The United States has charged eight Nigerians living in South Africa for wire fraud and money laundering.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Rachael A. Honig announced the indictment for the District of New Jersey.
The suspects include seven leaders of the Cape Town Zone of the Neo-Black Movement of Africa (Black Axe) and an eighth man who conspired with the cult leaders.
They were charged with multiple federal crimes relating to internet scams they perpetrated from South Africa.
In custody are Perry Osagiede – 52; Enorense Izevbigie – 45; Franklyn Edosa Osagiede – 37; Osariemen Eric Clement – 35; Collins Owhofasa Otughwor – 37; Musa Mudashiru – 33; Toritseju Gabriel Otubu – 41.
Toritseju is charged with a separate indictment of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering conspiracy from 2016 to 2021.
Investigators found that all the defendants perpetrated financial crimes from 2011 to 2021. One remains at large.
Perry Osagiede, Franklyn Osagiede, Clement, and Izevbigie are charged with wire fraud. Perry, Franklyn are also charged with aggravated identity theft alongside Otughwor.
The U.S. noted that the Black Axe, an organization headquartered in Benin, the Edo capital, operates in various countries.
The defendants were leaders of Black Axe units in Cape Town. Perry Osagiede founded the zone and worked as zonal head along with Izevbigie.
Honig lamented that Americans are often victimized by criminal organizations abroad who use the internet to deceive and defraud.
The official advised individuals and organizations to be on guard against scammers and unscrupulous schemes.
“Anyone thinking of engaging in this kind of criminal conduct should understand that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners will find them and bring them to justice, no matter where they are”, Honig said.
U.S. Secret Service Office of Investigations Assistant Director, Jeremy Sheridan stressed that transnational organized criminal networks continue to victimize Americans and threaten the country’s financial infrastructure.
Sheridan said the Secret Service and partner agencies work tirelessly to dismantle the groups and arrest those who lead them.
“We are proud to be a part of the international law enforcement mission to combat all forms of financial crimes and thank all those involved in this investigation”, the Director added.