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Press Release

Nigerian Man Pleads Guilty to Online Fraud Schemes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Nigerian man pleaded guilty yesterday to his role in online fraud schemes after being extradited from the United Kingdom.

Happy Chukwuma, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for May 5, 2023. Chukwuma was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2019. He was arrested and detained in the United Kingdom at the request of the United States in September 2022 and extradited to the United States in March 2023.  

Between November 2015 and January 2019, Chukwuma and his co-conspirators participated in a variety of online fraud schemes, including “phishing” and romance scams. They exchanged victims’ personally identifiable information, including identification and financial documents, and engaged in financial transactions with that information. Several of the victims whose information was compromised were from Massachusetts.  

Phishing schemes mimic the appearance of legitimate websites to gather victims’ online credentials, including usernames, passwords, financial account information, social security numbers and other types of personal identifiable information. In romance scams, perpetrators generally create fictitious online personas to develop online romantic relationships with individuals in the United States, and then leverage those relationships to obtain money and property.

The charge of wire fraud conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police National Extradition Unit provided critical assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Chukwuma.

Updated April 11, 2023

Financial Fraud