A 38-year-old Nigerian man has been sentenced in Omaha to six years in federal prison for a wire fraud that led to U.S. businesses losing more than $6 million, including two in Nebraska that lost a total of $163,230.

United States District Court Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. sentenced Pelumi Fawehinmi on Friday to the prison term, plus three years of supervised release. The restitution amount is to be determined.

He pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

United States Attorney Joe Kelly said Fawehinmi was a key part of a scheme commonly referred to as business email compromise. Fawehinmi provided bank accounts to other co-conspirators who worked directly with businesses to defraud them.

They used compromised email accounts to send spoofed emails, purporting to be sent from chief executive officers or other business executives, to thousands of business employees across the U.S. requesting wire transfers.

The business employees, thinking the requests were legitimate, wired money to the location designated in the email.

Attempted losses added up to more than $30 million.

Kelly said the scheme primarily was conducted from Nigeria, where Fawehinmi was living. In 2017, investigators learned he was planning to travel to the U.S. and arrested him when he arrived in New York.

In February, one of Fawehinmi’s co-conspirators, Adewale Aniyeloye, was sentenced to eight years.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

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Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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