Nigerian man convicted after targeting Mississippi woman online - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Nigerian man convicted after targeting Mississippi woman online

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

We've all heard the stories of internet scams involving some guy in Nigeria. The phishing emails may promise riches, romance, or even something as simple as a job you can do from home. After a Mississippi woman fell prey to one such scam, she reported it to authorities. And this week a man from Nigeria pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud charges connected to an international conspiracy case.

Teslim Olarewaju Kiriji, 30, is a Nigerian national and one of eighteen defendants indicted in a nine-count federal indictment filed in the Southern District of Mississippi. Kiriji pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit laundering of monetary instruments. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a half million dollar fine, or twice the value of the property involved.

Kiriji admitted to being part of an international organization involved in multiple online fraud schemes which included the use of victims' personal identification, banking and credit information.

The indictment alleges that a West African transnational organized criminal enterprise was involved in numerous complex financial fraud schemes over the internet. This mass marketing fraud included romance scams, reshipping scams, fraudulent check scams, and work-at-home scams along with bank, financial and credit card account take-overs.

Homeland Security Investigations agents in Gulfport started looking into the operation in October 2011 after a woman reported falling victim to a sweetheart scam. The victim said she received a package in the mail requesting that she reship the merchandise to an address in Pretoria, South Africa. The investigation later revealed that the merchandise was purchased using stolen personal identity information and fraudulent credit card information from U.S. residents.

So far, investigators have identified thousands of victims of this scam in the United States, resulting in the loss of millions.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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