Skip to main content
Press Release

Four Individuals Charged in Connection With Business Email Compromise Schemes and Related Romance Schemes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendants Allegedly Participated in Fraudulent Schemes That Resulted in More Than $50 Million in Losses by Victims in New York City and Across the Country

Today, indictments were unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging four defendants for their participation in a series of fraudulent business email compromise (BEC) schemes and related romance schemes that resulted in more than $50 million in losses by individuals and small businesses located within the Eastern District of New York and throughout the United States.  The defendants Animashaun Adebo, Idowu Ademoroti, Nelson Ojeriakhi and Noguan Marvellous Eboigbe, together with their network of co-conspirators, misappropriated victim funds and laundered them through shell company accounts in the United States and abroad, sometimes using unsuspecting middlemen, including escrow attorneys and other victims, to further obscure the audit trail and disassociate the funds from the frauds.   

Adebo was arrested yesterday in Chicago, Illinois.  Ademoroti was arrested yesterday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, and will be arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo in federal court in Brooklyn.  Ojeriakhi was arrested previously in Paris, France, and remains in custody pending the resolution of extradition proceedings.  Adebo will be arraigned in the Eastern District of New York at a later date.  Eboigbe remains at large.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Patrick J. Freaney, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Secret Service, New York Field Office (USSS), announced the arrests and charges.

“As alleged, from breaking hearts to breaking into email accounts, no scheme was too depraved for the defendants and their network of criminal associates to steal over $50 million from innocent victims in Brooklyn and throughout the country,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “Business email compromise schemes like these cause devastating financial losses and other harm to victims.  The indictments unsealed today charge perpetrators at every step of the schemes – from executing the frauds to laundering and receiving the proceeds.  Prosecuting online criminal actors and recovering the victims’ stolen funds is a priority of this Office.”

“Today’s indictment is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they can target innocent victims through sophisticated cyber fraud and get away with it,” said USSS Special-Agent-in-Charge Freaney.  “Through deception and lies the alleged ringleaders schemed unwitting victims of more than 50 million dollars, leaving a wake of anguish in their path. I am incredibly proud of the investigators and prosecutors who were relentless in bringing accountability to these crimes.”

A BEC scheme is a form of cyber-enabled financial fraud.  In a typical BEC scheme, a malicious actor compromises legitimate business email accounts through computer intrusion techniques or social engineering and uses those accounts to cause the unauthorized transfer of funds.  Techniques for perpetrating these schemes include identity theft, spoofing of emails and websites and the use of malware.  Confidence fraud is another form of cyber-enabled financial fraud.  In a typical confidence fraud, a malicious actor befriends and gains the confidence of another individual through online communications and uses that confidence to cause the transfer of funds for unauthorized purposes.  A romance scheme is a type of confidence fraud wherein the perpetrator adopts a fictitious online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust.  The perpetrator then uses the illusion of a romantic relationship to cause the transfer of funds for unauthorized purposes.   

Between April 2021 and March 2022, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly orchestrated a series of fraudulent BEC schemes and related romance schemes and laundered and received proceeds from the fraudulent schemes.  As one part of the BEC schemes, victim-individuals involved in real estate transactions received fraudulent emails purporting to be from legitimate parties to those transactions.  The emails instructed them to wire funds they believed to be related to the real estate transactions to specified bank accounts.  The fraudulent email accounts that contacted the victims closely resembled, but were slightly different from, the email addresses of the legitimate parties to the transaction (a process known as “spoofing”). 

As another part of the BEC schemes, employees of victim-companies received fraudulent emails purporting to be from legitimate vendors or other business partners of those companies directing them to transfer funds to specified bank accounts.  The employees were also defrauded through email spoofing and received fraudulent emails from accounts that closely resembled, but were slightly different from, the email addresses of the legitimate vendors and business partners. 

In each case, after the victims executed the wires in accordance with the fraudulent instructions, the transferred funds were misappropriated from the victims and sent to and through accounts controlled by the defendants and their co-conspirators.  As described below, the defendants played varying roles in the schemes.       

