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Federal Law Enforcement in Dallas Announce Large Scale Fraud Operation – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Federal investigators with the Department of Justice say 35 people in North Texas are accused of conducting romance schemes to defraud and steal money from older adult Americans.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the FBI announced a multi-year investigation into a wide-ranging criminal enterprise operating out of North Texas.

Investigators announced indictments for criminal charges against 35 people accused of wire fraud and money laundering as part of a very sophisticated scheme that stole more than $17 million from more than 100 people nationwide.

According to court documents, these defendants allegedly preyed on older victims, many of whom were widowed or divorced. They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites like Match.com, ChistianMingle, JSwipe, and PlentyofFish, searching for targets.

Conspirators would pose as an interested partner and then build a level of trust with their target before eventually sharing a sob story that ended with them needing a large sum of money.

Federal investigators with the Department of Justice say 35 people in North Texas are accused of conducting romance schemes to defraud and steal money from elderly Americans.

“Crimes like these are especially despicable because they rely not only on victims’ lack of internet savvy, but also, their isolation, their loneliness, and sometimes their grief,” acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said at a press conference announcing the charges. “The only mistake these victims make is being generous to the wrong people.”

In many cases, investigators said, the alleged thieves would then siphon thousands of dollars from their victim’s bank accounts.

“Once they depleted the savings they vanished into thin air,” said Shah.

Investigators said the funds are taken from the victims eventually made their way to accounts located in Africa and Asia.

Shah added that romance scams are often difficult to prosecute because victims are often embarrassed, feel duped, and don’t want to come forward. Still, they encourage victims to come forward and reassure them that the scams are more common than one might think — more than 20,000 people lost $600 million in romance scams in 2020.

Tips on Avoiding Romance Scams

  • Be alert if someone is coming on too quickly or if they ask you to keep the relationship a secret.
  • It should be a red flag if someone continually can’t meet you and consistently cancels plans.
  • Prospective partners shouldn’t ask for your Social Security number or bank account info.
  • Don’t share login info to sensitive accounts.
  • Do a reverse image search on photos to make sure a person isn’t using photos found elsewhere on the internet.
  • Think long and hard before you send money or gifts to someone you haven’t met in person.

Older adults weren’t the only ones targeted, federal investigators also said business owners and municipal governments were also targeted. Agents said the conspirators stole business funds intended for the purchase of or investment in assets and businesses not owned by conspirators and that they also filed unemployment insurance claims and were sent prepaid debit cards that were cashed and then distributed among members of the conspiracy.

Eleven of the arrests were made in the Northern District of Texas while 24 arrests were made in the Eastern District of Texas.

Those charged in the Northern District of Texas include:

  • David Animashaun, 38 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
  • Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
  • Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51 – arrested in the Eastern District of Texas, charged by the Northern District of Texas wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
  • Ijeoma Okoro, 31 – arrested in DFW, wire fraud conspiracy fraud, money laundering conspiracy
  • Chukwemeka Orji, 36 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
  • Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
  • Frederick Orji, 37 – arrested in Dallas, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
  • Uwadiale Esezobor, 36 – arrested in Lubbock, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
  • Victor Idowu, 36 – arrested in Los Angeles, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
  • Afeez Abiola Alao, 37 – wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
  • Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47 – wire fraud conspiracy

All of the defendants named are innocent until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy counts and up to 10 years in federal prison on the money laundering conspiracy counts.


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Police Log | News, Sports, Jobs

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following information is collected from Marquette City Police Department dispatch log books recorded at the time the calls were received. The incidents reported may have proven to be unfounded once police investigated. Some log entries may be edited or omitted due to space constraints.

June 15

≤ 9:02 a.m., retail fraud complaint, suspect left prior to officer arrival, business requested subject be trespassed only, do not wish to pursue charges for retail fraud, 1100 block West Washington Street

≤ 9:04 a.m., parking complaint regarding a private property tow, advice given on how to go about towing a vehicle located on private property, 100 block West Washington Street

≤ 9:47 a.m., permission given to park construction trailer if moved within 48 hours, 400 block East Arch Street

≤ 11:54 a.m., property inspection, 2100 block Sugarloaf Avenue

≤ 1:18 p.m., property inspection, Mount Marquette Road

≤ 1:32 p.m., officer flagged down in parking lot, elderly subject fell and dislocated finger, emergency medical services arrived on scene, turned over to emergency medical services, 400 block East Fair Avenue

≤ 1:54 p.m., harassment complaint, had already been reported, other agency to handle, 200 block West Crescent Street

