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Press Release

International fraudster convicted in multi-million dollar advance-fee scheme

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

HOUSTON – A 57-year-old Nigerian national has pleaded guilty for his role in a fraud conspiracy perpetrated against victims in more than 20 countries, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Uche Victor Diuno helped orchestrate a scam in which fraudsters abroad lured victims with false promises of millions in investment funding and inheritances.

Diuno and others posed as executives and employees of well-known U.S. banks to deceive victims into making payments to secure purported investment and money transfer agreements. Other members of the conspiracy then laundered these payments through U.S. bank accounts and directed them back to the scheme’s leaders in Nigeria.    

Diuno admitted he and his co-conspirators used multiple aliases to convince victims the scam was authentic. Diuno also admitted to his role in the laundering of victim funds.

Acting on instructions from the scheme’s leader, Diuno directed a co-conspirator to disburse victim funds after receiving them. This included transferring funds to other bank accounts through currency exchangers and purchasing vehicles that were shipped back to scammers in Nigeria.

From October 2014 to September 2018, Diuno and his co-conspirators caused losses of nearly $5.7 million.            

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett accepted the guilty plea and has set sentencing for May 9. At that time, Diuno faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each charge and a possible maximum fine of either $500,000 or up to twice the value of the victims’ losses.

Diuno will remain in custody pending sentencing.

The FBI and Department of State – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Latham and Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Updated February 1, 2024

Financial Fraud