Three Nigerian nationals will get serious jail time for their roles in a large-scale international fraud network.
Following a three-week trial, Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to 95 years in prison, while Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, received 115 in prison, and Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, was sentenced to 25 years, according to a release by the Department of Justice.
The defendants were extradited from South Africa to the Southern District of Mississippi in July 2015. They were each found guilty of offenses tied to mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property.
Both evidence and plea agreements at the trial point to the defendants and their co-conspirators – a total of 21 defendants – carrying out multiple online fraud schemes that date back to 2001.
In the catfish-esque fraud scheme, U.S. citizens would get recruited to establish false identities on dating websites to establish romantic relationships with unsuspecting victims. Once trust was established, the perpetrators would convince victims to launder money via Western Union and MoneyGram.