Nigerian Akhabue Onoimoimilin Jailed In U.S. For $2 mMillion Scams

July 8, 2021
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Akhabue Onoimoimilin, aka David Harrison, a 29-year-old Nigerian, has been imprisoned in the United States for $2 million fraud.

Mr Onoimoimilin, who lives in Houston, was sentenced to 87 months in jail by a federal judge in Austin on Wednesday.

He was arrested and charged with money laundering for his role in a scheme that defrauded victims of more than $2.2 million through Business Email Compromise (BEC) and romance scams.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered Mr. Onoimoimilin to pay $865,210.78 in restitution to his victims and to be placed on supervised release for two years following his release from prison.

Mr Pitman also entered a $50,605 money judgment against Mr Onoimoimilin for the revenues of the scam.

Mr Onoimoimilin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money on February 2, 2021, acknowledging that he used a forged foreign passport in the name of David Harrison to open bank accounts in Austin and Houston prior to June 2015.

Mr. Onoimoimilin used these bank accounts to receive, launder, and disburse wire payments to coconspirators who were receiving BEC and romance scheme proceeds illegally.

The Nigerian received between 10% and 15% of more than $420,000 in fraudulently obtained monies as a reward for his services.

“The forms of fraud perpetrated by Mr Onoimoimilin not only have long-term consequences for the victims, but they also jeopardize the integrity of our country’s financial systems,” said Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio Division special agent Tim Tubbs.

Scammers target organizations and individuals that make wire transfer payments, particularly those with access to company money, in a BEC operation. The employees are duped into sending wire transfers to bank accounts that appear to belong to trusted partners, but the funds land up in the hands of the scammers.

Scammers can employ computer intrusion techniques to change the recipients’ bank accounts on genuine payment request emails. They occasionally send faked emails from email addresses that look similar to those used by trustworthy partners.

Con artists, many of whom are based outside the United States, analyze established online dating services and target victims who appear lonely based on their profiles. Fraudsters construct phony profiles and prey on the victims’ emotional vulnerabilities.

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