Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nigerian pleads guilty to $500k internet scam in United States

A United States Federal court has convicted a Nigerian, Wiseman Oputa , who set up a number of bank accounts with bogus passports over a year, in which he managed to steal at least $ 500 , 000 through wire fraud and Internet scams .

The court convicted Oputa of one count of wire fraud, the U. S . Attorney ’ s Office of the Southern District of Texas announced.

Wiseman Oputa, 25 , pleaded guilty to opening bank accounts in the area surrounding Houston, using counterfeit passports.

Once the accounts were created, Oputa and his associates conducted a number of Internet scams from romance schemes to hacking into company email accounts to make their phishing efforts appear more real .

The victims sent at least a total of $ 500 , 000 to these bank accounts via checks and wire transfers , which Oputa and his associates controlled.
He would then use the bogus passports to withdraw the money from the accounts .

Oputa is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6 and faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a potential maximum fine of $ 250 , 000 .

The statement by the US Attorney ’s Office , Southern District of Texas read in part, “ A 25 -year- old Nigerian man who was residing in Houston has pleaded guilty to perpetuating a wire fraud scheme involving various Internet scams , announced Acting U . S . Attorney Abe Martinez.

“Wiseman Oputa pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

“Beginning Jan. 1 , 2016 , until Jan. 25 , 2017 , Oputa used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area . The passports contained photographs of Oputa but had different names and identification information. He then worked with others to lure victims into sending money into these bank accounts .

“These funds were obtained through a variety of internet scams , including business email compromise, romance schemes and unauthorised intrusions into company email accounts . Checks or wire transfers were then sent from the company’s accounts payable to accounts Oputa or others controlled . Oputa would then use the counterfeit passports to retrieve the fraudulently obtained funds.

“U. S . District Judge Alfred H. Bennett accepted the guilty plea and has set sentencing for July 6 , 2017. At that time , Oputa faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $ 250 , 000 maximum fine . He will remain in custody pending that hearing . ”


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