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Eight Arrested For Defrauding Americans   
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Eight individuals, including three Ghanaians, have been arrested for allegedly defrauding companies and citizens of the United States of America (USA) to the tune of $15 million.

Two of the suspects, both Ghanaians — Babatunde Martins, 62, and Maxwell Atugba Abayeta, alias Maxwell Peter, 26 — escaped to Ghana after allegedly committing the crime and have been arrested in Accra, awaiting extradition to the US to stand trial in the Western District of Tennessee.

The names of the five other suspects arrested in the US for playing various roles in the conspiracy are Javier Luis Ramos Alonso, 28, a Mexican residing in Seaside, California; James Dean, 65, of Plainfield, Indiana; Dana Brady, 61, of Auburn, Washington; Rashid Abdulai, 24, a Ghanaian residing in the Bronx, New York, and Olufolajimi Abegunde, 31, a Nigerian residing in Atlanta, Georgia.


According to a release published on the website of the US Justice Department, an eighth suspect, Bernard Emurhowhoariogho Okorhi, 39, a Nigerian who is said to be residing in Ghana, was yet to be arrested.

The release commended Ghana’s Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for collaborating with US officials to arrest some of the suspects.

Further explanation

Explaining the arrest further, an acting Assistant Attorney-General of the US, Mr John P. Cronan, said the suspects allegedly unleashed a barrage of international fraud schemes that targeted US businesses and individuals, robbing them to the tune of approximately $15 million.

The accused are said to have engaged in the acts since 2012.

The USA and its international partners are cooperating in a programme dubbed: “Operation Keyboard Warrior”, to disrupt and bring an end to online fraud perpetrated from Africa.

At large

Other suspects, identified as Sumaila Hardi Wumpini, 29; Dennis Miah, 34; Ayodeji Olumide, Ojo, 35, and Victor Daniel Fortune Okorhi, 35, are on the run.

Using sophisticated anonymisation techniques, including the use of spoofed email addresses and Virtual Private Networks (VPN), the co-conspirators identified large financial transactions, initiated fraudulent email correspondence with relevant business parties and then redirected closing funds through a network of US-based money mules to final destinations in Africa.

Commonly referred to as business email compromise or BEC, this aspect of the scheme caused hundreds of thousands in loss to companies and individuals in Memphis, Tennessee.

Additionally, some of the Africa-based suspects who are yet to be extradited would be charged with perpetrating or causing to be perpetrated various romance, fraudulent-check, gold-buying, advance-fee and credit card scams.

Source: Graphic.com

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