Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that on January 23, 2024, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Nigerian citizens John Umukoro, Shedrack Umukoro, and Otaniyen Iduozee with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956.
According to filed court documents, between November of 2021 and May of 2022, the defendants participated in an extensive scheme to fraudulently obtain and then launder money from American citizens who believed they were loaning funds to their romantic partners.
According to court filings, the defendants posed as older men looking for connections on dating websites and engaged in text-based romantic relationships with older women.
Once the defendants gained their victims’ trust, they began to “borrow” money from their victims, for allegedly urgent and short-term financial needs.
Court filings further indicate that those “loans” were never repaid, however, and multiple victims ultimately lost their life savings.
Finally, filings indicate that after obtaining the victims’ funds, the defendants laundered them through multiple transactions and moved the funds overseas.
If convicted, each of these offenses carries a maximum of twenty years in prison and up to three years of supervised release.
The Department of Homeland Security investigated the case, which Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Taibleson will prosecute.
The public is cautioned that an indictment or criminal complaint is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.