A federal jury in Gulfport on Wednesday convicted
three Nigerian nationals of multiple fraud crimes
that could put two of them behind bars for the rest
of their lives. The three had been extradited from
South Africa in July 2015 to face charges along with
18 others indicted.
Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31 faces up to 115 years in
Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, faces up to 95 years in
Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, faces up to 25 years
A report by a Biloxi woman in Gulfport turned into a
complex global investigation of internet-based
financial fraud schemes, that include romance
scams, re-shipping scams, fraudulent check
scams, and work-at-home scams.
The fraudsters would first identify potential victims
through online dating sites and work-at-home
opportunities. In some cases, they would carry out
fictitious online romantic relationships to further the
scheme. In some cases, victims were convinced to
ship and receive merchandise purchased with
stolen credit or banking information, to deposit
counterfeit checks, withdraw money from
fraudulent prepaid cards, and to transfer proceeds
via wire, mail, or express delivery.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden will sentence them
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined HSI in its
investigation as help unfolded from numerous
agencies including Interpol and the South Africa
Eleven defendants have pleaded guilty in the case.
Seven are from Nigeria. Others are from South
Africa, New York, Wisconsin and California. Some,
including a Los Angeles woman, have already been
sentenced. A second California woman awaits trial.
One defendent, Sesan Olumide Farin, died at the
Pearl River County jail before his trial. Officials said
he died of natural causes.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that
it is looking for any potential victims of the nearly
16-year-long fraud ring that was broken up in 2015.
The DOJ is now looking for anyone who believes
they may have been a victim of the frauds, asking
potential targets to fill out a questionnaire. The
release on the DOJ website asks potential victims
to fill a questionnaire and if need be contact the
DOJ at USAMSS.Scams@usdoj.gov.
Photos : Rasaq Raheem, Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan,
Femi Alexander Mewase (left to right)