the past two years.
During the Chicago-based investigation, dubbed “Operation Gold Phish,” law enforcement identified a variety of cyber-enabled fraud schemes allegedly carried out by conspirators in the U.S. and Nigeria.
A criminal complaint filed Dec. 4, 2018, in U.S. District Court in Chicago charged nine defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Arrests were recently carried out in Illinois, Texas, and Nigeria, and all of the defendants are now in law enforcement custody.
The Nigerian EFCC is conducting a related investigation of other individuals in Nigeria.
Arrested on the U.S. charges in Illinois were Daniel Samuel Eta, 35, Babatunde Ladehinde Labiyi, 20, Barnabas Oghenerukevwe Edjieh, 29, Kwam 1’s son, Sultan Omogbadebo Anifowoshe, 26, aka Ayinde; Babatunde Ibraheem Akarigidi, 39, Miracle Ayokunle Okunola, 21, Olurotimi Akitunde Idowu, 55.
Adewale Anthony Adewumi, 27, was arrested in Texas, and Olaniyi Adeleye Ogungbaiye, 26, aka DonChiChi, was arrested in Lagos, Nigeria.
Once the group got the money, they funneled the proceeds into their personal bank accounts or overseas, often Nigeria, the affidavit said.
At least three times, the money was used to pay for vehicles on behalf of a Nigerian car company owned by one of the defendants. The charge in the complaint carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.