Two men sent to prison for trafficking troubled teenager

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeSouthern District of Texas


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, November 1, 2021

Two men sent to prison for trafficking troubled teenager

HOUSTON – Two Houstonians are on their way to federal prison after admitting to recruiting a teenager on social media and trafficking her for sex, announced acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.   

Demetrius Delaan White, 30, and Deonte Danquise Bailey-Roach, 28, pleaded guilty Jan. 27.

Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt sentenced White to 240 months, while Bailey-Roach received a 144-month-term of imprisonment. The court considered statements from the minor victim and her mother detailing the lasting impact of the teenager’s victimization. Both will be ordered to pay restitution to the victim and serve an additional five years on supervised release following completion of the prison terms, during which time they will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict access to children and the internet. Both will also be ordered to register as sex offenders.

In 2017, White and Bailey-Roach recruited a troubled teenager on social media. They then brought her from her home in Stephenville to Houston to engage in commercial sex acts.

Over the next four days, they exploited the minor victim for their own sexual gratification and profit. They posted the minor victim on internet advertisements for commercial sex, during which time more than 300 people expressed interest. They rented motel rooms for the sex acts, drove her to clients’ homes and took her to a truck stop. They also had her walk on Bissonnet Street, an area commonly known for an open and rampant sex trade.

To induce the minor victim into continuing to engage in the activity, both men gave her drugs before the commercial sex acts. They also kept all the cash proceeds.

Both will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The FBI and the Houston Police Department (HPD), both part of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), conducted the investigation.

HTRA law enforcement includes members of the HPD, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Attorney General’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Department of Labor, Department of State, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Texas Department of Public Safety, Coast Guard and Sheriff’s Offices in Harris and Montgomery counties in coordination with District Attorney’s offices in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend Counties.

Established in 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston formed HTRA to combine resources with federal, state and local enforcement agencies and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental service organizations to target human traffickers while providing necessary services to those that the traffickers victimized. Since its inception, HTRA has been recognized as both a national and international model in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Suh and Sebastian Edwards are prosecuting the case.

Red Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Child | USAO-MN | Department of Justice

Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 22, 2021
Red Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Child

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Red Lake man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child over the course of several years, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

According to court documents, between August 2014 and August 2020, Kory Paul Lussier, 25, knowingly and repeatedly engaged in sexual contact with a minor female who was between seven and thirteen years old at the time.

Lussier pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson to one count of abusive sexual contact with a child. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is the result of investigations conducted by the Red Lake Department of Public Safety and the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander D. Chiquoine is prosecuting the case
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-mn/pr/red-lake-man-pleads-guilty-sexual-abuse-child

Repeat sex offender sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to coerce minors to engage in online sexual conduct

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeSouthern District of Ohio


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFriday, October 22, 2021

Repeat sex offender sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to coerce minors to engage in online sexual conduct

DAYTON, Ohio – Sean T. Porter, 56, of Moraine, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 240 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for attempting to solicit nude photos from teenage girls while registered as a sex offender.

According to court documents, from October 2020 through January 2021, Porter created seven accounts with the profile names “Sean” and “Mike” on a dating app. In that time, Porter communicated with approximately 52 individuals who identified themselves as minors as young as 11 years old and sent pornographic images of himself to at least 26 suspected minors. He also solicited sexual content from the minors. One of the minors Porter communicated with was an FBI undercover officer who was using two personas of minor females.

Porter made a number of requests for the undercover officer to send nude images. Porter also sent images of himself in an exposed state. On Valentine’s Day 2021, Porter sent a video of himself engaging in sexual conduct to the agent purporting to be a teenager.

Porter committed these acts while on federal supervision after serving 10 years in federal prison for his last offense.

Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose. Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief Laura I. Clemmens and Assistant United States Attorney Rob Painter are representing the United States in this case.

Springfield Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Attempted Enticement of a Minor | USAO-CDIL | Department of Justice

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 22, 2021
Springfield Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Attempted Enticement of a Minor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois, man, Rafael Mercado Berrios, 42, of the 700 block of South Durkin Drive, was sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by ten years of supervised release, on October 20, 2021, for attempted enticement of a minor and use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor.

Mercado Berrios was convicted in June 2021 following a jury trial in which the United States presented evidence establishing that Mercado Berrios had used a mobile application to arrange to meet a person he believed to be a 15-year-old minor for sexual activity.

At Mercado Berrios’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sue E. Myerscough found that he had also attempted to obstruct justice by requesting that a former girlfriend delete information from his computer and directing her not to speak to law enforcement agencies, as well as telling her what to say if she did choose to speak.

The statutory penalty for attempted enticement of a minor is ten years to life imprisonment. The statutory penalty for use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor is not more than five years imprisonment. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000.

