US officials indict two Nigerians in crypto scam
The Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon has indicated two Nigeria nationals for allegedly defrauding victims of their Bitcoin Core (BTC) through online crypto investment schemes.
According to the indictment, the two, Kelvin Usifoh and Onwuemerie Ogor Gift, both aged 24, allegedly ran a scheme that collected over $270,000 worth of BTC. The suspects managed to lure in three investors, one from Oregon and the other two from California.
The U.S. Attorney, Billy J. Williams said the suspects were charged with 11 counts of money laundering and wire fraud.
Usifo and Gift ran their operations using the sites www.wealthcurrency.com, www.boomcurrency.com and www.merrycurrency.com. The two made many promises to the investors, including a 20-50% return on investment, zero risk and immediate withdrawals.
Authorities discovered that victims sent money to a specific private crypto wallet that belonged to these suspects. The two allegedly moved the funds to another wallet to obfuscate its source after which they then converted the digital currency to Nigerian Naira.
This scheme ran from December 2017 to June 2018. They are also accused of forging information about four investors to further their operations. Within six months, the two supposedly collected 10.88 BTC, which approximately sums to $59,000 today. In totality, the prosecutor believes that they amassed at least 50 BTC from their schemes.
Crypto fraud has continued to take millions from investors. Investors in California lost over $67,000. In this case, one victim identified as Adult Victim 3 (AV3) sent two transactions of 10.1 BTC on different occasions. The investor was promised returns of up to 500 percent for his investments. The schemers went to great length in reassuring their victims, sending text messages that read:
‘Don’t be scared. My platform works 99%. You won’t lose anything.’
Authorities are not taking things lightly. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned investor of the rising rate of crypto scams. The warning was a joined effort between SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Office of Customer Education and Outreach. These bodies warned against fraudulent websites that claim to offer crypto trading and advisory services that look too good to be true.
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