Fraudsters jailed after $240m scam

Two of Nigeria's worst fraudsters have been jailed for bringing 'miseries to many innocent people'

Two of the perpetrators of the largest ever fraud in Nigerian history have been jailed for a total of 37 years.

According to Reuters, Emmanuel Nwude was sentenced to 25 years and Nzeribe Okoli to 12 years for their part in a scam which brought down Brazilian bank Banco Noroeste.

The two men agreed to forfeit assets worth $121.5m to victims of the scam.

In common with many frauds emanating from Nigeria, the crimes of Nwude and Okoli began with an email which promised a large commission to the duped third party on the completion of a business transaction — in this case the awarding of a contract to build an airport.

Often it is lone individuals who find their bank accounts cleaned out upon handing over personal documentation and bank details but in this instance the losses escalated as a result of the fraudsters striking gold when the victim who took their bait turned out to work for the São Paulo bank.

According to newspaper reports, Justice Joseph Oyewole said: "The activities of the accused persons not only led to the collapse of a bank in a foreign country but also brought miseries to many innocent people."

A third man, Amaka Anajemba, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison earlier this year in relation to this fraud, after he reportedly agreed to return $48.5m to Banco Noroeste.

The Nigerian government has recently grown aware of the full extent to which it has become synonymous with fraud and has begun working with Microsoft and the UK Office of Fair Trading to combat the problem.