≤ 2:18 p.m., fingerprints, 300 West Baraga Avenue

≤ 2:25 p.m., found property, 100 block North Front Street

≤ 3:04 p.m., report of a subject laying on top of a picnic table, subject checked on, all okay, 200 block West Washington Street

≤ 3:13 p.m., report of items/garbage near the beach, items disposed of, South Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 4:18 p.m., report of loud music from the commons area, subjects moved along, 200 block West Washington Street

≤ 4:34 p.m., property inspection, 2700 block Powder Mill Road

≤ 4:48 p.m., car vs deer property damage accident, U.S. 41 bypass near West Washington Street

≤ 4:59 p.m., property inspection, 500 block North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 5:58 p.m., assistance given, 300 West Baraga Avenue

≤ 6:09 p.m., property inspection, Founders Landing

≤ 6:10 p.m., two-vehicle property-damage accident, Fisher Street near Altamont Street

≤ 7:05 p.m., report of unwanted contact by a former acquaintance, complainant just wanted advice and will follow up if the contacts continue, 300 West Baraga Avenue

≤ 8:01 p.m., stolen bicycle recovered, bicycle was returned to the owner, 3400 block U.S. 41 West

≤ 9:41 p.m., caller reports ex-boyfriend drove past friend’s house as they were sitting outside, other party spoken to and advised to cease any attempted contacts with subject, 300 block Hawley Street

≤ 10:02 p.m., property inspection, 2100 block Sugarloaf Avenue

≤ 10:04 p.m., property inspection, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 10:19 p.m., property inspection, Peter White Drive

≤ 10:37 p.m., property inspection, 2100 block Sugar Loaf Avenue

≤ 10:51 p.m., property inspection, 500 block North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 11:08 p.m., property inspection, 400 block North Seventh Street

June 16

≤ 12:10 a.m., property inspection, 600 block West Washington Street

≤ 12:37 a.m., report of loud subjects on a porch, not loud upon arrival, made contact with subjects, advised of complaint, 300 block East Arch Street

≤ 1:30 a.m., animal complaint, McClellan Avenue near Grove Street

≤ 2:39 a.m., barking dog complaint, dog was back in house upon officer arrival, 1400 block Garfield Avenue

≤ 3:51 a.m., traffic stop resulting in arrest for traffic offense, processed and released, West Fair Avenue near Eighth Street

≤ 4:00 a.m., property inspection, Peter White Drive

≤ 4:13 a.m., assisted emergency medical services, subject turned over to emergency medical services, 2000 block West Ridge Street

≤ 5:00 a.m., property inspection, 1100 block West Washington Street

≤ 7:14 a.m., parking complaint, vehicle cited, 600 block Oak Street

≤ 7:33 a.m., report of a tent located in empty lot behind caller’s property, tent found to be located on neighbor’s property, nobody inside, no trash around the area, 600 block West Baraga Avenue

≤ 8:07 a.m., property inspection, 2100 block Sugarloaf Avenue

≤ 9:50 a.m., report of a vehicle parked in front of fire hydrant, vehicle cited, 300 block East Park Street

≤ 10:08 a.m., property inspection, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 10:58 a.m., property inspection, 1100 block Albion Street

≤ 11:35 a.m., fingerprints, 300 West Baraga Avenue

≤ 11:56 a.m., property inspection, 1 Peter White Drive

≤ 1:39 p.m., 911 hang up, accidental, all okay, 400 block East Hewitt Avenue

≤ 3:03 p.m., property inspection, Peter White Drive

≤ 3:12 p.m., found property, owner contacted, 800 block South Lakeshore Drive

≤ 4:15 p.m., found property, returned to owner, 600 block North Front Street

≤ 5:09 p.m., property inspection, 500-1300 blocks North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 6:20 p.m., traffic enforcement, West Fair Avenue near Pine Street

≤ 7:14 p.m., single vehicle property damage accident, South Seventh Street near Fisher Street

≤ 7:15 p.m., officer conducted 45 minutes of foot patrol for music on Third Street, 600-900 blocks Third Street

≤ 7:26 p.m., alarm, building checked and secure, 400 Coast Guard Road

≤ 9:01 p.m., report of a disorderly person in one of the checkout lines, the person left prior to officers arriving, officers were cancelled en route, 1400 block O’Dovero Drive

≤ 9:02 p.m., elevator secured, 100 block West Washington Street

≤ 9:24 p.m., report of a subject slumped over the wheel of a parked car, contact made, all OK, just sleeping, moved along, 200 Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 9:36 p.m., parking lot property damage accident, no damage, 500 block North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 10:15 p.m., report of an intoxicated female arguing with staff, subject left prior to officer arrival, 100 block Genesee Street

