Eleven Individuals From Lagos, Nigeria Indicted For Conspiring To Commit Wire Fraud
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Badmus Yusuff Abayomi (29), Omo Oba Adekunle Abayomi (30), Yusuf Adesoji Adris (27), Abayomi Habeeb Ojo (25), Olaymei Afolabi Ojo (23), Akanni Fatai Olaiya (28), Seriki Abdulramon Oluwaseun (28), Adetayo Adekunle Oyemade (29), Edgar Ramos Ozil (34), Emmanuel Pius Osebomen (26), and Olaide Fatai Tijani (40), of Lagos, Nigeria, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
According to the indictment, the defendants, all Nigerian citizens, targeted multiple U.S. corporations with “phishing” e-mails requesting that the companies’ payroll/human resources personnel send IRS Forms W-2, containing employee personal identifying information, for review. They used “spoofed” email addresses, which masked the actual email address, making it appear as if the message was sent from a high-level manager within the victim companies. Numerous companies around the United States were victimized by this sophisticated scheme, including a local Jacksonville-based business.
The defendants, once they obtained the tens of thousands of employee W-2 Forms, used the information to file false federal income tax returns with the IRS claiming millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. To receive the fraudulent tax refunds generated from the scheme, the defendants used individuals in the United States to accept the proceeds and send the money to Lagos, Nigeria. In many instances, the individuals assisting in the United States were victims of a romance scheme, whereby the defendants developed online relationships using fake social media platforms.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Squad and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor.