Close to two dozen Ghanaians and Nigerians in the U.S have been arrested and charged for running a very sophisticated fraud scheme, or sakawa as we call it down here.
The group run a ‘fraud and money laundering scheme’ which managed to reap over $30m through several avenues.
The office of the District Attorney in Georgia announced the arrests and went into glaring detail over the scheme which managed to dupe both individuals and businesses.
“The defendants served as money launderers for other individuals throughout the world who conducted cyber-enabled fraud, including business email compromise schemes, romance scams, and retirement account scams, targeted at companies and individuals across the United States.” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said.
“Fraud schemes, like the ones perpetrated and facilitated by these defendants, inflict considerable losses on citizens, companies, and the financial system.
“Some of these schemes target the elderly and often deplete the victims’ entire life savings. These arrests affirm the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens,” he added.
Those arrested include Ghanaians and Nigerians such as Darius Sowah Okang, George Kodjo Edem Adatsi, Desire Elorm Tamakloe, Solomon Agyapong, Kelvin Prince Boateng, Blessing Oluwatimilehin Ojo, Matthan Bolaji Ibidapo, and Obinna Nwosu.
All of them have numerous aliases which they use to aid their fraudulent activities.
The webste of the Georgia State Attorney’s office listed how the scheme worked, a complicated and well thought out effort which managed to net them a lot of money.
The site wrote: “The defendants and co-conspirators facilitated BEC schemes, romance scams, and retirement account scams by receiving and distributing fraudulent funds throughout the United States and the world. Over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants and their co-conspirators laundered over $30 million in fraud proceeds.
“The defendants created multiple sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income, or pay wages to employees. In turn, the defendants opened business bank accounts at multiple financial institutions to facilitate receipt of the fraudulent money. The defendants also opened personal bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds, often using false identities and victims’ identities.
“After funds were deposited into the defendants’ bank accounts, the money was quickly withdrawn from the accounts and circulated among the defendants. “
Below is the list of those arrested and charged for being involved in the scheme…
- Darius Sowah Okang, a/k/a Michael J. Casey, a/k/a Richard Resser, a/k/a Thomas Vaden, a/k/a Michael Lawson, a/k/a Matthew Reddington, a/k/a Michael Little, 29, of Stone Mountain, Georgia;
- Dominique Raquel Golden, a/k/a Desire Tamakloe, a/k/a Mellissa Moore, a/k/a Nicole Nolay, a/k/a Raquel Roberts, a/k/a Maria Henderson, a/k/a Raquel Golden, 29, of Houston, Texas;
- Blessing Oluwatimilehin Ojo, a/k/a “Timmy,” 34, of Nigeria;
- George Kodjo Edem Adatsi, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Desire Elorm Tamakloe, a/k/a “Chubby,” 25, of Smyrna, Georgia;
- Solomon Agyapong, a/k/a “Gumpe,” 31, of Marietta, Georgia;
- Afeez Olaide Adeniran, a/k/a “Ola,” 31, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Francesco Benjamin, a/k/a “B-More,” 30, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Jonathan Kojo Agbemafle, a/k/a “Skinny,” 26, of Kansas City, Missouri;
- Joshua Roberts, a/k/a “Onyx,” 28, of Houston, Texas;
- Hamza Abdallah, a/k/a Reggie Lewis, 30, of McDonough, Georgia;
- Prince Sheriff Okai, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
- Kelvin Prince Boateng, 24, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Monique Wheeler, 29, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Matthan Bolaji Ibidapo, a/k/a “B.J.,” 27, of Colorado Springs, Colorado;
- Stephen Abbu Jenkins, a/k/a “Face,” a/k/a Steven Abbu Jenkins, Steven Jenkins, Steve Jenkins, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia;
- Kahlia Andrea Siddiqui, 28, of Chamblee, Georgia;
- Alexus Ciera Johnson, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
- Abubakar Sadik Ibrahim, 26, of Mableton, Georgia;
- Emanuela Joe Joseph, 34, of Lawrenceville, Georgia;
- Obinna Nwosu, 26, of Douglasville, Georgia;
- Ojebe Obewu Ojebe, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia; and
- Gregory Thomas Hudson, 38, of Powder Springs, Georgia.