Animashaun Adebo, also known as “Kazeem” and “Kazeem Animashaun,” was charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to receive stolen funds and receipt of stolen funds.  As alleged, Adebo conspired to perpetrate multiple internet-based fraud schemes on victims and directed others to launder the proceeds of those schemes through shell company accounts, through the purchase of luxury watches, and through an illegal money exchange operation run by his co-defendant Ademoroti.  Adebo ultimately received fraudulent proceeds in corporate bank accounts located in Nigeria.  If convicted, Adebo faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges, five years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy to receive stolen funds charge, and 10 years’ imprisonment on the receipt of stolen funds charge. 

Idowu Ademoroti was charged with money laundering conspiracy, operating an illegal money transmitting business, conspiracy to receive stolen funds and receipt of stolen funds.   As alleged, Ademoroti laundered and received fraudulent proceeds of the schemes perpetrated by Adebo and others through the operation of an illegal money exchange business in which he facilitated the trading of fraudulent dollar proceeds to individuals overseas in exchange for Nigerian naira.  If convicted, Ademoroti faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on the money laundering conspiracy charge, five years’ imprisonment on the illegal money transmitting business charge, five years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy to receive stolen funds charge, and 10 years’ imprisonment on the receipt of stolen funds charge.  

Noguan Marvellous Eboigbe, also known as “Randall Olson,” “Martin Roberto” and “Carlos Eduardo,” was charged with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions over $10,000 for facilitating the flow of more than $10 million in fraudulent proceeds from victims to the defendants and their co-conspirators.  Using false identities, Eboigbe contacted law firms that provided escrow services and posing as a potential client, told them that he would send them funds for a business transaction, and instructed them to wire those funds to specified accounts.  However, the funds received by the attorneys were in fact fraudulent proceeds of the real estate and corporate BEC schemes described above and were sent unwittingly by the victims.  If convicted, Eboigbe, who is on the USSS Most Wanted list, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering charges and 10 years’ imprisonment on the unlawful monetary transactions charge.

Nelson Ojeriakhi, also known as “Ojeey Mami” and “Oba Millie,” was charged with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy for sending spoof emails to unsuspecting victims in order to misappropriate millions of dollars from them in connection with the schemes described above.  The funds were subsequently laundered by the defendants and their co-conspirators.  Ojeriakhi was arrested in Paris, France on April 18, 2023.  If convicted, Ojeriakhi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud charges. 

A fifth co-conspirator, Franziska Von Greve-Dierfeld, was previously charged with money laundering conspiracy for receiving and disbursing fraudulent proceeds from the schemes described above in shell company accounts she created.  Von Greve-Dierfeld was arrested in May 2022 and pleaded guilty to charges in connection with her conduct.  Von Greve-Dierfeld served time in custody and, following the completion of her sentence, returned to Germany pursuant to a judicial order of removal from the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York conducts presentations by Assistant U.S. Attorneys about ways to protect yourself and your community against scams, especially those targeting financial exploitation. To request a presentation please email USANYE-SpeakersBureau@usdoj.gov.

The charges in the indictments are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew D. Reich and Daniel J. Marcus are in charge of the prosecution with the assistance of Paralegal Specialists Liam McNett and Jacob Menz. 

The Defendants:

ANIMASHAUN ADEBO (also known as “Kazeem” and “Kazeem Animashaun”)
Age: 39
Chicago, Illinois

IDOWU ADEMOROTI
Age: 31
Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Atlanta, Georgia

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 24-CR-239 (PKC)

NOGUAN MARVELLOUS EBOIGBE (also known as “Randall Olson,” “Martin Roberto” and “Carlos Eduardo”)
Age: 44
Lagos, Nigeria

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 24-CR-240 (PKC)

NELSON OJERIAKHI (also known as “Ojeey Mami” and “Oba Millie”)
Age: 31
Lagos, Nigeria 

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-188 (PKC)

FRANZISKA VON GREVE-DIERFELD
Age: 79
Aachen, Germany

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-033 (BMC)

Contact

John Marzulli                                         
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 12, 2024

Attachment
Topics
Cybercrime
Financial Fraud