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Press Release

Nigerian national sent to prison for conducting multimillion-dollar advance-fee scheme

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

HOUSTON – A 57-year-old man has been sentenced 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 pleaded guilty Feb. 1.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett has now ordered Diuno to serve 60 months months in federal prison and to pay $5,693,648 in restitution. Not a U.S. citizen, Diuno is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court recounted Diuno’s recent testimony in which Diuno detailed his own significant role in the fraud. Diuno himself told the court he regretted his actions and the great harm he caused to victims of the scheme.  

“Diuno helped orchestrate a team of fraudsters impersonating bank executives to pitch fake investments and fake payouts to real victims around the world,” said Hamdani. “This international operation, supported by a cadre of co-conspirators, stole millions from victims as far off as Asia and as close as America, all to funnel money and Land Rovers to his boss in Nigeria. Now, the only traveling Diuno will do will be from a prison yard back to his cell.”

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

His co-conspirators 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.

“Uche Victor Diuno conspired with criminal associates who established false web domains and capitalized on sham visits to U.S. embassies around the globe to defraud millions of dollars from victims in over 20 countries,” said FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Douglas Williams. “This complex, international investment fraud was identified, investigated, and ultimately eradicated due to the diligent work of FBI Houston agents and our key partners at the Department of State’s Office of Inspector General (DOS-OIG). We encourage all Americans to protect themselves from fraudsters like Uche Diuno by visiting for the most relevant information about trending scams and protective tips to combat swindles.”

“DOS-OIG is unwavering in our commitment to investigate and bring to justice individuals engaged in international fraud schemes such as Uche Victor Diuno,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Hileman, DOS-OIG. “We greatly appreciate the work of our partners at the FBI Houston Field Office, Southern District of Texas, Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and their diligent and professional investigation and prosecution of Diuno.”

Diuno will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

FBI and DOS-OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Latham and Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

Updated May 15, 2024

Financial Fraud