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The US Department of Justice DOJ on Thursday unsealed a count, federal indictment charging 80 defendants — most of them Nigerian nationals — with conspiring to steal millions of dollars through online frauds that targeted businesses, the elderly and women. Federal authorities cited the case of one of those romance-scam victims during a news conference on Thursday. Over the course of 10 months, Garcia described in daily s his scheme to smuggle diamonds out of the country.


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Thursday, August 22, Indictment LOS ANGELES — A count federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerian nationals, with participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder the funds through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network.

A of the defendants also face substantive fraud and money laundering charges. Eroha is believed to have fled to Nigeria shortly after the FBI executed the warrant. Press Release :. When stolen funds were withdrawn as cash, the defendants frequently used illicit money exchangers to move funds overseas, generally avoiding transferring the funds directly through banking institutions, the indictment alleges.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint and indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are pd innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

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The remaining defendants are believed to be abroad, with most them located in Nigeria. Download Indictment. The indictment alleges that the 80 defendants and others used various online fraud schemes — including business compromise BEC frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly — to defraud victims out of millions of dollars. Ogungbe and Mansbangura were also among those arrested this morning, and Umejesi is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities.

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Iro, Igbokwe and Chuks Eroha, 39, face additional charges for attempting to destroy their phones when the FBI executed a search warrant in July Iro also is charged with lying to the FBI in an interview conducted during the search. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators — no matter where they reside — and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains. This method was used to transfer millions of dollars to Nigerian co-conspirators without directly transferring funds overseas.

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Department of Justice. The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement authorities this morning arrested 14 defendants across the United States, with 11 of those arrests taking place in the Los Angeles region.

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According to the indictment, Iro and Igbokwe collected bank s, fielded requests for bank information, provided that information to co-conspirators around the world, and laundered the money obtained from victims — all of this in exchange for a cut of the money stolen from victims of the various fraud schemes. Attachment s :.

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Once a victim deposited funds into a bank or a money servicesIro and Igbokwe allegedly coordinated with others to further launder the funds. The indictment alleges that Jerry Ikogho, 50, of Carson who was taken into custody on Sundayand Adegoke Moses Ogungbe, 34, of Fontana, were among those who served as illicit money exchangers for the conspiracy. Two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier this week.

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Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the indictment. Each of the 80 defendants named in the indictment is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft.

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LOS ANGELES — A count federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerian nationals, with participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder the funds through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network.

Iro and Igbokwe essentially were brokers of fraudulent bank s.

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The FBI is committed to working with our partner agencies worldwide to continue to identify these cyber criminals and to dismantle their networks. The fraudsters targeted victims in the United States and across the globe, including individuals, small and large businesses, and law firms. According to a criminal complaint also unsealed today, co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries contacted the lead defendants in the indictment — Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, both Nigerian citizens — for bank and money-service s that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims.

This investigation is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Some of the victims of the conspiracy lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fraud schemes, and many were elderly. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U. In particular, the FBI and U. Antony and Joseph B. You are here U. Attorneys » Central District of California » News.