Skip to main content
Press Release

Two Nigerian Nationals Plead Guilty, and One Sentenced to Prison for International Inheritance Fraud Scheme That Defrauded Elderly U.S. Victims

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Two Nigerian nationals who were previously extradited to the United States from Spain pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud, and one Nigerian national who was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom was sentenced to 87 months in prison, all for their respective roles in an international inheritance fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Ezennia Peter Neboh, 48, Kennedy Ikponmwosa, 52, and Jerry Chucks Ozor, 43, were part of a group of fraudsters that sent personalized letters to elderly victims in the United States, falsely claiming that the sender was a representative of a bank in Spain and that the recipient was entitled to receive a multimillion-dollar inheritance left for the recipient by a family member who had died years before in Portugal. Victims were told that before they could receive their purported inheritance, they were required to send money for delivery fees and taxes, and also were instructed to make other payments. Victims sent money to the defendants through a complex web of U.S.-based former victims. The defendants convinced these former victims to receive money from new victims and then forward the fraud proceeds to others. On July 25, U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams sentenced Ozor to 87 months in prison for his role in the scheme. Ikponmwosa pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud on the same date. Earlier today, Neboh pleaded guilty to committing the same offense.

“The Justice Department's Consumer Protection Branch will continue to bring to justice international criminals responsible for defrauding U.S. consumers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Working together, U.S. and foreign law enforcement can and will thwart schemes such as the one charged in this case and prevent further losses to American victims.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has a long tradition of protecting American citizens from these types of schemes and bringing those responsible to justice,” said Inspector in Charge Juan A. Vargas of the USPIS Miami Division. “This result is a testament to the dedicated partnership between the Justice Department's Consumer Protection Branch, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the USPIS, to protect our citizens from these scams.”

“International criminal organizations using schemes that target and steal from the elderly will be held responsible for their despicable actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown of HSI Arizona. “This case demonstrates HSI’s commitment, with our partner law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad, to prove wrong those who believe they are beyond the reach of the law. I thank all the law enforcement agencies that dedicated countless hours to ensure that this investigation was successful.”

In June, Judge Williams sentenced Emmanuel Samuel, 39, of London, to 82 months in prison for his role in the scheme. During sentencing, Judge Williams said that it was important to send a message to international criminals who believe that “they would never have been caught” that they cannot prey on people in the United States “with impunity.” Sentencing is scheduled for Neboh and Ikponmwosa on Nov. 2 and Oct. 20, respectively.

The Consumer Protection Branch, USPIS, and HSI are investigating the case.

Senior Trial Attorney Phil Toomajian and Trial Attorneys Josh Rothman and Brianna Gardner of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Europol and authorities from the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal all provided critical assistance.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Justice Department hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.

More information about the department’s efforts to help American seniors is available at its Elder Justice Initiative webpage. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Justice Department provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office for Victims of Crime, which can be reached at

Updated August 9, 2023

Elder Justice
Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 23-869