Nigerian fugitive extradited from Hungary to U.S to face fraud charges

A 31-year-old Nigerian national, Uchenna Christian Nlemchi, has been extradited from Hungary to the United States to face fraud charges.


Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, made this known in a statement on Thursday, June 22, 2023.


Nlemchi, who made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 7 after being extradited from Hungary on an indictment charging him with conspiracy, 13 counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of money laundering, aggravated identify theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 


Nlemchi will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.


A federal grand jury indicted Nlemchi on May 24, 2017. According to the indictment, Nlemchi and his co-conspirators registered with online dating websites to initiate romantic relationships with victims for the purpose of tricking those individuals into transferring money to them by way of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises. 


Simultaneously, the co-conspirators used phishing emails and malware to collect other victims’ email account names and passwords. They used this information to spy on email correspondence to identify upcoming financial transactions in order to divert and steal said funds and transfer them to bank accounts controlled by Nlemchi.


Nlemchi was arrested on these charges in June of 2017 and released on conditions pending trial. In Oct. of 2017, Nlemchi violated the conditions of his release, and an arrest warrant was issued. 


At that time, Nlemchi fled the country and was believed to have returned to his native Nigeria. 


The FBI pursued Nlemchi for five years before locating him in Hungary. 


He was extradited to the United States and arrested on June 6, 2023. 


The Albuquerque Division of the FBI investigated the case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department during the extradition process. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña is prosecuting the case. 

Nigerian Police partner Hungary, arrest 21-year-old cyber criminal


The Nigerian Police Force-National Cybercrime Center (NPF-NCCC) has partnered with the Hungarian Police to arrest a 21-year-old suspected cyber criminal. 



The suspect, George Gift Ikata was arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for creating a fraudulent platform used to defraud foreigners of thousands of dollars.



Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, May 1, 2023, said effort has been intensified to apprehend other members and affiliates of this criminal syndicate. 



“The Nigeria Police Force – National Cybercrime Center (NPF-NCCC) through the National Central Bureau (NCB) of the Force received a message from the Hungary Police on the 15th of July 2022,” the statement read.


“The intelligence enumerated the activities of a suspected fraudulent platform called “AMC Stock Experts” and how the said platform had succeeded in defrauding unsuspecting members of the global Cyber Community to the tune of thousands of dollars.


“Upon the receipt of this intelligence, Seasoned Cybercrime Forensic and Intelligence Assets under the supervision of DCP Uche Ifeanyi Henry, the Director NCCC, were deployed on the Case. The painstaking effort of the team led to the arrest of one George Gift Ikata, a 21-year-old male indigene of Abua Local Government Area in Rivers state. The suspect who resides in Iwofe Rivers state voluntarily elected in a written statement to have created the said platform for fraudulent purposes.


“While effort has been intensified to apprehend other members and affiliates of this criminal venture, the Inspector-General of Police wishes to urge the entire Cyber community and internet users, in general, to be weary of phantom and unverified investment platforms and schemes, and in the eventuality of a fraud, quickly take advantage of the e-reporting portal of the Police; https://incb.npf.gov.ng to register their complaints for immediate intervention.


“Meanwhile, investigation continues and emerging developments will be communicated subsequently.” 


Hungary says it would not arrest Putin if he entered the country

Hungary says it would not arrest Russian president Vladimir Putin if he entered the country, despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing an arrest warrant for him last week, accusing him of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said on Thursday, March 23 that even though Hungary is a signatory to the ICC Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, and ratified it in 2001, arresting Putin would have no basis in Hungarian law.


“We can refer to the Hungarian law and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian President … as the ICC’s statute has not been promulgated in Hungary,” Gulyas said. 


He added that the Hungarian government had not yet “formed a stance” on the ICC arrest warrant for Putin.

Orban and his government have been the closest ally of the Kremlin within Europe. After Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine last year, Orban was the most reluctant European Union leader to impose sanctions on Russia and has voiced objections to Western nations sending arms to Ukraine.

Orban has warned that Europe is “drifting into” the war in Ukraine and has made extensive efforts to block Ukraine from joining NATO.


The 123 member states of the ICC are obliged to act on an arrest warrant, meaning that if Putin enters any of these territories he should be placed under arrest by national law enforcement. However, Gulyas claimed on Thursday that the Rome Statue has not been built into the Hungarian legal system, so would not apply.

Gulyas said of the arrest warrant: “These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace, this is my personal subjective opinion.”



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