Okpako Diamreyan, a Nigerian citizen, was sentenced Sept. 1 to nearly 13 years in prison for masterminding an "advanced fee" scam that cost his victims $1.3 million.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Diamreyan was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to reimburse his victims and to spend three years under supervision after his release.
Authorities said Diamreyan ran the scam between August 2004 and August 2009. "As part of the scheme, Diamreyan sent numerous fraudulent e-mails in which he claimed to have a 'consignment' stored in Ghana containing amounts ranging from $11.5 million to $23.4 million."
Diamreyan "provided fraudulent documents to the victims to persuade them that the money existed," and "offered victims 20 percent of the money if they would help him transfer the money to the United States," the DOJ statement said. He also "used different identities, including Prince Nana Kamokai of Sierra Leone [and] General Odu Kuffour of Ghana."
"This defendant and his accomplices preyed on vulnerable victims in Connecticut, the United States and around the world, leaving many individuals and their families in financial ruin," David Fein, United States Attorney for Connecticut, said in a statement. "The lengthy prison term imposed today should send a strong message to others who intend to commit similar crimes-we will pursue these cases wherever they lead us and bring you to justice."
Diamreyan was convicted of three counts of wire fraud in February. In total, 67 victims of the scam have been identified, prosecutors said.