Two Nigerian nationals resident in California, George Ugochukwu Egwumba and Princewell Arinze Duru have been convicted by a United States jury for extensive multimillion-dollar fraud.
A statement on the website of the US Department of Justice, said Egwumba, 47, and Duru, 33, were members of a Nigerian crime syndicate that perpetrated a wide variety of frauds, including business email compromise (BEC) and romance scams, within the US for several years.
While Egwumba was found guilty of one count of aggravated identity theft, Duru was found guilty of one count of wired fraud, one count of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.
The duo were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and wired fraud.
Evidence presented during the seven-day trial that ended on June 15 revealed that the syndicate used many middlemen to connect with their fellow co-conspirators in the United States.
The middlemen assisted in receiving and laundering the proceeds of the fraud either through US bank accounts, money transmitting services such as Western Union or MoneyGram, or cryptocurrency.
As a reward for services rendered, the middlemen received a percentage of the fraudulently obtained funds.
The middlemen involved in the multifaceted fraud include Valentine Iro, Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe and Chuks Eroha.
Iroha was reported to have fled to Nigeria in 2017, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant in this case.
Iro and Igbokwe have pleaded guilty to the criminal charges levelled against them.
The conspiracy involved the laundering of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds and the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million.
Sentencing for both Egwumba and Duru have been scheduled for October 17. They both face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.
US prosecutors have so far secured 19 guilty pleas on the case. Additional defendants have also been arrested in Nigeria, while others are believed to be at large.