Nigerian man extradited to Bismarck on fraud charges

2024-02-12 22:24:14

INFORUM

BISMARCK -- A Nigerian man has been extradited from the United Kingdom to appear in court in Bismarck on charges of trying to defraud a North Dakota law firm.

Christopher Agbaje, a citizen of Nigeria, is slated to stand trial April 9 on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, according to a Monday, Feb. 12, release from the North Dakota United States Attorney's Office. U.S. Magistrage Judge Clare Hochhalter ordered he be held in custody until the trial.

Between November and December 2020, Agbaje allegedly led a sophisticated scheme to defraud a North Dakota law firm out of $198,336.68, according to the release.

Agbaje falsely represented himself as being a business owner in a legal dispute with a Bismarck company, entering into a fictitious attorney-client relationship with the law firm, the release said.

Through email communications, Agbaje and others made false statements and promises which the law firm relied upon and also recieved a fraudulent Citibank check worth $198,850, which was deposited into the firm's account, according to the release.

"Subsequently, at the purported business owner's request, the law firm sent a $198,336.68 wire transfer to Christopher Agbaje's business partner. A short time later, Christopher Agbaje directed his business partner to fraudulently initiate a $180,000.00 international wire transfer with the intent to conceal the location, ownership, and control of the law firm's money," according to the release.

Agbaje was indicted by a grand jury in March 2022, according to court records.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan J. O'Konek. The Justice Department's Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance with securing the arrest and extradition of Agbaje, the release said.

2024-02-12 News