A Nigerian, Sobanke Idris Sunday Adereti, who claims to be a prince from one of the royal families in the south western part of the country, has been sentenced to imprisonment for federal fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, the U.S. Attorney, Brit Featherston of the Eastern District of Texas, announced on Thursday.
Adereti, 24, pleaded guilty on October 25, 2021, to passport racketeering and attempted bank fraud.
He was sentenced to 33 months in prison by the U.S. District, Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle.
Court documents cited in a statement by the US Embassy in Abuja on Thursday said Adereti presented a false passport and a falsely procured certified cheque when trying to open a bank account in Flower Mound, Texas.
The cheque was purchased by a fraud victim who was induced into sending money to Adereti, falsely known as “Robinson Elijah.”
He was likely acting as a money mule to cash the victim’s cheques.
When Adereti was arrested, he had additional passports and bank statements in other names in his possession.
Investigators determined that Adereti was also connected to a number of scams related to business email compromise fraud and other government programmes fraud.
Additional evidence showed that Adereti, the son of a prominent traditional ruler in the south western part of the country, entered the United States on a visitor’s visa in 2018, which has since expired.
“Scams to steal money are around every corner,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.
“Thanks to the keen eyes of bank officials, Adereti was apprehended. Unfortunately, many of these crimes target our vulnerable elder population. It is up to all of us to share this awareness and look out for our greatest generation.”
A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Adereti with federal violations on April 7, 2021.