Nigerian authorities arrest alleged scammer on FBI Most Wanted List

Nigeria authorities arrested Osondu Victor Igwilo, a suspect wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) for wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) announced Monday.

Igwilo, a 52-year-old man the EFCC says it arrested last week, is the alleged leader of a criminal network of “catchers” whose main fraud technique was sending phishing emails fraudulently claiming to offer investment funding on behalf of BB&T Corporation — a U.S. Bank headquartered in North Carolina — to potential victims.

Igwilo’s network included U.S. citizens who were recruited over the internet and who pretended to be representatives of BB&T, according to EFCC. The group allegedly committed advance-fee fraud online amounting to approximately $100 million, laundering the funds through U.S bank accounts and sending it back Igwilo in any manner he deemed fit — including the purchase of luxury vehicles shipped to Igwilo and his associates in Nigeria, according a pending U.S. criminal case against him.

According to press statements by the EFCC, Igwilo was arrested at a studio in the Sangotedo area in Lagos along with three other suspects; Okafor Nnamdi Chris, Nwodu Uchenna Emmaunel and John Anazo Achukwu. After his arrest, five houses located in Lagos were recovered from him, according to the agency.

Igwilo was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list for White Collar crime after a criminal complaint was filed against him in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston, Texas in 2016 and then unsealed in 2018. 

The United States Diplomatic Mission Nigeria praised the arrest as a partnership between the FBI and EFCC on Twitter. 

Igwilo is detained by the EFCC and will soon be charged to court along with other suspects arrested with him, according to the agency. When asked for further comment, a spokesperson for the EFCC referred The Record to the press statement. 

An FBI spokesperson confirmed Igwilo’s pending U.S. case to The Record. His listing on the FBI’s Most Wanted page now appears down.

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Olatunji Olaigbe

is a freelance journalist based in Nigeria. His work has been published by VICE, Al-Jazeera, and The Record. His reporting often examines the underlying factors of societal issues and he was a winner of the International Organisation for Migration’s 2021 West and Central Africa Migration Journalism Awards.