FBI’s Most Wanted Nigerian Fraudster Tobechi Onwuhara Arrested in Australia

Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2013 at 12:03 AM

By Adeola Adeyemo

A Nigerian born sophisticated con artist, Tobechi Onwuhara, who fled Florida in August 2008 amid an intense FBI investigation, has been caught in Sydney, Australia and sent back to the U.S. to face a string of fraud charges.

He was on the FBI’s most wanted list for several years for his alleged involvement in an elaborate scheme that defrauded the financial industry out of tens of millions of dollars.

According to a report published by CNN in 2011 while he was on the run, he was a criminal genius:

In America he became one of the world’s most successful cyberscammers, a criminal genius who used his talents to filet a poorly regulated banking and credit system. In less than three years Onwuhara stole a confirmed $44 million, according to the FBI, which believes the total may be anywhere from $80 million to $100 million. All he needed was an Internet connection and a cellphone.

Onwuhara called it “washing.” He’d set up a boiler room in a fancy hotel (the Waldorf-Astoria was another favorite) to wash information on wealthy victims. Then he’d wash bank accounts. One group in his crew would do online research using databases and websites to harvest names, dates of birth, and mortgage information. They’d build profiles of victims for a second group, who would call banks posing as account holders. The callers cadged security information and passwords. Then Onwuhara would breach the accounts and wire funds from them to a network of money mules he had established in Asia. The money would be laundered and wired back to his accounts in the U.S.

However, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Onwuhara, 33, has been arrested “in response to a request from the United States Government”

The FBI’s website now lists Onwuhara as captured, but with scant detail of the arrest. They were offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

He was described as “a key member of a group of Nigerians who allegedly have been conducting fraudulent banking activities from Florida and Texas, since 2005. It is alleged that the group has been using online Internet databases to steal victims’ identities. Once acquired, they allegedly use the victims’ information to gain access to the victims’ Home Equity Line of Credit accounts and wire transfer the money to accounts mainly located overseas, some in the United States.”

The Sydney Morning Herald also reports that he owned a hip hop record label and he lived the high life of luxury hotels, gambling, strippers and bling.

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  • 81 Comments on “FBI’s Most Wanted Nigerian Fraudster Tobechi Onwuhara Arrested in Australia”

    Comments
    • Anne February 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      Naija no dey carry last lololol

      • Rachael February 25, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        LMAO

      • Monica February 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        shut up. this is not laughing matter. this is an absolute disgrace and we should be ashamed of ourselves for having such a despicable reputation worldwide.

        • minajiu July 11, 2013 at 8:58 PM

          man na u go be ashamed of ur self man,wetin u dey talk self

      • NK'S PASSIONS February 25, 2013 at 8:45 AM

        Is not funny..

    • ravenmortal February 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Stupid boy! FBI dey find you and you are living the high life os strippers, hotels and bling? Why didn’t you just place a red target on your forehead, fly boy?

      • Ari.L February 25, 2013 at 4:35 AM

        Lmao. Too funny.

      • Chic February 25, 2013 at 4:55 AM

        U took the words right out of my mouth….ode pickin, person steal dat kind money see the kind thing wey I’m dey do? Hope he had enough investment to fall back on if at all his arse ever gets outa jail…..life of crime never pays sha

      • Okechukwu Ofili February 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        Abi o…the boy should have gone to his village or some remote island. o well…if American found Osama…they can find anybody.

    • Omotolani February 25, 2013 at 12:34 AM

      Wire wire crew

    • ms lala February 25, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      Really tho…..u are undercover and ur spending serious dough on irrelevant things….am not even supporting him cuz he just gave us Here in America bad names ….my anger is his arrogance ….all for what……he’s gonna spend a long time in prison…he should pray they send him to medium security …yeye kid

    • Chica February 25, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      If this man could defraud banks in the US, imagine what he can do (or has done) in Nigeria.

    • brittany February 25, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      ode oshi…dem catch u…they say every day for thief one day for owner of the house…see yourself!

    • Mike February 25, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      You should have come back to naija and start your own record label..lol

    • style@atl February 25, 2013 at 2:20 AM

      This boys that have this kinda brains and just ruin their lives! when they can have a decent life with a well paying dignified job.

