fewer than 80 suspects, predominantly Nigerians, have been apprehended in an ongoing comprehensive investigation related to fraud cases, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, has announced.
The FBI made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday.
Nick Hanna, US attorney, said the fraud cases involved suspects conniving with federal and state agents to defraud unsuspecting victims of their money.
Hanna averred that some of the victims were targeted specifically because they were elderly or vulnerable.
He said a total of 80 suspects’many of whom are from Nigeria’have been arrested and charged to court with 57 more being hounded worldwide.
He said: “FBI agents along with federal and state law enforcement authorities arrested a total of 14 defendants in the US, all named in a sweeping fraud and money laundering case.
“Those arrested today are among 80 defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges that millions of dollars were taken from victims through a variety of scams and online frauds.
“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. BEC scam is used to hack email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either completely bogus or that should have been otherwise paid to legitimate companies.
“Indictments showed very specific allegations against this suspects many of whom are based in Nigeria in terms of stealing money from victims. The indictment also focuses on those responsible for enabling these fraud schemes including operatives in Los Angeles.”
He added that a total of 252 count charges ranging from “conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aggravated identity theft” have been filed against the suspects.