Nigerian Sentenced in the US Over N307m Fraud

Okiemute Dotie, a 39-year-old Nigerian, has been sentenced to a year and a half in prison by a US federal court for his role in a stolen identity tax fraud scheme.

According to a November 27 publication by Oregon Live, Dotie was part of an alleged romance scheme worth close to N307 million and orchestrated by Chieloka Okekearu, one of his Nigeria-based friends.

In June 2014, Okereaku was said to have started an online relationship with an unnamed Oregon-based lady via a dating site known as Match.com.

While the “romantic relationship” lasted, Okereaku posed as ‘Terry Robinson’, a white man in his 60s who was living outside the United States and attempting to pay off debts so he could return to the state of Oregon.

Subsequently, the Oregon resident agreed to make several financial transactions through the bank accounts she opened to enable ‘Terry Robinson’ pay off his debts and return to the US.

While this was ongoing, Okereaku submitted at least three false federal income tax returns to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) between February 2015 and April 2015, requesting refunds totalling $264,349, an equivalent of close to N307 million.

When the IRS made the refund for the fraudulent returns, Okekearu ensured that the funds were electronically deposited into the accounts that were opened by his online lover.

The funds were then later transferred into Dotie’s account, who in turn made sure the money got to Okereaku.

Dotie was arrested in Brussels, Belgium, on October 18, 2022, by the Interpol as he attempted to board a train to London. He spent five and a half months in custody in Belgium before he was eventually extradited to Oregon.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US government in September. Okekearu, who is believed to be living in Nigeria, is yet to be arrested.

23 Views