Two Nigerian citizens, both of whom reside in Houston, have been ordered to federal prison for perpetuating a wire fraud scheme involving various internet scams::
Idowu Olugbenga Temetan aka David Cole, 30, and Adeltilewa Olamigoke Afolabi Ikuejuyone aka Kuffour Duval, 36, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Temetan also admitted to one count of passport forgery.
Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake handed Temetan a 51-month sentence, while Ikuejuyone received a 45-month sentence yesterday. Both defendants were also held jointly and severally liable to pay $187,422.60 in restitution. As both are not U.S. citizens, each is expected to face deportation proceedings following their sentences.
At Ikuejuyone’s sentencing, the court heard testimony from a relative of one of the victims who testified about the emotional and financial toll the defendant’s criminal actions had taken on their family. During Temetan’s sentencing hearing today, he acknowledged his mistakes and apologized to the victims for his actions. In handing down the sentences, the court noted the defendants engaged in a series of actions over an extended length of time to defraud multiple victims.
From October 2013 until March 2014, Temetan and Ikuejuyone used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area. The passports contained photographs of Temetan and Ikuejuyone but utilized the aliases of David Cole and Kuffour Duval, respectively. Both Temetan and Ikuejuyone then worked with others to lure victims into sending money into various bank accounts under their sole ownership and control.
These funds were obtained through a variety of internet scams, including lottery scams and business investment scams. Checks or wire transfers were then sent from the victims’ bank accounts to accounts Temetan and Ikuejuyone controlled. Temetan, Ikuejuyone and their co-conspirators would then use the counterfeit passports to retrieve the fraudulently obtained funds.
Law enforcement has been able to trace at least $4 million to victims, some of whom who reside in Houston, that have been affected by this scheme. The conspiracy resulted in the defrauding of one elderly victim of $3 million alone. After authorities identified this victim, they were able to trace the accounts into which the monies were being deposited.
Temetan and Ikuejuyone will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie N. Searle and Rick Bennett prosecuted the case.