≤ 10:22 p.m., property inspection, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 10:54 p.m., report of cars racing down the street, officers checked the area, unable to locate, North Third Street near West College Avenue

≤ 11:05 p.m., assist Michigan State Police

≤ 11:17 p.m., property inspection, 1 Peter White Drive

≤ 11:24 p.m., liquor inspection, 100 block West Washington Street

≤ 11:32 p.m., liquor inspection, 100 block South Third Street

≤ 11:36 p.m., property inspection, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 11:37 p.m., property inspection, 2700 block Powder Mill Road

June 17

≤ 12:28 a.m., property inspection, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 12:44 a.m., property inspection, 2100 block Sugar Loaf Avenue

≤ 2:23 a.m., officer came across juveniles taking shopping carts from business, juveniles were identified, parents were contacted and carts were returned, South McClellan Avenue near O’Dovero Drive

≤ 2:40 a.m., school checks, north Marquette

≤ 2:58 a.m., property inspection, Peter White Drive

≤ 3:40 a.m., possible breaking and entering, caller fell asleep and woke up to items missing and a window open, no signs of forced entry or anything being taken, 1300 block Waldo Street

≤ 4:25 a.m., property inspection, 400 block North Seventh Street

≤ 5:25 a.m., property inspection, 600 block West Washington Street

≤ 5:37 a.m., school checks, South Marquette

≤ 7:34 a.m., property check, Peter White Drive

≤ 8:02 a.m., alarm, officers canceled prior to arrival, 1900 block Industrial Parkway

≤ 8:16 a.m., property check, 1300 block Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 9:14 a.m., vehicle lockout, assistance, 500 block North Front Street

≤ 10:34 a.m., property check, 200 block North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 10:59 a.m., juvenile issue, 900 block South Lake Street

≤ 11:26 a.m., property check, County Road 550 near Dead River Bridge

≤ 11:42 a.m., vehicle blocking driveway, vehicle was moved, 1100 block North Third Street

≤ 11:57 a.m., post office employee believed elderly customer was being scammed, contact made with customer, money order not yet sent, post office was to attempt to intercept money order sent the previous day through U.S. mail, 200 block West Washington Street

≤ 12:08 p.m., 911 hang-up, accidental, all OK, 200 block West Spring Street

≤ 12:13 p.m., vehicle lockout, assistance, 2400 block North Lakeshore Boulevard

≤ 12:20 p.m., vehicle lockout, assistance, 1900 block Division Street



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EXCLUSIVE: Disquiet In Nigerian Army As Officers, Soldiers Plan One-day Protest Over Poor Equipment, Welfare, Corruption Under General Yahaya

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There is disquiet presently in the Nigerian military as some officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are said to be planning to storm Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to protest over unpaid emoluments, poor working conditions and others.

SaharaReporters learnt that the officers and soldiers, mainly those prosecuting the war against insurgency in the North-East and other parts of the country, said they had perfected plans to stage a one-day protest against the leadership of the Nigerian Army.



According to the source who pleaded for anonymity, the protest was intended to expose the rot in the operations of the Nigerian Army under General Faruk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff.

He stated that the operations of the Nigerian Army had been marred by ethnic and religious jingoisms that favoured only a segment of the army.

“General Yahaya has done what no other Army Chief has done in the history of the Nigerian Army. He has divided the Nigerian Army along religious and ethnic lines. You are not considered an officer if you do not share a certain faith or religion, which has affected operational efficiency numerous times,” a Colonel told SaharaReporters.

“Let me tell you this, the present leadership crop of the Nigerian Army is busy making retirement plans. Contracts are shared amongst themselves, monies meant for troops on the battlefront are diverted to private pockets, allowances of soldiers are not paid, and it is generally an atmosphere of delusion in the army as we speak.”

SaharaReporters gathered that the army authorities were making efforts to avert what they tagged the “embarrassment of the year should the soldiers embark on the protest.”

A source added at that the army authorities had issued directives to all Divisions and Commands to withdraw all passes granted to officers and soldiers and direct those already permitted to travel to return to their bases immediately. 

“All commands of the Nigerian Army have been directed to suspend the issuance of a travel pass to officers and soldiers. It was a terse statement from the Army Headquarters some days ago, with a warning to ensure strict compliance,” a captain at the army headquarters also told SaharaReporters.

This fact was buttressed by the surge in the requests for passes experienced in North-East Nigeria and other areas with ongoing military operations.

 

A soldier currently engaged in an operation in one of the states in North West stated that the surge in requests for passes was because the bulk of the soldiers in operation had gone through exacerbating conditions in operations. 

