A 31-year-old Nigerian, Uchenna Christian Nlemchi, has been extradited from Hungary to face fraud charges in the United States.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico on Thursday said Nlemchi was extradited after being charged with conspiracy, 13 counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of money laundering, aggravated identify theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Alexander M.M. Uballez, US Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, on Thursday, announced that Nlemchi made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 7 after being extradited from Hungary.
According to the statement, Nlemchi will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.
The statement states, “A federal grand jury indicted Nlemchi on May 24, 2017. According to the indictment, Nlemchi and his co-conspirators registered with online dating websites to initiate romantic relationships with victims for the purpose of tricking those individuals into transferring money to them by way of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
“Simultaneously, the co-conspirators used phishing emails and malware to collect other victims’ email account names and passwords. They used this information to spy on email correspondence to identify upcoming financial transactions in order to divert and steal said funds and transfer them to bank accounts controlled by Nlemchi.
“Nlemchi was arrested on these charges in June of 2017 and released on conditions pending trial. In Oct. of 2017, Nlemchi violated the conditions of his release, and an arrest warrant was issued.
“At that time, Nlemchi fled the country and was believed to have returned to his native Nigeria. The FBI pursued Nlemchi for five years before locating him in Hungary. Nlemchi was extradited to the United States and arrested on June 6, 2023.
“The Albuquerque Division of the FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department during the extradition process. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña is prosecuting the case,” it adds.
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