Alleged fraudster extradited to face charges in $7M international advance-fee scam

HOUSTON – A 57-year-old Nigerian national has been extradited from France to face charges in the United States for his alleged leadership role in a conspiracy perpetrated against victims in more than 20 countries, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. Uche Victor Diuno is set to appear today at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena H. Palermo in Houston. He arrived in the United States Friday, June 9. The charges allege Diuno helped to orchestrate a scam involving false promises of investment funding by individuals who impersonated U.S. bank officials in person and over the internet to victims around the world. Those victims were allegedly told they had to make certain payments before they could supposedly receive their funding. Proceeds of the scheme were laundered through U.S. bank accounts and diverted back to the scheme’s perpetrators in Nigeria, according to the charges. Diuno allegedly lead a criminal network of “catchers,” who sent phishing emails to potential victims falsely offering investment funding on behalf of BB&T Corporation and other U.S. banks. Victims in various countries were deceived into believing they would receive millions of dollars of investment funding as part of joint ventures with U.S. banks, usually BB&T or Chase, according to the indictment. The perpetrators allegedly utilized false domain names to make it appear that senders of emails were actually affiliated with BB&T or Chase. The charges further allege that to convince victims the opportunities were authentic, the perpetrators recruited U.S. citizens to pose as bank “representatives” at in-person meetings with victims around the world. Further, if occurring abroad, they utilized sham visits to the local U.S. embassy or consulate and fabricated documents to make the victims believe the U.S. government was sponsoring the investment agreements, according to the indictment. The victims were then allegedly induced to pay tens of thousands, and often hundreds of thousands, of dollars to U.S.-based bank accounts on the belief that such payments were necessary to effectuate their investment agreements. Diuno was originally charged in a second superseding indictment filed Oct. 3, 2018, with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of concealment money laundering. As alleged in that indictment, Diuno was a “chairman” or leader in the scheme who operated his own network of catchers and money movers alongside other fraudsters, which he used in furtherance of the same BB&T investment scam. Five other individuals have been charged as part of the same indictment. The scheme allegedly resulted in losses of more than $7 million. The FBI and Department of State – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Christian Latham of the Southern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.




Federal Bureau of Investigation Fraud

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