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Press Release

Federal Jury Finds Nigerian Man Guilty of Money Laundering and Aiding and Abetting Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud

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

BISMARCK – United States Attorney Mac Schneider announced that on May 16, 2024, after a four-day trial, a federal jury found Nigerian citizen Christopher Agbaje guilty on charges of 1) Money Laundering; 2) Aiding and Abetting Wire Fraud; and 3) Aiding and Abetting Mail Fraud. The jury found Agbaje not guilty on charges of 1) Wire Fraud; and 2) Mail Fraud. United States District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor presided over Agbaje’s jury trial in Bismarck, North Dakota, after Agbaje was extradited to North Dakota from the United Kingdom.

As demonstrated at trial, between November and December 2020, the defendant participated with others in a sophisticated scheme to defraud a North Dakota law firm out of $198,336.68. As part of this scheme, individuals falsely purported to be a business owner in a legal dispute with a Bismarck, North Dakota, company and entered into a fictious attorney-client relationship with this law firm. Through email communications, these individuals made false statements and promises, upon which the law firm relied to their detriment. Thereafter, the law firm received a parcel containing a fraudulent Citibank check payable to the law firm in the amount of $198,850.00 and deposited this check in the law firm’s bank account. Subsequently, at the purported business owner’s request, the law firm sent a $198,336.68 wire transfer to Agbaje’s business partner. A short time later, Agbaje directed his business partner to fraudulently initiate a $180,000.00 international wire transfer with the intent to conceal the location, ownership, and control of the law firm’s money.

“Our determined career prosecutors and their law enforcement partners will cross oceans to bring international fraudsters to justice when they target North Dakota,” Schneider said. “I commend our trial team for the hard work and skill that went into this result. Combatting fraud — whether it’s homegrown or from overseas — will continue to be a high priority for the United States Attorney’s Office.” 

"The FBI will aggressively investigate individuals, like Christopher Agbaje, who engage in fraudulent schemes at the expense of the American public," said Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston Sr. of FBI Minneapolis. "The guilty verdict today underscores the FBI, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, and the North Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office's dedication to collaborating with global partners in tackling fraud on an international scale to protect the American people."

The District Court will schedule Agbaje’s sentencing hearing for a date and time to be determined.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan J. O’Konek and Nick Baker. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance with securing the arrest and extradition of Agbaje.



Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7400

Updated May 17, 2024

Financial Fraud