Fallout From The Invictus Obi Scandal: 80 People Implicated In Massive Fraud Ring & The FBI Is Going Hard

By  |  August 23, 2019

Barely a week after Nigerians woke up to the shocking news that one of its young, celebrated, globetrotting entrepreneurs had been nabbed by the FBI for fraud, yet more trouble is brewing from the fallout of the clampdown.

If the arrest and indictment of Obinwanne Okeke, AKA “Invictus Obi”, got him singing, then he must be a really good vocalist as federal prosecutors in the United States have now revealed that 80 people, most of them Nigerians, have been charged in the United States with fraud being part of a widespread conspiracy that stole millions of dollars from businesses and elderly individuals through a variety of scams, then laundered the money.

CNN reports that law enforcement officers arrested 14 people in the United States on Thursday, and that’s according to the US Attorney in Los Angeles who addressed reporters while announcing a 252-count indictment that was unsealed. Many are already calling it the biggest organised fraud of its kind in a very long time.

At least three other defendants are already in custody. Also, Six defendants living in the United States are fugitives. The remaining defendants live in other countries, principally Nigeria, and investigators say they’ll work with the respective governments to extradite them.

Investigators also lifted the lid on an intricate scam traced to two key suspects who oversaw the fraudulent transfer of at least USD 6  Mn and the attempted theft of an additional USD 40 Mn.

According to FBI, one Valentine Iro, aged 31, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, aged 38, where the lead suspects in the crime and several others who they coordinated with to launder funds have also been implicated. The suspects will now have the books thrown at them.

All defendants will stand trial for conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft. Some will also be indicted with fraud and money laundering charges.

Coming hot on the heels of the Invictus Obi’s USD 12 Mn email fraud scandal and claims from the Africa-based e-commerce company, Jumia, that around USD 18 Mn may have been lost to graft at its Nigerian offices, Africa’s largest economy appears to be taking blows from all sides at the moment. These fraud scandals are not great for the country’s already-battered image and even legitimate Nigerian businesses in the diaspora will now have to face undue scrutiny.

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