Simi Valley police announced today the arrests of four suspects in connection with what investigators are calling a “Nigerian fraud ring” that they say caused loses of more than $2 million through the fraudulent use of credit cards.
Police said the six-week-long investigation began in March when a woman entered a Target store in Simi Valley, buying several thousand dollars worth of gift cards.
Police said the woman used fraudulently obtained credit cards to buy the gift cards.
Similar transactions occurred elsewhere in Southern California, police said.
Police said they identified four suspects of Nigerian origin who lived in Los Angeles County and would travel to Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino counties to commit similar crimes.
Investigators said various credit-card issuers were affected by the fraud and that losses exceeded $2 million.
“Most of the victims were credited back any losses they sustain, but had to file affidavits with their credit issuer as well as police reports to document the losses occurred,” police said in a statement.
Police arrested the suspects after serving two search warrants, one in the San Fernando Valley and the other in Los Angeles.
Police alleged they recovered stolen property during the searches, including children’s clothing and about 15 Apple iPads as well as more than $100,000 in cash.
Police identified the those arrested as Mariam A. Salau, 47; Labake Adejoke Onifade, 42; Ajala Olasode Ajao, 42; and Eno Monday Ekong, 37, all of Los Angeles.
A fifth person, Olayanju Musliudeen Yusseff, 40, of Los Angeles, was detained on an immigration hold, police said.