Three Nigerian nationals have been charged for operating an international sextortion ring following a year-long investigation that originated in the Upper Peninsula.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten announced the charges and the unsealing of a federal indictment on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, Samson Ogoshi, 20, and Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, 19, all of Lagos, Nigeria, are charged in a four-count indictment.
The defendants were alleged to have targeted more than 100 victims, both minors and adults. One of the victims in this case was 17-year-old Jordan DeMay, of Marquette, Michigan, who tragically took his life as a result of this crime.
DeMay is referred to as Victim 1 in the indictment. His parents were in attendance during the press conference regarding the case.
The three defendants were alleged to have purchased multiple hacked social media accounts. One of these accounts was used to create the Instagram persona of dani.robertts.
Over the course of a short conversation, Samuel Ogoshi, pretending to be this young woman, persuaded Jordan DeMay to send a sexually explicit image of himself.
Messages from March 25, 2022, shared during the press conference show the fake dani.robertts account asking DeMay for $1,000 and threatening to expose the image. DeMay paid $300, but the dani.robertts account continued to make threats.
The following exchange occurred a little over two hours after the initial threat:
Dani.robertts: Enjoy your miserable life
Victim 1: I’m kms rn [I’m killing myself right now]
Victim 1: Bc of you [Because of you]
Dani.robertts: Do that fast
Dani.robertts: Or I’ll make you do it.
Dani.robertts: I swear to God.
DeMay’s death launched an international investigation into the sextortion ring.
“This was a multi-faceted investigation that involved identifying dozens of victims, following the digital breadcrumbs left behind by the sextortionists on the internet, tracking the payments made by victims through multiple financial entities and working with our Nigerian counterpart, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to identify our subjects in Nigeria,” said James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan.
“It is through the herculean effort of the FBI Marquette, across Michigan, and at headquarters in D.C. that we’re here today, just a little over a year since Jordan’s death, announcing charges against these subjects.”
The defendants are charged in a four-count indictment:
Count 1 charges Samuel Ogoshi with Sexual Exploitation and Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Resulting in Death. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a statutory mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison.
Count 2 charges all three men with Conspiracy to Sexually Exploit Minors. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.
Count 3 charges all three men with Conspiracy to Distribute Child Pornography. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison.
Count 4 charges Conspiracy to Commit Stalking. The charge has a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
SENSES (Child Safeguarding and Protection Principle):
Sextortion is a type of blackmail where the perpetrator demands money or sexual favors from an individual by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity.
When a sextortion occurs online, the perpetrator often pretends to be someone else and then persuades the victim to send compromising photos or perhaps engage in compromising conversation. The perpetrator then threatens to disclose those photos or the conversation if the victim doesn’t provide either money or further sexual favors.
The defendants allegedly used online tools to research their victims, including where they live, attend school and who their family and friends are.
We cannot begin to imagine what Jordan went through and how scared he was because of this senseless act.
Primary and secondary parents must educate themselves about sextortion in doing this they should also understand that children, young adults and even adults can be a target of sextortion. It is important we have these discussions with our children and let them know that it is important to speak out when faced with such issues.
It is important that primary and secondary parents stay on alert and are conscious of the happenings in today’s world and educate our precious youngsters about their inevitable roles in their Personal Safety, Self-Protection. We must also empower them with the necessary life skills needed to strive in today’s world.
STONE (Call to action):
If we encounter a sextortion situation, it is advised that we follow these steps:
- Report the predator’s account via the platform’s safety feature.
- Block the predator, but do not delete the profile or messages because that information is useful to law enforcement.
- Ask for help from a trusted adult or law enforcement before sending money or more images.
Also, if you have information about or believe you are a victim of sextortion, contact your local FBI field office, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at tips.fbi.gov.