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U.S. charges 11 Nigerians with online fraud, money laundering

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Eleven Nigerians were indicted by U.S. Justice Department Wednesday with conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Patrick J. Freaney, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service announced the unsealing of the indictment.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, some of the 11 Nigerians were identified as Adedayo John, Oluwadamilola Akinpelu, Kazeem Raheem, Morakinyo Gbeyide and Warris Adenuga a.k.a Blue.

There were also Smart Agunbiade, Lateef Goloba, Samsondeen Goloba, Olawale Olaniyan, Olawoyin Peter Olanrewaju and Emmanuel Oronsaye-Ajayi.

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They were all collectively accused of participating in one or both of a money laundering conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy, which received funds stolen from victims.

The charge was in connection with their involvement in laundering millions of dollars in proceeds derived from business email compromises and romance fraud schemes.

Nine defendants were arrested Wednesday in the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of New York, and were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in the Southern District of New York.

One defendant was arrested in the Southern District of Texas, and was presented in that district’s federal court.

One defendant remains at large.

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U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendants were part of a criminal enterprise that not only defrauded businesses by assuming the online identities of legitimate counterparties, but also preyed on vulnerable elderly people, deceiving victims into sending money in phony romance scams. Thanks to the Secret Service, the defendants are now facing federal felony charges.”


Modus Operandi

Victims were typically defrauded in one of two ways.

In some instances, business email compromise fraud schemes were used to trick businesses into transferring funds to bank accounts the victims believed were under the control of legitimate recipients of the funds as part of normal business operations.

Unknown to the victims, the bank accounts were under the control of the Defendants or their co-conspirators.

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In other instances, romance scams were used, primarily through electronic messages sent via email, text messaging, social media, or online dating websites, to deceive victims.

Many of the victims – many of whom were vulnerable older men and women – into believing they were in romantic relationships with fake identities, and then using false pretenses to cause the victims to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by the Defendants or their co-conspirators.

As a result of these frauds, law enforcement officers have identified more than 50 victims who have transferred more than $9 million to bank accounts under the control of the Defendants.

Ten defendants – ADEDAYO JOHN, 32, OLUWADAMILOLA AKINPELU, 26, KAZEEM RAHEEM, 29, MORAKINYO GBEYIDE, 39, WARRIS ADENUGA, a/k/a “Blue,” 26, LATEEF GOLOBA, 27, SAMSONDEEN GOLOBA, 29, OLAWALE OLANIYAN, 41, OLAWOYIN PETER OLAREWAJU, 34, and EMMANUEL ORONSAYE-AJAYI, 30 – are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Nine defendants – ADEDAYO JOHN, 32, SMART AGUNBIADE, 28, OLUWADAMILOLA AKINPELU, 26, MORAKINYO GBEYIDE, 39, WARRIS ADENUGA, a/k/a “Blue,” 26, LATEEF GOLOBA, 27, SAMSONDEEN GOLOBA, 29, OLAWOYIN PETER OLAREWAJU, 34, and EMMANUEL ORONSAYE-AJAYI, 30 – are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

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One defendant – MORAKINYO GBEYIDE, 39 – is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison.

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NAIJA NEWS

German Nazi war crimes suspect, 96, goes on trial

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Irmgard Furchner, a 96-year-old German woman who was caught shortly after going on the run ahead of a court hearing last month on charges of committing war crimes during World War Two appeared before a judge on Tuesday in the northern town of Itzehoe.

Irmgard Furchner, accused of having contributed as an 18-year-old to the murder of 11,412 people when she was a typist at the Stutthof concentration camp between 1943 and 1945, was taken into the sparse courtroom in a wheelchair.

Her face was barely visible behind a white mask and scarf pulled low over her eyes.

Security was heavy as the judge and legal staff made their way into the court.

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Between 1939 and 1945 some 65,000 people died of starvation and disease or in the gas chamber at the concentration camp near Gdansk, in today’s Poland.

They included prisoners of war and Jews caught up in the Nazis’ extermination campaign.

The trial was postponed after Furchner left her home early on Sept. 30 and went on the run for several hours before being detained later that day.

Charges could not be read until Furchner, who faces trial in an adolescent court because of her young age at the time of the alleged crimes, was present in court.

