Nigerian national, Okechukwu Iwuji, faces up to a 20-year jail term for swindling dozens of people out of over $475,000 in Guam.
Iwuji pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning in the District Court of Guam, to his involvement in an advance fee fraud on the same day several of his co-defendants started a trial.
According to Guam Daily Post, the Nigerian citizen with a Florida address, was one of a group of people indicted on suspicion of convincing two Guam women to help in scamming dozens of island residents.
The scheme involved convincing the local victims to give advance payments for processing and other fees before they would receive millions of dollars in supposed inheritance money, court documents state.
Iwuji’s plea agreement was signed Monday, the day before he was scheduled to go to trial. The plea was accepted by the court Tuesday, hours before jury selection began.
As a result of the plea, Iwuji faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and must pay $475,710 in restitution, which was the aggregate sum of the money wired to him from the women.
Iwuji joins co-defendant Jide Abimbola, another Nigerian citizen with a Florida address, in pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his part in the scam.
The Nigerian national is scheduled to be sentenced May 9 in the District Court.
With Iwuji and Abimbola pleading guilty to their roles in the scam, co-actors Monique Jones, Mekayda Jones and Sally Cruz Roberto are expected to be on trial for the next three weeks before Senior District Judge John Coughenour.
The three women face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and dozens of charges of wire fraud.
Roberto is one of the women from Guam who, along with Teresa Adamos Pereda, was accused of having “participated in an advance inheritance scam and obtained money from Guam-based victims,” according to court documents.
Pereda was charged separately and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for defrauding at least 36 victims, including family, friends, co-workers and members of St. Paul Christian Church and St. Paul Christian School alumni, Post files state.
Two other co-defendants, who face similar charges in relation to the scheme, are Onyebachum Oseji and Marcus Unigwe – both residents of Nigeria.
According to federal court records, Unigwe’s case was severed and will be prosecuted separately.
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