      • Abana February 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        He didnt want decent. He wanted decadent luxury. Which he strove for. Why are people complaining that its not funny? I didn’t find it funny but if someone else did, so be it. We keep complaining that our image is spoilt abroad. Thats not going to change in a day or probably in a decade. My finding it disgraceful and shameful also wouldn’t change the image of Nigerians abroad as well.

    • NNENNE February 25, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      …And they make the rest of us look bad?

      • Non professional opinion February 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        He doesn’t make me look bad. When white people spray children with bullets and molest newborn babies, or kill their model girlfriend, we don’t tar all of them with the same brush. Yet we are always in a hurry to wear “fraudster” “419″ “drug dealer” or any other badge that oyinbo has printed for us. Thanks but no thanks, I’m proud to be Nigerian, Tobechi and co not withstanding.
        If there is any shame to be felt it belongs to our leaders who haven’t harnessed the brain power of people like this for the greater good.

        • Mz Socially Awkward... February 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

          LIKE.

        • Cee February 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

          Well said! salut’

        • Nna June 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM

          He makes us all look bad because in the Western world likes to broad-brush.
          How would you feel if you are denied a loan because Nigerians in your industry are viewed as fraudsters? How would you feel if your daughter scores well on an exam but her marks are put through scrutiny because Nigerians cannot be trusted?
          Stick your head in the sand if you must but these fraudsters are making life difficult for we hardworking, bright people who happen to be Nigerians.
          It is time to stop blaming the government or anyone and ask why parents and communities are producing such children.

          It’s time to stop blaiming Nigerian leaders and look at Nigerian families and parents.

    • kikelomo February 25, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      He thinks he is smart…and now see where his smartness has taken him too….foolish guy.

    • Toria James February 25, 2013 at 2:58 AM

      noooo….they finally caught him…he was on most wanted a bunch of times…yeye boy you go village na australia…yeye!!!

    • Jia February 25, 2013 at 2:58 AM

      Ode-chi Onwuhara! Oyinbos and Chincos are smart when it comes to committing crime. The typical Oyinbo “smart” criminal would have lived a low-key life. Lived in a decent house, driven an o.k car and not make noise. Typical n*gga! Always showing out with their Gucci & Hermes belts- that’s why their asses always get caught swiftly.
      Anyway, let them lock him up so that he can join his fellow inmates who are looking for fresh meat. You cannot steal and run away forever.

    • koko February 25, 2013 at 5:14 AM

      u for run go naija now..

    • Sauce February 25, 2013 at 5:21 AM

      What was he doing in Australia?. His story is definitely one for the big screen. I’m not going to be surprised if Hollywood adapts his story for a movie in the nearest future. One of the smartest con artist of our time.. I’m sure his ostentatious living ousted him in Australia…

    • luqman February 25, 2013 at 5:36 AM

      No amount of money can satisfy human wants in this life bcos human needs are insatiable, we will keep seeking for more. Why can’t we obey God’s command so that we won’t go beyond our limit and it is the only God that can give us happiness and satisfaction.

      Vanity upon vanity!!!

    • Miss Mo February 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      Oh wow, so they finally caught up with this born thief. He will smell his yansh without bending down. Anuofia

    • Mimi Shakers February 25, 2013 at 6:08 AM

      This dude is good buh u 4 return naija come invest the cash i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ different names,

      • Wire wire. February 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        guy i no know you oo But God go bless you.

    • Vvy February 25, 2013 at 6:23 AM

      is he for real?living the high life of stripers,hotels and blings?? wow i dont understand why some of these men wont invest in better things mxm

    • Gigi February 25, 2013 at 7:03 AM

      Lmao…the Naija in him did him in. #asejubabaashete

    • Gigi February 25, 2013 at 7:16 AM
    • ibukungeorge February 25, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      As in naija i hail!wow!smh

    • colourfulbutterfly February 25, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      I knew they would catch him, it was just a matter of time.
      Sharp Aba boy!

      • Ace February 25, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Colourfulbutterfly, You Know him or you’ve previously heard about him before now?

    • papa February 25, 2013 at 7:47 AM

      Lock him up and throw away the keys!

    • giggy February 25, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      na wa oooooooo!!!!!! when will people ever learn?

    • Cee February 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      Actually guys, he isn’t Nigerian born. Nigerian raised, yes but not born in Nigeria. He was born in the US where his mother went to study which is why he wasn’t deported even after the first time he was caught and sent to jail.

      Kindly verify your facts.
      Thank you.

      • string bean October 28, 2013 at 4:37 AM

        Thank you very much. they don’t even know him….but I do!

