The United States Mission in Nigeria Monday thumbed up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for arresting Osondu Victor Igwilo wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Igwilo was charged in a complaint filed in the Southern District of Texas in December 2016. He was on the run from US law enforcement agents until his arrest on March 11 by EFCC operatives at a studio in Lagos.
“With Justice as our mutual priority, we congratulate @officialEFCC for partnering with the @FBI & arresting long-time wanted suspect Igwilo for fraud conspiracy, money laundering and aggravated identity theft,” US Mission in Nigeria said in a tweet.
US authorities charged Igwilo with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft in 2016.
Igwilo was accused of being the leader of a criminal network of “catchers,” who sent phishing emails to potential victims falsely offering investment funding on behalf of BB&T Corporation, a U.S. bank headquartered in North Carolina.
“When victims were interested in the supposed investment funding, Igwilo allegedly dispatched U.S. citizens whom he had recruited over the internet to pose as “representatives” of BB&T to meet in person with the victims and sign a supposed investment agreement on behalf of BB&T,” US Department of Justice in a statement in 2018.
“When travelling to the countries where the victims resided, these representatives, at Igwilo’s direction, would visit the local U.S. embassy or consulate and employ fake documents with fraudulent seals of the U.S. government to deceive the victims into believing that the investment agreement was sponsored by the U.S. government, the complaint alleges.”
Igwilo then allegedly used the representatives and catchers to convince victims to make wire payments to bank accounts in the United States on the false belief that such payments were necessary to effectuate the investment agreements.
The holders of the U.S. bank accounts were “money movers,” who disposed of the funds as directed by Igwilo, including by purchasing luxury vehicles, from brands such as Mercedes Benz and Range Rover, and shipping them to Nigeria, the complaint alleges.