The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office, with the assistance of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Springfield Police Department; and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tanner K. Jacobs and Gregory K. Harris represented the government in the prosecution.

The case against Mercado Berrios was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-cdil/pr/springfield-man-sentenced-ten-years-prison-attempted-enticement-minor

Connecticut Man Guilty of Sex-Trafficking During Miami SuperBowl | USAO-SDFL | Department of Justice

Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 22, 2021
Connecticut Man Guilty of Sex-Trafficking During Miami SuperBowl

Miami, Florida – A man who coerced two women and a girl into selling themselves for sex in Miami during the 2020 Superbowl was found guilty of commercial sex trafficking by a federal jury in Ft. Lauderdale this week.  

During the eight-day trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alejandra L. López and Brian Dobbins presented evidence that in January 2020, Edward Walker, 48, of New Haven, Connecticut, brought two adult women and a 17-year-old girl to Miami from Connecticut to engage in commercial sex acts during the SuperBowl.  While in Miami, Walker emotionally, psychologically, and financially coerced the victims into soliciting customers and having sex with them in exchange for money, all of which Walker kept.  Additional evidence showed that after the Superbowl in Miami, Walker planned to take the victims to Chicago, Illinois (during the NBA All-Star Game), New Orleans, Lousiana (during Mardi Gras), Las Vegas, Nevada, and other places to further sexually exploit them.   

The jury found Walker guilty of sex trafficking by force and coercion, sex trafficking of a minor and by force and coercion, and transporting a person for sexual activity.  U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn will sentence Walker on January 6, 2022, in federal court in Ft. Lauderdale.  He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Divisions Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; and Alfredo Ramirez, III, Director of Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announced the guilty verdict.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, in partnership with MDPD’s Human Trafficking Squad, and the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.  FBI New Haven; Homeland Security Investigations Miami; Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Miami Office; Miami Beach Police Department; and Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office assisted.  

To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org.  The toll-free phone, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole, or in more than 200 additional languages.  The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency.  Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously.

To learn more about the National Resource Hotline visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.  To learn more about the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.org

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case no. 20-cr-20087.
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/connecticut-man-guilty-sex-trafficking-during-miami-superbowl

Springfield Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Pornography

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeWestern District of Missouri


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, October 25, 2021

Springfield Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man who downloaded thousands of images and videos of child pornography was sentenced in federal court today.

Nicholas Goins, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Goins to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration and ordered Goins to pay $24,000 in restitution to his victims. Goins will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements, which may apply throughout his life.

On March 3, 2020, Goins pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and distributing child pornography. He has been in federal custody since December 2019.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Goins’s residence on March 7, 2019. Officers seized multiple digital storage devices, which contained thousands of images and videos of child pornography. A forensic examination discovered messaging sessions with other individuals in which they shared child pornography. Goins actively encouraged such exchanges. One of the participants posted imagery of himself sexually abusing a 4-year-old child victim, for which he was charged in another district.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and the FBI.

Project Safe Childhood

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

Jacksonville Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison For Using The Internet To Attempt To Entice And Meet A 12-Year-Old Child For Sex

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeMiddle District of Florida


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, October 25, 2021

Jacksonville Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison For Using The Internet To Attempt To Entice And Meet A 12-Year-Old Child For Sex

Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Wayne Dale Epps, Jr. (36, Jacksonville) to 12 years in federal prison for using the internet to attempt to entice a 12-year-old child to engage in sexual activity. Epps was also ordered to serve a life term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.

Epps had pleaded guilty on June 10, 2021.

According to court documents, on February 14, 2020, an undercover FBI agent who was posing online as the family member of a 12-year-old child was contacted by Epps using the screen name “ksaber2040.” Over the next several days, Epps and the undercover agent engaged in online conversation in which Epps expressed his desire to meet the “child.” Epps confirmed that he wanted to meet the “child” for sexual activity, stating “[t]his is a first for me I’m nervous but I’ve been wanting to try younger.” Epps provided the undercover agent with graphic details about how he intended to sexually abuse the “child.” He offered to use a “flavored condom” and requested pictures of the “child.”

On February 18, 2020, Epps drove to a prearranged location at a shopping center in Jacksonville to meet the “child” for sex and was arrested by FBI agents. During an interview, Epps stated that it was “possible that [he] would have followed through” and engaged in sex with the 12-year-old child, and further that he “should have never made that decision.”            

