Norwich Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Offenses Stemming from Scheme that Victimized Women Through Social Media Accounts
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England, today announced that on May 23, 2023, DEXTER ENWEREM, 36, of Norwich, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty in Bridgeport federal court to fraud and tax offenses stemming from a scheme that defrauded women approached through their social media accounts.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately September 2019 and March 2021, Enwerem participated in a scheme to defraud individuals, primarily women, who were contacted through their Facebook and Instagram accounts. As part of the scheme, a co-conspirator of Enwerem would use a false identity and make false representations to approach and befriend victims through the social media platforms. As the relationship progressed, the co-conspirator would sometimes move the communication to Google Hangouts, an online platform that allows users to communicate by video call or direct chat message. Eventually, the co-conspirator would request money from the victim based on various false representations of need. The victims would then send money by wire transfers, checks, money orders, and cash. Some of the money was wired into bank accounts that Enwerem controlled, and some was sent in packages to an address where Enwerem could receive them.
Through this scheme, Enwerem and his co-conspirators defrauded victims of approximately $450,000. Enwerem wired approximately $220,000 of these funds to bank accounts in Nigeria. In response to bank officials who questioned the nature of these wire transfers, Enwerem falsely stated that the recipients were family members and that the funds were intended to take care of his grandmother, and for household expenses.
Enwerem also failed to pay taxes on the income he fraudulently obtained.
Enwerem pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. As part of his plea, he has agreed to pay restitution of $449,189 to his victims, and $127,299 in back taxes for the 2019 and 2020 tax years.
Enwerem was arrested on related state charges on March 24, 2021. He is released on a $200,000 bond pending sentencing, which is not scheduled.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Connecticut Cyber Task Force (CCTF), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the Norwich Police Department, with the assistance of the Hartford Police Department.
The FBI’s CCTF is staffed with detectives from the Connecticut State Police’s Cyber Crimes Investigation Unit and the Bristol, Hartford, Stamford, and UConn Police Departments, as well as an agent from the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. To contact the CCTF or report a cyber incident, please call the FBI’s New Haven Field Office at 203-777-6311 or file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry.
Updated May 25, 2023