Obinwanne Okeke, the Nigerian young ‘businessman’ who was recently arrested in the United States over $11 million fraud, has been remanded in custody of the United States Marshal Service.
He is being held at 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314, which serves as the district headquarters of the U.S. Marshall Service.
Mr Okeke, widely known as Invictus Obi, was arrested on August 6 in Alexandria, Virginia, just moments before he was scheduled to return to Nigeria.
He appeared before Michael Nachmanoff, a magistrate with the District Court of Eastern District of Virginia, on August 7 to answer charges of wire fraud. The charges were investigated by the F.B.I. and filed against Mr Okeke by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Upon a motion of the Government attorney, Mr Nachmanoff held a detention hearing and found that detention is warranted. During the hearing, Mr Okeke did not not argue for bond and the court accepted as factual the information contained in the pre-trial services report.
He then asked that Mr Okeke be detained pending conclusion of the preliminary hearing into his criminal case. He appeared without a lawyer, but the magistrate appointed a criminal defence attorney for him from the public defender’s office.
Mr Okeke, 31, has been widely celebrated in local and foreign media as a shining light amongst Nigerian youth. He said he founded Invictus Group, which has business interests in real estate, oil and gas, renewable energy amongst others.
He had travelled to the U.S. apparently without a prior knowledge that he was being investigated by the F.B.I. and settled in Alexandria, Virginia, about 13 kilometres south of Washington D.C.
The F.B.I. had in June 2018 received complaints from Unatrac, an international subsidiary of heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, that Mr Okeke gained unauthorised access to the e-mail account of its chief financial officer and authorised a series of fictitious invoices to the tune of $11 million.
The F.B.I. also found that Mr Okeke had duped an American show manufacturer and used several e-mail accounts which have previously been linked to fraudulent activities online and flagged in the F.B.I. database.
An 11-page affidavit detailing how Mr Okeke was identified as the culprit and why he should be immediately arrested and charged was published on U.S. government websites earlier this month.