Two Nigerians Nosayamen Iyalekhue, , and Esogie Osawaru arrested in U.S.

Two Nigerians, Nosayamen Iyalekhue, 33, and Esogie Osawaru, 27, have been arrested in the United States by the FBI over a series of romance, pandemic unemployment insurance, and other online scams.

The two men were charged with one count of wire fraud.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced Monday that two men have been charged with one count of wire fraud. .

They have also been detained following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston.

Iyalekhue and Osawaru participated in a series of romance, pandemic unemployment insurance, and other scams designed to defraud victims by convincing them to send money to accounts they controlled, a criminal complaint indicated.

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To carry out the scams, the Nigerians allegedly used false foreign passports in the names of others, but with their photos, to open numerous bank accounts, and in turn directed the victims to send money to these accounts.

Iyalekhue and Osawaru then rapidly withdrew the victims’ money from various bank branches and ATMs, often multiple times during a single day.

It was alleged that the schemes included collecting unemployment insurance in the name of others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, and forfeiture.

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Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.