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Jury Convicts Alabama Man of Soliciting Videos and Webcam Shows of Filipina Children Being Sexually Assaulted | USAO-NDAL | Department of Justice

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Jury Convicts Alabama Man of Soliciting Videos and Webcam Shows of Filipina Children Being Sexually Assaulted
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A federal jury convicted a Morgan County man Tuesday for using Internet applications to seek images, videos, and live transmissions of the violent sexual abuse of Filipina children as young as five years old.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Benjamin Walter, 41, of Decatur, AL, used two web service provider accounts, including messenger and webcam applications, to get women in the Philippines to sexually abuse their own children and relatives.  Walter’s requests to these women, which spanned approximately three years, included directions to arrange for the gang rape of young children and to sexually assault several young children in other harmful ways.  Walter sent the money to the Philippines for these videos, images, and live transmissions via MoneyGram, Western Union, and other money remitters in $25 to $50 increments.  In addition to the live webcam shows, Walter also sent and received emails to which the senders attached images and videos of young children engaged in sex acts with adult men.  This investigation was part of a joint FBI and Homeland Security Investigations operation that targeted the buyers and sellers of these types of webcam shows in the Philippines.

“Today’s conviction sends a clear message that the protection of the most innocent and vulnerable victims, our children, from child exploitation is of the utmost importance,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona.  “The jury’s decision to hold the defendant accountable for his conduct and to reject his defenses demonstrates that those who commit these horrific crimes will be met with swift and certain justice.  We are grateful for the work of the FBI Birmingham Division and FBI Huntsville Resident Agency for their investigation of this case, and for the assistance of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in prosecuting the case.”

The FBI and our partners will continue to work diligently to bring individuals like Walter to justice and protect our most valuable asset, our children,” Sharp said

Walter was convicted of four counts of producing and attempting to produce child pornography and one count each of receiving and distributing child pornography. Sentencing is set for January 5, 2022.  Walter faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum of 160 years of imprisonment. 

FBI Birmingham Division and FBI Huntsville Resident Agency  investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Charles Schmitz and Nadia Prinz of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leann R. White of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

To report suspicious activity or instances of child sexual exploitation, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.  Reports can also be filed with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) or online at www.cybertipline.org.

For more information on the FBI’s guidance on child exploitation and protecting your kids visit https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/protecting-your-kids.
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-ndal/pr/jury-convicts-alabama-man-soliciting-videos-and-webcam-shows-filipina-children-being

11 Romance Scammers Charged With Money Laundering, Wire Fraud Conspiracies | USAO-NDTX | Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 24, 2021
11 Romance Scammers Charged With Money Laundering, Wire Fraud Conspiracies

A federal grand jury has indicted 11 defendants in the Northern District of Texas for defrauding elderly victims in romance schemes, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.

The 11 defendants, all arrested during a large-scale operation Wednesday morning, are charged with a variety of financial crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.  The majority of the defendants charged in this investigation have ties to a transnational organized crime syndicate originating in Nigeria, law enforcement revealed Friday.

According to court documents, these defendants allegedly preyed on elderly victims, many of whom were widowed or divorced. They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites like Match.com, ChistianMingle, JSwipe, and PlentyofFish, searching for targets.

Once they had ingratiated themselves with their victims, they allegedly concocted sob-stories about why they needed money – i.e., taxes to release an inheritance, essential overseas travel, crippling debt, etc. – and then siphoned money from victim’s accounts, tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

“Crimes like these are especially despicable because they rely not only on victims’ lack of internet savvy, but also, their isolation, their loneliness, and sometimes their grief. As the victims open their hearts, the perpetrators open their wallets,” Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said at a press conference announcing the charges. “The only mistake these victims make is being generous to the wrong people.”

“The crimes allegedly committed by these defendants hit close to home. Your neighbors, parents, friends and family would be targets of this organization. The fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives, really, and then disappeared,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “We’re confident this investigation will have a significant impact on this region and beyond.”

The indictments unsealed today in the Northern District of Texas complement a related indictment unsealed in the Eastern District of Texas, which charges 23 defendants (including one also charged in the Northern District of Texas) with a variety of financial crimes.

Those charged in the Northern District of Texas include:

David Animashaun, 38 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51 – arrested in the Eastern District of Texas, charged by the Northern District of Texas wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Ijeoma Okoro, 31 – arrested in DFW, wire fraud conspiracy fraud, money laundering conspiracy
Chukwemeka Orji, 36 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Frederick Orji, 37 – arrested in Dallas, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Uwadiale Esezobor, 36 – arrested in Lubbock, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Victor Idowu, 36 – arrested in Los Angeles, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Afeez Abiola Alao, 37 – wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47 – wire fraud conspiracy
 
Indictments are merely allegations of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, the defendants face up 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy counts and up to 10 years in federal prison on the money laundering conspiracy counts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and IRS – Criminal Investigation led the investigation with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers,  the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Walters, George Leal, and Erica Hilliard are prosecuting the cases for the Northern District of Texas, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern District of Texas.

