Five Nigerian nationals living all across Texas were indicted for using false documents to open bank accounts and laundering millions gained through cyber crimes.
Four men were arrested Thursday and another is being sought for the scheme that dates back to Nov. 2016. Two additional men pleaded guilty in recent months for the crimes.
A federal grand jury indicted Bameyi Omale, 31, Nnamdi Nwosu, 32, Chinonso Agbaji, 29, Chibuzor Uba, 30, and Igho Calaba, 25, for opening multiple bank accounts in Houston and Austin with false passports and other fraudulent IDs for the purpose of taking in and laundering money from cyber crimes.
The men could see up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted on both counts.
The accounts raked in $10 million from victims. But the men were only able to obtain around $3 million before some victims realized they were being scammed and banks recalled the funds, according to the Justice Department. The men used spoofed emails or other methods to disguise themselves as work superiors or colleagues asking for wire transfers. These types of schemes are called business email compromises or BECs.
According to a report out last month, BEC crimes were the most effective internet crimes in 2018. All told, it was used 20,000 times last year and raked in $1.3 billion.
More than 25,000 Texans were victims of cyber crime last year, according to the report. Texas ranked second in number of victims behind California. Texans lost nearly $200 million.
Joseph Odibobhahemen and Nosa Onaghise — both Austin residents — pleaded guilty to the same network of crimes in February of this year and December 2018 respectively.
Nnamdi Nwosu is still at large and information is being sought for his arrest. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement encourage people with information to call their tip line at 866-347-2423.