Popular Instagram car dealer Adesuwa Renee Ogiozee, patronized by singer Davido and other top celebrities, was indicted by a US Federal grand jury for multimillion-dollar fraud, including a romance scam worth about $560,000.
According to court records, the self-described No. 1 vehicle trader in Africa was initially charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit a wire fraud on December 2, 2020. American authorities stated she would spend 20 years in prison if found guilty.
After stealing $560,000 from a female victim who lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ms. Ogiozee and four other co-conspirators—among them a 37-year-old Nigerian living in Atlanta named Olutayo Sunday Ogunlaja—were discovered by FBI investigators.
Further investigations, according to federal officials, revealed how Ms. Ogiozee transferred over $3 million in shady transactions through her American bank accounts, and they also revealed that she had fabricated form 1040 tax returns submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.
The car dealer was accused of receiving $12,000 from the romance scam, which she used to buy a Mercedes Benz, but it was soon found that she had actually done more “extensive” financial crimes and was the head of a group that preyed on individuals online.
“Federal agents have accumulated evidence, however, that proves the defendant’s involvement in fraud and other criminal activity is much more extensive,” the FBI criminal complaint said.
On September 16, 2021, just over a year after the FBI filed an arrest warrant for Ms. Ogiozee, an accounting graduate from Delta State University Abraka, they apprehended her at her home in Missouri. She insisted that she had no idea why federal investigators had been unable to find her for more than a year.
On September 17, 2021, the auto dealer—who also held a theology degree from a Texas university—made her court debut in the Eastern District of Missouri. After that, she was granted conditional release on a $25,000 bail.
Her travels were restricted to three hours per day during the week and she was placed on home confinement. Some of her bank accounts were canceled due to fraud, and her American passport was taken. If not detained pending trial, the court had argued, she would probably obtain a Nigerian passport and use her extensive network of contacts to elude capture.
The trial in this case was originally planned to begin on February 6, 2023, before Judge Martha Vazquez in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The discovery process, a pre-trial procedure, was set for November 3, 2022.
The research also revealed that the CEO of Adesuwa Motors LLC, who was born in Edo State, fabricated her tax returns between 2015 and 2019. Additionally, the FBI discovered that between August 2016 and September 2017, she made over $3,000,000 in transactions on her account.
“In tax year 2016, the defendant claimed she earned $872,000 in income, yet incurred business expenses totalling $862,000,” it said. “In tax year 2019, she claimed a gross income of $120,000, but business expenses of $60,000.”
Based on her bank accounts, popularity on social media, and “flaunting her lifestyle and holding herself out as ‘the number one auto broker in Africa,'” federal authorities classified the auto dealer’s tax information as “suspicious.”
But when The Gazette asked her for comment on whether she was still asserting her innocence before her trial in 2023, she did not respond. Davido’s Rolls Royce, which was worth about N240 million, was sold by Ms. Ogiozee, who had long marketed herself as a luxury car dealer. Additionally, she frequently advertises to her over 300,000 Instagram followers about commercial skincare products and other products.
Vanguard reported in its March 7, 2020, edition that Ms. Ogoizee spoke out against crime in Africa and that the car dealer reportedly sold more than 3,000 vehicles there. It revealed that MC Galaxy, a musician, and other celebrities had bought from her, despite the fact that she was unable to identify the funding source for her auto dealership endeavor.
Her trial is taking place as Ramon “Hushpuppi” Abbas and other Instagram-famous Nigerian scammers are receiving sentences in the United States for their various roles in romance scams, business email compromise, and other illegal online operations.