A US federal grand jury has indicted three Nigerians on charges related to a bank fraud scheme in which the trio attempted to obtain more than $3.5 million by defrauding businesses and banks.
According to the indictment, the defendants are 31-year-old Damilola Lawal, 39-year-old Idowu Ademola Raji and 30-year-old Akolade Ojo.
They were charged with federal wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, passport fraud, and aggravated identity theft in a 12-count indictment that was returned on October 26 and unsealed on November 4 during their initial court appearances.
Federal authorities said the trio conspired with four others to defraud businesses and financial institutions by allegedly using false, forged and counterfeited passports and other identification documents to create limited liability companies and open fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities.
The indictment alleges the defendants then used a messaging app to communicate about financial transactions directing members regarding the deposit, withdrawal, transfer, and conversion of fraudulently obtained funds.
If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison in the US for the wire fraud conspiracy and for each count of wire fraud.
Lawal also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for passport fraud; and Raji faces a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed for aggravated identity theft.