A Nigerian, Fawaz Olanrewaju Animasaun, will spend the next two years in jail in the US, for defrauding East Texans and others of nearly $1 million.
The 27-year-old is one of two persons named in a federal indictment for charges of aggravated identity, theft and conspiracy.
He was traveling to the US from Ghana, by way of Amsterdam, when he was arrested at the airport in New York in November, 2017.
A few weeks later, the 7-foot-1-inch tall Nigerian was an inmate at the Gregg County Jail awaiting his turn in a federal courtroom.
Under a plea agreement finalized in May, Animasaun is serving three years in prison on the conspiracy charge. He is ordered to pay $930,737.60 in restitution to three financial companies.
Court documents show Animasaun will pay $135,989 to East Texas-based Austin Bank as part of that restitution.
In addition, the agreement states that Northern Trust Company is due $46,800 and UMB Financial Corporation is due $747,948.60.
Animasaun and his alleged accomplice Idowu Temitope Omolade, also from Nigeria, are believed to be involved in at least 21 fraudulent wire transfers between April and August of 2012.
A footnote made by a US Attorney read that Animasaun unlawfully obtained money through unauthorised transfers of funds from bank accounts and brokerage accounts.
To do that, the Nigerian men allegedly impersonated actual account holders in emails exchanged with banking and financial services personnel.
In those email conversations, the Attorney said the suspects ”… harvested details about the target accounts, including account balances, and obtained wire transfer instructions.” With those details, the suspects were then able to initiate a wire transfer without the account holder’s knowledge or authorisation.