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Nigerian jailed five years in US prison for multimillion-dollar fraud, to return $5.7 million

A United States District Court has sentenced a 57-year-old Nigerian national, Uche Victor Diuno, to five years in prison for his role in a fraud targeted at victims in over 20 countries.

This was disclosed in a statement published on the website of the US Justice Ministry on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

The Ministry stated that it would commence legal proceedings to deport him after the completion of his jail term.

According to the statement, Diuno helped orchestrate a scam in which fraudsters abroad lured victims with false promises of millions in investment funding and inheritances.

The US Ministry stated that the defendant’s co-conspirators hid their identities and posed as executives and employees of top  U.S. banks to deceive victims into making payments to secure purported investment and money transfer agreements.

It said other members of the conspiracy then laundered these payments through U.S. bank accounts and directed them back to the scheme’s leaders in Nigeria.

“Diuno admitted he and his co-conspirators used multiple aliases to convince victims the scam was authentic. Diuno also admitted to his role in the laundering of victim funds.

“Acting on instructions from the scheme’s leader, Diuno directed a co-conspirator to disburse victim funds after receiving them.

“From October 2014 to September 2018, Diuno and his co-conspirators caused losses of nearly $5.7 million,” the Ministry stated.

What transpired in court

Diuno was said to have pleaded guilty to prosecutors’ fraud-related charges on Feb. 1, 2024.

He was quoted to have said he regretted his actions and the great financial and emotional harm he caused to victims of the scheme.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

“Uche Victor Diuno conspired with criminal associates who established false web domains and capitalized on sham visits to U.S. embassies around the globe to defraud millions of dollars from victims in over 20 countries,” FBI Houston Special Agent, Douglas Williams, said as part of the exhibits before the court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Christian Latham and Trial Attorney Philip Trout, who prosecuted the case, urged the court to convict the defendant.

What the judge said

In his judgment, U.S. District Judge, Alfred H. Bennett, observed that the defendant played a significant role in the multi-million dollar fraud.

Bennett subsequently ordered “Diuno to serve 60 months months in federal prison and to pay $5,693,648 in restitution.”

US justice ministry reacts

Reacting to the development, the U.S. Attorney, Alamdar S. Hamdani, stated on Wednesday that authorities will continue to track all perpetrators of crimes.

He explained that Diuno helped orchestrate a team of fraudsters impersonating U.S. bank executives to pitch fake investments and fake payouts to real victims around the world.

“This international operation, supported by a cadre of co-conspirators, stole millions from victims as far off as Asia and as close as America, all to funnel money and Land Rovers to his boss in Nigeria. Now, the only traveling Diuno will do will be from a prison yard back to his cell,” he stated.

More insights

  • All forms of fraud fall under criminal offense in most countries of the world, with strict penalties attached.
  • According to the US Ministry, Diuno will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

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