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Published on May 15, 2024
Houston Con Artist Sentenced to 60 Months for Multimillion-Dollar International Investment FraudSource: Wikipedia/NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A 57-year-old Nigerian con artist, Uche Victor Diuno, is looking at a federal prison cell for his role in a multimillion-dollar advance-fee scam that fooled victims in over 20 countries, as announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. Diuno copped to charges on Feb. 1 and was handed a 60-month sentence with a heavy side of restitution to the tune of $5,693,648, and deportation proceedings are on the table after his jail stint.

The Houston-based fraud frenzy, helmed by Diuno, involved a cast of tricksters posing as U.S. bank bigwigs pitching fake investments, the scams reached as far as Asia and as close as our own backyard, and all the ripped-off riches were used for luxury items and cash boosts for his boss in Nigeria, “This international operation, supported by a cadre of co-conspirators, stole millions from victims as far off as Asia and as close as America, all to funnel money and Land Rovers to his boss in Nigeria. Now, the only traveling Diuno will do will be from a prison yard back to his cell.” U.S. Attorney Hamdani stated. Using bogus emails and a slew of aliases, Diuno and other scammers got victims to make payments to secure made-up deals, with him directing a fellow fraudster in distributing the ill-gotten gains which included shipping vehicles back to partners in Nigeria, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas.

FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Douglas Williams took the opportunity to warn the public about the dangers of international investment frauds like Diuno's, and he advocated for awareness and self-protection suggesting Americans visit www.ic3.gov for tips, the FBI and the Department of State's Office of Inspector General were key in unwinding the sophisticated scam, culminating in the takedown of one Uche Victor Diuno.

Christopher Hileman, Special Agent in Charge from the DOS-OIG, thanked partners at the FBI Houston, who were instrumental in the investigation and prosecution of Diuno's convoluted scheme, which preyed on the trusting nature of victims seeking a financial windfall. In the meantime, Diuno is set to be transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, the exact location is yet to be announced.