Uchenna Nlemchi, a Nigerian national, has been sentenced to 51 months in a US prison for his involvement in a romance scam and business email compromise scheme. He was also ordered to pay $524,000 in restitution and a money judgment of $868,295.

The scheme, which began in 2015, involved Nlemchi and a co-conspirator posing as “Sean Bartlett” to deceive a New Mexico widow into sending money for fake business expenses. Nlemchi opened bank accounts under his name and a fictitious business, “Jay Auto & Machine Parts,” receiving over $375,000 from the victim.

Nlemchi also defrauded a German citizen of over $200,000, which was transferred to his accounts. He quickly withdrew and transferred the funds, abandoning the accounts in February 2016 as investigators closed in.

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In 2017, while studying in the US on a student visa, Nlemchi was arrested in Houston, Texas. Released on electronic monitoring, he escaped and fled to Mexico, Brazil, and eventually back to Nigeria. He remained an international fugitive for over five years until his arrest in Hungary in 2023.

Nlemchi pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in February 2024. After serving his sentence, he will face deportation and three years of supervised release.

The case underscores the global reach of cybercrime and the importance of international cooperation in bringing perpetrators to justice.