2 Nigerians face 40, 97 years in US prison over N1.3 billion rental scam

They used multiple false identities to fool prospective renters into making wire transfers to them.

The two will be tried in court starting October (image used for illustrative purpose) [PBS]

Two Nigerian men face long stints in prison in the United States if they are convicted of fraud.

Norbert Ozemena Ikwuegbundo and Omoniyi Jonathan Omotere have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Nevada for defrauding people seeking to rent houses out of N1.3 billion ($3.3 million).

The duo allegedly used multiple false identities to publish imposter rental advertisements online at reduced rent prices, and obtained money, through wire transfers, from prospective renters.

They laundered proceeds from the scheme by using some of the stolen money to buy cars at auction.

Omotere, 35, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud, and faces a statutory maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Ikwuegbundo, 28, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of possessing equipment used to make counterfeit drivers' licenses, one count of concealment money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 97 years in prison.

Both have made separate initial court appearances last month and this week, and a trial has been scheduled for October 18, 2021, before U.S. District Judge, Gloria M. Navarro.


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