The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has arrested one 40-year-old Kenneth Ganiu Ninalowo and a Country Club Hills woman, 27-year-old Brittney Stokes on charges of laundering over $1.5 million in Chicago.
The authorities said the two Illinois defendants derived the money from scams targeting an unnamed Chicago-area community college and an energy company, who were defrauded into sending approximately $5 million to fraudulent bank accounts.
The suspects were among nearly 300 defendants arrested as part of a massive roundup of individuals accused of sophisticated financial crimes across the United States, including 167 in Nigeria, 18 in Turkey and 15 in Ghana. The Department of Justice says arrests were also made in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom..
Investigators said the banks were able to freeze about $3.6 million of those funds. When the two were arrested in July, agents said they seized a 2019 Range Rover from Stokes and approximately $175,909 from both Stokes and Ninalowo.
Investigators say as part of the scheme, the college was duped into wiring about $3.3 million to what they thought was the bank account of one of their legitimate vendors. Rather than working as an executive at a major construction company, as the college was led to believe, Stokes actually was the assistant manager of Menard’s home improvement store in suburban Crestwood.
The criminal complaint also alleges that Stokes and Ninalowo duped an Irving, Texas energy company into wiring them about $1.7 million.