Omaha, Nebraska – October 14, 2023
A Nigerian Alex Ogunshakin, previously on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, has been successfully extradited from Nigeria to Nebraska, United States, to face charges related to a $6 million fraud scheme.
Ogunshakin, 40, along with his accomplices, tricked employees of various businesses into wire transfers and exploited individuals by posing as a romantic interest. His extradition comes after extensive cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian authorities.
Ogunshakin was apprehended in Nigeria following his indictment in 2019, filed in Omaha, Nebraska, for his involvement in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded more than 70 businesses in the District of Nebraska and beyond from January 2015 to September 2016.
The indictment alleges that Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators, including Richard Uzuh, orchestrated the scheme by impersonating high-ranking executives of targeted companies. They used spoofed email accounts to direct employees to complete wire transfers, duping them into believing the requests were legitimate.
Two companies in Nebraska were particularly hard hit, losing over $530,000 in the scam. Ogunshakin’s role allegedly involved providing bank account details to his partners, who then instructed victims to transfer funds into accounts controlled by the criminals. These accounts, primarily sourced from victims of internet romance scams, were used to funnel the ill-gotten money.
Several of Ogunshakin’s co-conspirators have already been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the scheme. Adewale Aniyeloye, Pelumi Fawehinimi, and Onome Ijomone received substantial prison terms and were ordered to pay significant restitution amounts.
FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel emphasized the significance of Ogunshakin’s extradition, stating, “His indictment, arrest, and extradition should send a message to his co-conspirators and other cybercriminals: The FBI will remain vigilant in their pursuit of criminals both domestic and abroad. Disrupting these cybercriminal groups and their victimization of U.S. persons and businesses is a priority for the FBI, DOJ, and our international law enforcement partners.”
The FBI’s report on the Business Email Compromise (BEC) revealed alarming statistics, with losses exceeding $2.4 billion in nearly 20,000 BEC-related complaints received in 2021. Globally, BEC and email account compromise (EAC) losses surpassed $43 billion. To curb such activities, the Department of Treasury had previously imposed sanctions against Ogunshakin, Uzuh, and four other Nigerian nationals in 2020, freezing their assets and prohibiting interactions with them.
As of now, Ogunshakin’s alleged co-conspirators, Richard Uzuh, Felix Okpoh, Abiola Kayode, and Nnamdi Benson, remain at large, prompting ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to bring them to justice.
The extradition of Alex Ogunshakin serves as a stark reminder that cybercriminals will be pursued relentlessly, regardless of borders, and highlights the commitment of international law enforcement agencies to safeguard businesses and individuals from online fraud. Ogunshakin is currently in detention pending trial, which is anticipated to be a significant step toward delivering justice for the victims of this elaborate scam.
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