Nigerian-American pleads guilty to defrauding victims out of $450K in social media scheme

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…and sending almost half of it to Nigeria

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Nigerian-American pleads guilty to defrauding victims out of $450K in social media scheme and sending almost half of it to Nigeria
A 36-year-old Nigerian-American, Dexter Enwerem has pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to defraud women through social media, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.

According to federal officials, between September 2019 and March 2021, a co-conspirator of Enwerem would contact multiple victims, who were mostly women, through their Facebook and Instagram accounts while using a false identity.

They allegedly defrauded victims of about $449,189. They targeted their victims, mostly women, via Facebook and Instagram by creating fake profiles, court records said. Through making false representations, the co-conspirator would eventually befriend the victims and sometimes move the conversation to Google Hangouts, an online platform that would let them communicate by video call or direct chat message.

Victims would send money by wire transfers, checks, money orders and cash, some of which were wired into bank accounts controlled by Enwerem. Other payments were sent to addresses connected to Enwerem, federal officials said.

Enwerem wired approximately $220,000 of the funds to bank accounts in Nigeria, according to federal officials. When Enwerem made these wire transfers, bank officials questioned him about the nature of the transfers. He falsely claimed that the payments were from family members and that the money was being used to take care of his grandmother and cover household expenses, federal officials said.

Enwerem also faces charges for failing to pay taxes on the money he fraudulently obtained, according to federal officials.

The suspect was arrested on March 24, 2021, and has been released on a $200,000 bond. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Enwerem faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and up to five years in prison for tax evasion, federal officials said.

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