    • dp February 25, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      d dude is just a faker

    • lollipop February 25, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      The boy is a he – goat! this goes to show that you can never run away from justice no matter how long you on the run.

    • Laila February 25, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Tobi you should have just come home and joined PDP. You’d have been home free with international immunity to boot!!!!

    • Priscy February 25, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      FBI dey find u na him u no carry urself come back Naija to ur local govt come relax..U dey parangulate about. U fall my hand sha

      • Ceci February 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        LMAO as in……nonsense ole boy

    • Okechukwu Ofili February 25, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      smart guy…using his talents for wrong things…smh…

    • miss posh February 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      O ga ju. I remember reading about this man years ago. nothing bad ever lasts forever.

    • nnenne February 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      doomsday.

    • Tobechi3cousin February 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      See his big studded head! he is from my village. i shame for you Tobechi!

    • Creamy_Amie February 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      He can’t run foreva, all d money he acquired, d joy didn’t last foreva. u can imagine, hw can u steal from people and expect ur ways to be prosperous? Nah nah, GOD is not mocked. Even if he returned to naija as some of u suggested, nemesis wil still catch up with him, no gain saying. Full stop.

    • jyde February 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      OK Its time for arithmatic,$100million only and yankee dey cry wolf.
      By lunchtime today 1million barrels of sweet bonny crude don miss.At $90 a barrel.
      Times that by 365. Times that by 50+years. How much.? Me i no sabi book too much.
      But im damn sure that the days of free lunch went out with disco.
      I close mouth.

    • Didi February 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      See all your comments … Your all there with your politicians and govt officials stealing you blind right under your noses, and your here jumping up and down over this, like the boy was a mass murderer. A beg …

    • i no send February 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      he is an american citizen with nigerian parents

    • Bekee February 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Good for him

    • My own business February 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Thank God they finally caught him, but trust me the damage this guy has caused, not only to the government, but the people’s lives affected by his crimes, may God have mercy on him. I hope this serves as a lesson to all this 419ers and yahoo boys, too many of them are getting caught, especially in the US.

    • truth February 25, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      YALL GOVERNMENT STEAL YALL MONEY LIKE EVERY OTHER DAY,NOBODY SAYS SHIT,BUT EXCITED THEY GOT HIM SMDH,SOME NIGERIANS YALL NIGGAS FULL OF SHIT THO.

    • Stella Kashmoney February 25, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Nigerians keep disgracing themselves everywhere. Mschewww.

    • TobechiStyle February 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      The fraudster bears no relation to this poster. LOL. Couldn’t resist saying that.
      tobechistyle.com

    • CC Hack 315 February 25, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      A good friend. You will be missed bro. And yeah I’m american

    • Olufemi Imoemiye February 26, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      wasted generation

    • obiwon February 27, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      He is not Nigerian born. He was born in the US. Please correct your story.

    • obiwon February 27, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Even fun website says nationality is Nigerian. Let’s not encourage this nonsense of associating fraud with Nigerians. He is a US born citizen regardless of where his parents are from. If he was an athlete, they would quickly recognize him as their own.

    • obiwon February 27, 2013 at 1:36 AM

      FBI website I mean.

    • kenechukwu February 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      God will punish anyone that is critecising cant you please kindly find your own way of living scamming is it a new game this are being introduced by you guys so stop talking BLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Can't Stand This February 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      europeans and americans are so quick to label the minority- so he’s Nigerian now?! if he did something great, he’d be american like Obama. And to correct comments about Nigerians disgracing themselves everywhere abroad- the only reason they can magnify our wrong doings is simply because of our corrupt government- that’s why they associate corrupt leaders with corrupt nationals. And truth be told, professional Nigerians in diaspora are one of the best in their fields and well respected and recognised amongst their peers. Why don’t we hear of them? well do the maths, even the bible says a prophet is not celebrated in his own town. If we recognise them at home, they will be appreciated everywhere.
      Long story short, real aspiring and intelligent Nigerians should start attacking the media of these countries-especially in a case like this where the accused is of dual citizenship-and let them know we won’t stand for libellous labeling irrespective of our govt’s nature. And that will start here now first by us stopping comments like ‘naija no dey carry last’, nigerians disgrace themselves’, and advising the intellingent con-artist to have ‘run home and lie low with the money’. Speak for yourself and as a proud nation. let’s not conform and allow ourselves to be pushed around.For 1 bad egg- there are thousands better- for one bad ‘Nigerian’, there are millions creating positive change in the world! Take your stand!