She is the latest nonagenarian to have been charged with Holocaust crimes in what is seen as a rush by prosecutors to seize the final opportunity to enact justice for the victims of some of the worst mass killings in history.

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Although prosecutors convicted major perpetrators – those who issued orders or pulled triggers – in the 1960s “Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials”, the practice until the 2000s was to leave lower-level suspects alone. (Reuters/NAN)

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NAIJA NEWS

Tech entrepreneur, Favour Ori breaks record in Rwanda

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Payday, a Pan-African Fintech startup, founded by Nigerian entrepreneur, Favour Ori has become the first Rwandan company to join the prestigious Techstars Toronto Accelerator program.

Techstars is an operational investment company that assists founders and early-stage entrepreneurs scale their vision into a thriving business, beginning with the Demo Day at the end of the program where selected startups will be able to pitch to a carefully curated group of investors.

The 3-month accelerator program’s goal is to provide entrepreneurs with invaluable skills, resources, and connections to a large pool of global talent and investors.

CEO, Favour Ori said, “Joining Techstars will be a game-changer for us. This is an opportunity to work with and learn from outstanding mentors, as well as to leverage their experience, skills, and network to create a platform where all Africans, regardless of location, can enjoy financial inclusion.”

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Rwanda represents one of the best turnaround stories the world has seen in a generation. The word that best describes the founders and team behind Payday is “resilient”.


“Moreover, Payday has engineered a financial product that Africans need across the continent, and the recent traction they are seeing makes us believe that this is the start of something massive” says Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto.

“We are thrilled to be able to co-invest with some of the best early-stage fintech and e-commerce investors in Africa” says Sharma.

The inclusion of Payday in this program represents an endorsement from one of the world’s most reputable investor communities, emphasizing the potential of the company’s business model and its commitment to developing innovative payment solutions that will simplify how Africans move money around the world.

Techstars has 15 unicorns under its umbrella. Some of the notable ones include; SalesLoft, SendGrid, ZipLine, Chainalysis, and DataRobot, etc. We are sure going to be the NEXT!

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NAIJA NEWS

War in Nigeria’s advertising industry as associations split over practice guidelines

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The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) has rejected the implementation of the new Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) guidelines.

On Monday, Heads of Ad agencies announced the new regulations in a joint statement.

The signatories include the President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Steve Babaeko; President, Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Femi Adelusi.

Others were President, Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Emmanuel Ajufo and President, Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), Tunji Adeyinka.

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The bodies said the effective date for AISOP implementing is October 6, the date of pronouncement by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

But ADVAN said it makes an unconstitutional attempt to infringe on the rights of private entities to determine their contractual terms.

In a statement on Tuesday, ADVAN Acting President, Bunmi Adeniba said ADVAN is supportive of the plan to create a Standard of Practice.

Adeniba, however, noted that the Supreme Court had, in many decisions, pronounced that the rationale for freedom of contract is founded on public policy.

This means parties of full age and competent understanding are deemed to have the utmost liberty of contracting, and that their contracts when entered freely and voluntarily must be held sacred and be enforced by courts of law.

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Adeniba said as principal benefactors of advertising services, ADVAN’s input in AISOP was yet to be fully onboarded.

“The guidelines are void of critical elements that protect the rights and interest of the ADVAN community”, she declared.

Adeniba insisted that the guidelines do not serve collective interest, but rather permits unfair authority of certain parties over others and creates an unfriendly business framework.

“It portrays a clear indication of discriminatory standards where the AISOP document in section 5 sub section b (Discounts and Commissions) states that:“No party will unilaterally dictate or impose rates on another party except as may be mutually agreed by upon by the parties.

“However, in the summary submitted to the press,there is a clause that states: “Media rates may be increased at any time provided that at least 30 days’ notice is given prior to implementation”.

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“Latter of which was not included on original documents, further portraying an inconsistency in expectation.

“ADVAN requests that in all instances, the condition of a mutually agreed terms by both parties be upheld and not only as it applies to expectations from Advertisers.”

The statement said the government has a specific and critical role in supporting industry development by providing fair and enabling legislation and guidelines for ethical business practices.

The association demanded that the involvement should not overrule the constitutional rights of business entities to conduct legitimate business activities.

“The perception of a discriminatory regulatory system will be counterproductive to the collective objective of creating a conducive business environment”, Adeniba added.

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