A 27-year-old Nigerian, Segun Prosper Otaru, who lived in St. Robert, Missouri, United States has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison without parole, almost a year after he was first indicted in November 2018 by by a federal grand jury.
According to US Department of Justice statement, Otaru was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips on Friday, ordering him to pay $25,056 in restitution, and to forfeit the same amount to the government.
Otaru as a legal permanent resident of the United States, according to court documents, entered the United States in April 2013, under apparently fraudulent pretences; contrary to the requirements of his student visa, he did not even begin his studies in the United States. The year after entering the United States, Otaru obtained lawful permanent status through marriage to a citizen.
On May 2, 2019, Otaru pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aiding and abetting the theft of public money. According to court documents, over the course of his five years in the United States, Otaru used 13 aliases and multiple bank accounts opened under false identities in order to move funds and perpetrate various frauds as a part of an organized crime network.
He admitted that, at least as early as 2016, he participated in a scheme to defraud people through various scams, such as posting internet advertisements on sites such as Craigslist.com for goods, services, and rental accommodations. Conspirators sought to induce individuals responding to the advertisements to pay for the goods and services, which they had no intention to provide.
Otaru also possessed and used a fraudulent Kenyan passport and two fraudulent Nigerian passports.
He kept some of the funds obtained from the schemes for his own use. He transferred some of the funds to co-conspirators in the United States and in other countries. He sometime laundered proceeds of the various frauds by purchasing vehicles and shipping them overseas to co-conspirators in Africa through his business, Big-O-Motors.
Court documents note that following Otaru’s release from incarceration, it is expected that he will be removed from the United States.
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