The FBI estimates that more than 20,000 people lost more than $600 million in romance scams in 2020 alone. For tips on how to protect yourselves and your loved ones, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s romance scam webpage. To report a suspected romance fraud, file a report via the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.

 

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
USAO – Texas, Eastern
USAO – Texas, Northern
Contact: 
Erin Dooley NDTX Press Officer 214-659-8707 erin.dooley@usdoj.gov
Updated September 27, 2021
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/pr/11-romance-scammers-charged-money-laundering-wire-fraud-conspiracies

EDTX Indicts Two Dozen Defendants in International Multi-Scheme Fraud Conspiracy | USAO-EDTX | Department of Justice

U.S. Attorneys » Eastern District of Texas » News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 24, 2021
EDTX Indicts Two Dozen Defendants in International Multi-Scheme Fraud Conspiracy

Conspirators are Alleged to Have Used a Multitude of Fraud Schemes, Including Romance Scams, Investment Fraud, and Business Email Compromise, to Steal at Least $17 Million

SHERMAN, Texas – A federal grand jury in Sherman has returned a two-count indictment charging 23 individuals in a fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today. 

The indictment, returned on Sep. 8, 2021, charges multiple individuals with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The indictment remained sealed until this week, when the defendants were arrested and arraigned.

“The criminal conduct alleged in this case is sophisticated in its means, expansive in its scope, and callous in its aims,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “The indictment alleges a scheme where all manner of fraud—including romance and investment scams—was unleashed on an unsuspecting American public, including the elderly and most vulnerable, with the ill-gotten gains syphoned off and funneled overseas.  The amount of loss, both financial and emotional, alleged in this case is nothing short of staggering.”

According to the indictment, beginning around January 2017, the defendants used a multitude of fraudulent schemes to obtain money from their victims, including online romance scams, business email compromise and investor fraud, and unemployment insurance fraud.  The indictment further alleges that the defendants not only coordinated how to extract money from their victims, but how to disguise, disburse, and launder that money once they successfully defrauded their victims.  Allegedly, the defendants obtained at least $17 million from at least 100 individual victims, companies, and government entities from across the world.  The defendants are alleged to have specifically targeted elderly persons and used various schemes such as online dating sites to lure their victims.  The indictment charges that once they fraudulently obtained funds from their victims, the defendants laundered the money through a network of various bank accounts and sent money to bank accounts, co-conspirators and businesses located in Africa and Asia.

Indicted individuals that have been arrested include:

Kingsley Ita, aka “Baron” “Sifk,” 42, of Dallas;
Irabor Fatarr Musa, aka “Fatai” “Head JJ,” 51, of Richardson;
Solomon Esekheigbe, 48, of Katy;
Sandra Iribhogbe Popnen, aka “General,” 46, of Allen;
Edgal Iribhogbe, aka “Oseme,” 50, of Allen;
Damilola Kumapayi, aka “Luke Morris,” 33, of Dallas;
Ehiedu Onyeagwu, aka “Young,” 58, of Rosedale, Maryland;
Mathew Okpu, 57, of Temple Hille, Maryland;
Benedicta Atakare, 46, of Temple Hills, Maryland;
Segun Adeoye, 47, of Pearland;
Chidindu Okeke, aka “Steve,” 28, of Richmond;
Ngozi Okeke, 47, of Katy;
Nosoregbe Asemota, aka “Patrick Asemota,” 46, of Melissa;
Chigozi Ekwenugo, 53, of Grand Prairie;
Bukola Obaseki, 48, of Allen;
Stella Hadome, 43, of Allen;
Jequita Batchelor, 37, of Farmers Branch;
Osaretin Eghaghe, aka “Biggie,” 37, of Plano;
Ejiro Ohwovoriole, 29, of McKinney;
Isaac Asare, aka “Asarko,” 48, of Houston;
Gold Ude, 44, of Wylie;
Henrietha Oziegbe, 23, of Lexington, Kentucky; and
Kingsly Oziegbe, 25, of Edinburg.
The indictment unsealed today in the Eastern District of Texas complements indictments unsealed in the Northern District of Texas, which charged 11 defendants (including one also charged in the Eastern District of Texas) with a variety of financial crimes.

If convicted, defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).  This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.  Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis.  Reporting is the first step.  Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses.  The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.   

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office; Homeland Security Investigations; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service; Allen Police Department; Denton Police Department; Dallas County Sheriff’s Office; and Texas Department of Public Safety.  This case is being prosecuted by the Plano Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas with assistance from Northern District of Texas Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

###

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Component(s): 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
USAO – Texas, Eastern
USAO – Texas, Northern
Updated September 25, 2021
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-edtx/pr/edtx-indicts-two-dozen-defendants-international-multi-scheme-fraud-conspiracy