The United States Department of Justice has indicted dozens of people for their involvement in large-scale email fraud and money laundering operations.
More than a dozen people were arrested during raids in the Los Angeles area, but a total of 80 defendants are allegedly involved in the plan.
The 145-page indictment, which was recently sealed, revealed that 80 people had been designated and charged with conspiracy to commit bank and bank fraud, in addition to identity theft and aggravated money laundering.
While the arrests were made in the United States, most of the people suspected of being involved in the plan are based in Nigeria. At this time, it is not yet clear whether Nigerian citizens will be extradited to the United States, but the two countries have an agreement that will allow extradition.
Fight against online fraud
US authorities took a tough stance against commercial email fraud and other fraudulent online activities, according to US Attorney Nicola Hanna, who explained how the prosecution intended to send messages to scammers, saying:
"Today, we have taken a big step toward disrupting criminal networks that use schemes [commercial email fraud], romance fraud, and other frauds to reduce victims." This indictment sends a message that we will identify the perpetrators, wherever they are, and reduce the flow of poorly earned profits. "
Prosecutors said Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe had been charged with carrying out operations. The accused people are suspected of committing fraud against more than a dozen victims who generated millions of dollars in stolen funds over several months.
Operations leaders acted as fake bank account brokers according to prosecutors who alleged that they filed requests for bank account information and then laundered money obtained from their victims. Some fraudulent bank accounts also contain more than $ 40 million in stolen funds.
This case has yet to be tried before anything is decided, but the prosecution is a step in the right direction when it has to show cybercriminals that they can be held responsible for their crimes online, no matter where they live.