Federal prosecutors in the USA have charged eight people in Utah with fraud and money laundering for what they argue was a scheme to steal funds from elderly widows.
The alleged fraud occurred over two years and netted $6 million, according to charging documents made public Thursday.
Seven of the eight defendants are Nigerian nationals, and prosecutors say much of the stolen money was wired to accounts in Nigeria.
“It’s usually a phone call from far away, and we can’t catch the people.
Here, we have seven people of Nigerian descent in their twenties, and they are operating the scheme right out of Utah,” U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber
Anyanwu, Negedu, Adigbolo, Ukorebi, Nwanganga, and Maduagu remain in custody pending trial. Sotelo is on supervised released and Kalu remains at large, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The ten victims in the indictment ranged in age from 52 to 76.
Jeffersonking Anyanwu, 25, Daniel Negedu, 21, Onoriode Kenneth Adigbolo, 31, Chukwudi Kingsley Kalu, 28, Godsent Nwanganga, 24, Richard Ukorebi, 38, and Adrianna Sotello, 20, all face one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, three counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of money laundering. David Maduagu, 27, faces the same charges except for money laundering, according to the indictment.
If convicted, each defendant could face decades in prison and fines of at least $250,000