    • sassyrudy March 3, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      I have to say this Tobechi had a great thing going on for him,but did he seriously think that Joy ride would last forever…? That guy was a bit dense when it came to covering up his tracks. As for what the foriegners think, I don’t give a rat’s ass cos they do far worse than what Tobechi did in Nigeria under thr guise of “investing”

      • Nna June 2, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        You are a morally deprived human being. Repent.

    • Lastborn March 5, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      WOW! It was only a matter of time before the King Pin get’s caught. The world is too small to hide for a fish so big that is wanted by the United States. Not even the villages in Kotoronkochi (if there is a place like that) is safe for him. Because where ever he goes, he would be extradited. They will spend all their resources to find you. And they will catch you. The only savior might be the statue of limitation. Had he hidden well. That if there is one for the every charge filed against him. At that point, what would have been the essence of all the money stolen. One is for sure, the man had a taste of the GOOD LIFE and made history.

    • na the way March 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      na so..na cuz say the game yawaa…no be him be only guy way the play soccer..is all good hommie..one luv G

    • Shola Ayobami April 5, 2013 at 6:18 AM

      No Matter How Smart a Fraudster can be….He will surely make a silly mistakes. He has house in the America. He shouldn’t have traveled to a well advanced country. He should have traveled to Brazil,Costa Rica or better he come back to Nigeria. No one will know. Thats the stupid mistake he made.

    • jojo April 17, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      All blame tobechi because he is not a politician . He just taught d American banking sector that there are loop holes in their system. Just dat he was not smart to the end. TRAGEDY.

    • Lala April 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Bella Naija you got one with wrong. he was born in Huston Texas not in Nigeria

    • Jerk April 25, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Ur all -, U guys don’t just see at all….. Tobe u winked tho! Kudos…. who is the priest in ere, are u nt – snitching at ur offices and stealing of lil money at ur offices saying sum boi is meant to be thrown in prison for long.. – u all.. he aint spending more than 7years in Prison Punk asses.. thats day and night Approx 4years.., u guys should hyke up ur accounts so he come for u next.. Broke dead Nigerian’s Hating.. Ur all – Nigerians. Punks, – Hypocrites

    • chigo May 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      dis big don mees for dis guy gals to disgrace himselfs for severals yrs.

    • NVVYM June 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      A deterrent to all fraudsters.

    • Benadex June 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      shall we continue in sin that grace may abound. God forbid. All we need as Nigerians is Positive Attitudinal change. let us have a national re-orientation and this can only be achieve through the family. as parent, fathers and mothers, let inculcate God fearing attitude into the lives of our wards. Tobechi onwuhara would have used his genius talent/brain for better things, if he had God fearing upbringing. Accept Jesus today, and you will have the Wisdom of God in you becos Jesus is God’s wisdom.

    • Kanayo October 10, 2013 at 2:19 AM

      Let me start by saying that we Nigerians have a cheating attitude that has eaten so much into our blood n system. You all shouldn’t judge anybody, i bet that 95% of people that put this comment up will steal money when given the chance. Nigeria has a bad name because of our leaders who steal and never look back. Maybe it’s time to look inward and leave castigation and all what not. He did his thing and will suffer for it alone..you should all know this, none of you will serve with him. He had his highs, now is time to face his music. You all should go to sleep.

    • Sharpguy November 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      This guy tyt no be small.. Person wey fit tidy American bank security na Baba he be ooo.
      “WASHING” thns on POINT…

    • Sharpguy November 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      On a serious note, i believe if he had something worth doing in Nigeria, he might not have been tempted to indulge in such illegal act.
      So i lay blame part of the blame on our egocentric Nigerian extremely corrupt leaders.
      Tomorrow is ours and we can still change this bad identity by Gods Grace.

    • Sharpguy November 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      On a serious note, i believe if he had something worth doing in Nigeria, he might not have been tempted to indulge in such illegal act.
      So i lay blame part of the blame on our egocentric Nigerian extremely corrupt leaders.
      Tomorrow is ours and we can still change this bad identity by Gods Grace.

    • GLORIA March 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      I am not appreciating what he did.. but the problem is “Nigeria” if this guys skill was seen at a tender age, it would have been nurtured and used to produce positive records..