Alleged Fraud: Court granted Obinwanne Okeke permission to see dentist

Obinwanne Okeke
Obinwanne Okeke

At the opening hearing of his fraud trial earlier this month, Obinwanne Okeke, a Nigerian entrepreneur held in America over an $11 million fraud, asked to see a public health dental hygienist.

Theresa Buchanan, the magistrate handling the criminal matter, subsequently granted Mr Okeke permission to see a dentist during the hearing on August 7. She, however, insisted that the doctor must attend to the suspect in custody.

It was unclear how long Mr Okeke had been having issues with his teeth. He was arrested in the U.S. on August 6, just before he was scheduled to return to Nigeria, and arraigned the next day.

The magistrate had remanded Mr Okeke in custody of the United States Marshall Service after being slammed with two counts of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The F.B.I. had investigated Mr Okeke, widely known in Nigeria as Invictus Obi, and found that he was involved in online fraudulent activities that had fetched him millions of American dollars in recent years. His arrest sent shockwaves across Nigeria’s social media and blogosphere, having been previously profiled by several local and international media outlets as a model for shrewd business acumen for young people.

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.

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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.

Further hearing into the criminal trial will continue in the coming weeks in the American courtroom.

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