“Our allowances are unpaid; we don’t have food or water. Maybe our “Ogas” in Abuja want us to perform magic. We have not experienced such in the history of the Nigerian Army. Even the police and other paramilitary services are doing better than us. All of this started under General Faruk Yahaya,” he said.

“This is a shame for the Nigerian Army. Other people have been Chief of Army Staff before him. Was this how he was treated? Our prayer is for President Buhari to sack him immediately; else there will be problems.

“The President must do something urgently. I can tell you that there is a rumble in the barracks. The soldiers are not happy. The suffering is too much, and we are now a laughing stock in the Armed Forces.”

Earlier in March, their counterparts in the Nigeria Police Force said they would embark on the warning strike to protest poor working conditions, poor salaries, lack of genuine welfare benefits and outdated weapons.

A protest tagged “We are tired of negligence” was also scheduled to be held at the Eagles Square in Abuja to reiterate their demands to the Nigerian government.

The officers had condemned the continuous killing of their colleagues by armed robbers and terrorists, without adequate compensation for their families.

They had accused the Nigerian government of lying about the increment of police salary and other promised benefits and demanded improved conditions of service, particularly salary increase and provision of modern weapons as they tackle the security challenges facing the country.


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Voter ID should have been settled

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Movie sequels are almost always worse than the original films. Notable exceptions, such as this summer’s Top Gun: Maverick, merely prove the rule. For every Empire Strikes Back, there’s a Highlander 2: The Quickening, Halloween Kills, and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.

If efforts to enact a voter-identification requirement in North Carolina were a motion-picture franchise, the current box-office bomb would be titled something like Carolina ID 5: Voters Against Democracy. Its baldly implausible plot is that self-styled defenders of democracy have gone to court to overturn a voter-ID requirement added to the state constitution by a voter referendum. “Let the will of the majority prevail,” warns one of the supposed protagonists, “and that will destroy democracy!”

As I have argued many times, an overwhelming preponderance of evidence shows little-to-no effect of ID requirements on voter turnout. In other words, progressives are mistaken when they claim such rules constitute voter suppression. By the same token, conservatives are mistaken when they claim voter fraud would be rampant without ID requirements. (If true, imposing such a requirement should significantly reduce the number of ballots cast. But that’s never happened.)

In reality, the types of misbehavior to which voter IDs pose a barrier or deterrent — impersonation fraud, most obviously, but also residency fraud — are rare but hardly nonexistent. Although nearly all electoral outcomes involve margins far too large to be determined by fraud, a handful of illegal votes could be decisive in some local races or extreme circumstances. As long as the requirements are clearly stated and citizens without an ID receive state assistance to get one, the policy is reasonable. Its modest benefits, in the form of public confidence in elections and greater convenience for those previously lacking IDs, easily surpass its modest costs.

Such arguments should have settled the matter years ago. In 2013, the General Assembly enacted an election-law bill that included voter ID among its provisions. Republican Pat McCrory, then governor, signed it into law.

Progressive plaintiffs sued in federal court. They lost at the trial court. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder concluded that however debatable the bill’s merits might be, there was no evidence of discriminatory intent or other violations of federal laws or constitutional provisions.

The plaintiffs appealed. In 2016, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Court of Appeals tossed aside Schroeder’s findings of fact — itself a rare and questionable act — and famously proclaimed that the bill’s provisions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

I bet you’ve heard that phrase many times since. But it never had any basis in fact. And it should never have been the last word.

McCrory, House Speaker Tim Moore, and Senate leader Phil Berger assumed that the state would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. They had every reason to expect — and subsequent decisions in other cases have buttressed their expectation — that the Supreme Court would have overturned the Fourth Circuit and allowed North Carolina’s voter-ID rule to take effect.

Roy Cooper defeated McCrory to become governor. He and his Democratic replacement as attorney general, Josh Stein, surely agreed with the Republicans that the state would likely prevail on appeal. So they sabotaged North Carolina’s case. They refused to appeal. Moore and Berger tried to do it themselves, using their own counsel, but the justices were apparently unsure who was representing whom and declined to accept it.

Cooper and Stein have never received the scorn they deserve for their misbehavior. Nevertheless, I also hold the U.S. Supreme Court responsible for failing to sort the matter out properly back in 2017. Fortunately, they’ve now done so in yet another installment in the franchise — perhaps Carolina ID 6: Disorder in the Court — by issuing this month an 8-1 decision affirming Moore and Berger’s right to hire legal representation on the state’s behalf in yet another voter ID case.

The justices should have accepted that argument back in 2017. It would have saved us from some truly dreadful sequels.

John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member. His latest books, Mountain Folk and Forest Folk, combine epic fantasy with early American history.


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