3 Nigerians bags a total 235-year imprisonment

Three Nigerian scammers who befriended many of their victims on dating sites have been slammed huge prison sentences by a Mississippi court , after making tens of millions of dollars from their schemes .

Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan , 30 , was sentenced to 95 years in prison; Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31 , was given 115 years ; and Femi Alexander Mewase , 45 , got 25 years behind bars.

A court in the Southern District of Mississippi had, in February, found them all guilty of crimes , including mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft , credit card fraud and theft of government property .

Ayelotan and Raheem were also found guilty of conspiracies to commit bank fraud and money laundering .

Dating back to at least 2001 , the scammers were involved in multiple internet fraud schemes , resulting in losses in the tens of millions, according to the Department of Justice .

It claimed that they would befriend women on dating sites , establish a romantic relationship and then either get them to send money or have them participate in fraud schemes , usually without the victim ’ s knowledge.

The unsuspecting women would sometimes be required to cash counterfeit checks and money orders ; use stolen credit card details to purchase goods ; and use stolen personal information to take over victims ’ bank accounts.

They were also apparently used to launder money via Western Union and MoneyGram , and re - package and re - ship goods obtained fraudulently.

A whopping 21 defendants have already been charged in this ongoing case , 12 of whom have pleaded guilty to charges involving conspiracy and 11 of whom have been sentenced .

The three Nigerians were among the six extradited from South Africa by US Department of Justice in 2015 to face charges of running a series of scams against gullible Americans over the past 16 years .

Fourteen others resident in the US were also arrested to face trial in Gulfport , Mississippi on nine federal charges , including conspiracy to commit identity theft , wire fraud , bank fraud , theft of US government funds , and conspiracy to commit money laundering .

The indictment states that since 2001 the accused, were part of a string of scams against Americans , facilitated by internet communications .

These include the longstanding 419 scheme, whereby a massive windfall is promised once a small number of payments have been provided, but the DoJ claims it went much further than that .

The team was also accused of running romance stings to bilk the lonely of funds , shipping fraud , running fake work- from - home businesses , check fraud, and plain- old hijacking of other people’ s bank accounts and credit cards to divert funds .

Global fraud continues to grow thanks to the internet and an increase in the use of both anonymizing technology and bots designed to mimic human behavior.

ThreatMetrix , which analyzes 20 billion annual transactions , blocked 130 million fraud attempts in Q 1 alone , a 35 % increase on the same time last year .

However , it is Europe that has become a major fraud hotspot. There were 50 % more fraud attempts originating from the region than the US in the quarter, the firm claimed.
( NAN )

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