A Nigerian national was sentenced to prison for participating in a global fraud scheme that victimized elderly Americans.

A Nigerian national was sentenced to prison for participating in a global fraud scheme that victimized elderly Americans.

A dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Nigeria who was extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States was given a 90-month prison term for his involvement in a global plot to commit inheritance fraud. All three offenders who were extradited from the United Kingdom in connection with this case have already received sentences following today’s sentencing.

Iheanyichukwu Jonathan Abraham, 44, is alleged to have been a member of a group of fraudsters who sent personalized letters to elderly victims in the United States while making false claims that the sender was an official from a bank in Spain and that the recipient was qualified to receive a multimillion-dollar inheritance left for them by a relative who had passed away in Portugal years earlier.

Victims were informed that additional payments, including shipping costs and taxes, were necessary before they could receive their alleged inheritance. Through a convoluted network of former victims with U.S. addresses, victims donated money to the defendants.Additionally, Abraham and his accomplices persuaded former victims to accept money from fresh victims and then distribute the fraud earnings to others.

Prison terms were also imposed on the other two suspects who were extradited from the United Kingdom. Emmanuel Samuel was given an 82-month jail term on June 21 by the Honorable Kathleen M. Williams, and on July 25, Judge Williams sentenced Jerry Chucks Ozor to an 87-month prison term for his involvement in the fraud. Two further co-defendants who were extradited from Spain to the United States have already entered guilty pleas and will get sentences in October and November.

“The Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch will continue to pursue, prosecute, and bring to justice transnational criminals responsible for defrauding U.S. consumers, wherever they are located,” declared Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We thank the National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service of the United Kingdom for their assistance in the successful investigation and extradition of these defendants, as well as the National Trading Standards Scams Team of the United Kingdom for its assistance in identifying this and other transnational fraud schemes,” the statement reads.

According to Inspector in Charge Juan A. Vargas of the USPIS Miami Division, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has a long tradition of safeguarding American citizens from these kinds of schemes and bringing those responsible to justice.” This outcome “is a testament to the dedicated partnership between the USPIS, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch to protect our citizens from these scams.”

According to Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown of HSI Arizona, “international criminal organizations using schemes that target and steal from the elderly will be held accountable for their despicable actions.” “This case shows HSI’s dedication to proving those who think they are above the law wrong, working with our partner law enforcement organizations both locally and internationally. I want to express my gratitude to all the law enforcement organizations who invested many hours in making this investigation successful.
The situation is being looked into by the Consumer Protection Branch, USPIS, and HSI.

The Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch is pursuing the case, and trial attorneys Josh Rothman, Brianna Gardner, and senior trial attorney Phil Toomajian are involved. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Europol, and law enforcement agencies from the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal all made significant contributions.

The National Elder Fraud Hotline is available to assist anyone 60 years of age or over who has fallen victim to financial fraud at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).The Office for Victims of Crime, which manages this Justice Department hotline, staffs it with knowledgeable individuals who offer callers individualized care by determining the victim’s requirements and appropriate next steps. On a case-by-case basis, case managers will identify the proper reporting agencies, give callers information to aid in reporting, put callers in direct contact with the proper agencies, and provide resources and recommendations. The initial step is to report.

Reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as feasible will raise the possibility of recovering damages, and reporting can help authorities catch fraudsters. The helpline is accessible from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, Monday through Friday. There is a choice of languages, including English and Spanish.

On its webpage for the Elder Justice Initiative, the department’s initiatives to assist American seniors are further described. Visit the Consumer Protection Branch’s website at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch to learn more about the division’s enforcement actions.Elder fraud reports can be made to the FTC at 877-FTC-HELP or online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.The Office for Victims of Crime, which may be contacted at www.ovc.gov, is one of the departments under the Justice Department that offers a number of resources pertaining to elder fraud victimization.

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