3:13 pm - Sunday December 16, 2564

BREAKING NEWS: Nigerian national, Wiseman Oputa Faces 20 years Jail Term and $250,000 maximum fine for WIRE FRAUD in Texas…Pleads GUILTY of crime, Defrauds innocent Americans to $500,000 *Used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area *International passports from various African countries had photographs of Oputa but different names and identification information * U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service the Secret Service conduct Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady prosecutes the case *United States District Judge reserve ruling for July 6 BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

BREAKING NEWS:
Nigerian national, Wiseman Oputa Faces 20 years Jail Term and $250,000 maximum fine for WIRE FRAUD in Texas…Pleads GUILTY of crime, Defrauds innocent Americans to $500,000
*Used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area
*International passports from various African countries had photographs of Oputa but different names and identification information
* U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service the Secret Service conduct Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady prosecutes the case
*United States District Judge reserve ruling for July 6

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A NIGERIAN MAN, WISEMAN OPUTA resident in Houston area of Texas had been arrested for deceiving and stealing from unsuspecting Americans the sum of Five Hundred Thousand dollars using fake international passports from several African countries with his picture emblazoned on the counterfeit passports that he used to open multiple bank accounts in United States. Oputa faces 20 years jail term and a possible $250,000 maximum fine if convicted when the court judgement comes on July 6.

Our correspondent further investigation reveals how Oputa paints Night clubs in Houston red, sipped expensive wines at VIP lounge of major of those night clubs, as well surround himself with ‘hangers-on’ who are allegedly addicted in drugs.

According to a press statement issued by the Department of Justice through the United States Attorney’s Office in Southern District of Texas (unedited), it reads: “A 25-year-old Nigerian man who was residing in Houston has pleaded guilty to perpetuating a wire fraud scheme involving various Internet scams, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
“Wiseman Oputa pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, until Jan. 25, 2017, Oputa used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area. The passports contained photographs of Oputa but had different names and identification information. He then worked with others to lure victims into sending money into these bank accounts. These funds were obtained through a variety of internet scams, including business email compromise, romance schemes and unauthorized intrusions into company email accounts. Checks or wire transfers were then sent from the company’s accounts payable to accounts Oputa or others controlled. Oputa would then use the counterfeit passports to retrieve the fraudulently obtained funds.”
On how Oputa opened bank accounts by using fake international passports, the statement says: “In one instance in December 2016, Oputa opened an account at Regions Bank with a counterfeit Ghanaian passport as identification. Shortly thereafter the account received a wire transfer of $40,000 from a victim who had been told to send money for taxes on money he had won in Spain. USAA Bank identified the fraudulent and was able to recal the wire.”
Regarding his plead guilty acceptance, “U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett accepted the guilty plea and has set sentencing for July 6, 2017. At that time, Oputa faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation along with Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service and the Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case.”

PRESS STATEMENT
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Nigerian Citizen Convicted of Defrauding at Least Half a Million Dollars from U.S. Victims

HOUSTON – A 25-year-old Nigerian man who was residing in Houston has pleaded guilty to perpetuating a wire fraud scheme involving various Internet scams, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.

Wiseman Oputa pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, until Jan. 25, 2017, Oputa used counterfeit passports to open bank accounts in the greater Houston area. The passports contained photographs of Oputa but had different names and identification information. He then worked with others to lure victims into sending money into these bank accounts. These funds were obtained through a variety of internet scams, including business email compromise, romance schemes and unauthorized intrusions into company email accounts. Checks or wire transfers were then sent from the company’s accounts payable to accounts Oputa or others controlled. Oputa would then use the counterfeit passports to retrieve the fraudulently obtained funds.

In one instance in December 2016, Oputa opened an account at Regions Bank with a counterfeit Ghanaian passport as identification. Shortly thereafter the account received a wire transfer of $40,000 from a victim who had been told to send money for taxes on money he had won in Spain. USAA Bank identified the fraudulent and was able to recal the wire.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett accepted the guilty plea and has set sentencing for July 6, 2017. At that time, Oputa faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation along with Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service and the Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case.
Topic(s):
Financial Fraud
Component(s):
USAO – Texas, Southern
Updated April 20, 2017

Filed in: Business

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