US Government Arrests Nigerians, Others Over $9.5Million Fraud Scheme

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US Government Arrests Nigerians, Others Over $9.5Million Fraud Scheme

The United States of America Attorney’s Office, Maryland District, has revealed that as a result of a law enforcement operation carried out on February 7, 10 persons were arrested.

The arrests were made at locations throughout Maryland. Also, three search warrants were executed related to an alleged money laundering conspiracy involving more than $9.5 million in proceeds from fraud schemes.

The suspects are believed to include at least two Nigerians.

The Attorney’s Office which made this known in a statement issued on Thursday said that law enforcement agents from the Homeland Security Investigations Mid-Atlantic El-Dorado Task Force, the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service participated in the searches and arrests.

The statement added that additional suspects were at large.

The statement further noted that a federal grand jury in Maryland returned two indictments in 2023 that were unsealed upon the arrests of the defendants.

The statement identified the arrested suspects in a Case Number: 23-CR-411 (MJM) to include: 38-year-old Adanegbe Gift Osemwenkhae, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland; 26-year-old Emily Gil Arias, of Silver Spring, Maryland; 30-year-old Fatoumata Boiro, of Largo, Maryland; 31-year-old Lakeisha Parker, of Baltimore; 35-year-old Martin Ogisi, of Severn, Maryland; 30-year-old Blondel Ndjouandjouaka, of Silver Spring, Maryland; 33-year-old Kevin Colon, of Curtis Bay, Maryland and 27-year-old Lorena Perez Herrera, of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Also arrested in Case Number: 23-CR-304 (MJM) were 40-year-old Yahye Sowe, popularly known as “Cash,” of Largo, Maryland and 24-year-old Areal El-Lovieta Harris, of Hanover, Maryland.

The Attorney’s Office stated that the defendants had initial appearances on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Austin after their arrest.

“Osemwenkhae, Ogisi, and Ndjouandjouaka consented to detention, Sowe and Boiro were detained pending detention hearings scheduled for February 9, 2024, and the remaining defendants were released on conditions under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.

“The indictments were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Baltimore; Special Agent in Charge Kareem A. Carter of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), Washington, D.C. Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Nicolas Evans of the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General (“EPA OIG”); and Special Agent in Charge Ken DeChellis, of the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Cyber Field Office (“DCIS”).

According to the indictments, the defendants allegedly created and used limited liability companies and other shell businesses to open bank accounts on which the shell entities were listed as the account holders.

“Members of the conspiracy had signature authority for the bank accounts, at times using aliases or stolen identities.

“The defendants and their co-conspirators used the bank accounts to receive money obtained from the fraud victims.

“The victims included government agencies, organizations, and companies, such as an environmental trust, an urban redevelopment program, a medical center, a transportation and logistics company, a school district, a college, and a county government, among others,”
the statement added.

It further stated that some of the co-conspirators obtained and used forged and counterfeited identification documents, including documents bearing the names of individual identity theft victims.

“As detailed in the indictments, the victims were deceived into sending money to the conspirators’ bank accounts based on false pretenses, such as being provided with false bank account information for legitimate vendor payments and false wire transfer information for legitimate transactions.

“After the fraudulently obtained funds were received in the bank accounts, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in financial transactions to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the money through cash withdrawals, the purchase of cashier’s checks, debit card transactions, and by transferring funds to other bank accounts controlled by the conspirators.

“According to the indictments, the defendants obtained and used a portion of the fraud proceeds for themselves.”


According to the statement, the defendants allegedly used some of the fraud proceeds to purchase vehicles, some of which were shipped or attempted to be shipped outside the United States.


“As alleged in the indictment, the defendants also engaged in international financial transactions and caused fraud proceeds to be sent outside the United States.

“The indictment further alleges that the defendants in case 23-CR-411 (MJM) and their co-conspirators collectively conducted and attempted to conduct financial transactions involving more than $9.5 million in fraud proceeds.

“The indictment in 23-CR-304 (MJM) alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators conducted and attempted to conduct financial transactions involving more than $2 million in fraud proceeds.

“If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy and for each count of money laundering.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

“An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

“United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the HSI Mid-Atlantic El Dorado Task Force, IRS-CI, EPA-OIG, and DCIS for their work in the investigation and recognized the Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments for their assistance.

“Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Stephanie Williamson, who are prosecuting these cases.  He also recognized the assistance of the Paralegal Specialist Joanna B.N. Huber.”

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