Ifeanyichukwu Festus Obi, 43, was a ringleader in a gang known as "Yahoo Boys" that targeted elderly victims across the country in sweetheart scams and then laundered that money by sending it to Nigeria.
Obi, who sent $1.32 million in stolen money to Nigeria during just two months in 2019, will spend 20 years in prison for engaging in organized criminal activity and theft of property more than $300,000.
This prosecution was the result of a 17-month investigation by a task force involving the Colleyville Police Department, the United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspector and the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
"This sentence sends a clear message. Tarrant County is not the place to bring your criminal enterprises," Criminal District Attorney Phil Sorrells said. "I am grateful for all the agencies involved working together to keep our community safe. Our work is not finished. We are still working cases against three other members of the 'Yahoo Boys.'"
During Obi's court hearing, it was revealed that he is connected to callers in Nigeria who scam the elderly into sending money to their online love interest. His sentence reflects the vast amount of money he was laundering overseas.
“These Nigerian scammers are calling our retired-elderly population all through the night, waking them up, stressing them out and compelling them to send their money far and wide," said Assistant Criminal District Attorney Lori Varnell, who prosecuted this case.
Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller said: “I am proud of our team and our partners who worked diligently on this complicated case to bring justice to these victims. A sentence this significant for a financial crime sends a message that Tarrant County will not tolerate those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens. Today, justice was served.”