FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1994 FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS SEVEN IN INTERNATIONAL MONEY SCAM

CRM (202) 616-2771 TDD (202) 514-1888

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- A federal grand jury superseding indictment unsealed today charged seven individuals who allegedly conspired to defraud the owner of a German computer software company out of more than $330,000, said U.S. Attorney Vicki MilesLaGrange. The seven, who operated out of Oklahoma City, New York City and Nigeria, are Peter I. Philips, Robert M. Sensi, Prince Mingi XII Cookey, Alhji Usman Tukur, A. Mohammed Rasheed, C. Obido and Johnny Philips Okipiri. Four of the defendants also allegedly used a total of 10 different aliases to carry out the crimes. Sensi was arrested on September 16, 1994, in Washington, D.C., and is out on bond. Peter I. Philips, a Nigerian citizen, was arrested on May 23, 1994, in Oklahoma City, and is currently in the Oklahoma County Jail. Philips was arraigned today and pleaded not guilty. The remaining defendants are citizens of Nigeria and are believed to be residing there at this time. The Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs is seeking the extradition of these defendants to the United States to stand trial. The indictment alleges the seven used interstate and international telephone wire communications in an elaborate scheme to defraud their target, Roland Woschny, owner of Hard and Softwarevertrieb of Ronsberg, Germany, a computer supply company. Allegedly, after a person initially approached Woschny at a trade fair in Munich, German, in September 1993, the defendants made a series of telephone and facsimile contacts with Woschny in an effort to convince him he was dealing with representatives of the Nigerian Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Between January and May 1994, these contacts allegedly led Woschny to believe he would receive about $22.3 million, described to him as money which was "derived from an over-estimated contract with a Yugoslavian firm." This money allegedly was to have been paid to Woschny for his "assistance and cooperation" in an alleged "top secret project," and upon Woschny's payments of various expenses, "gifts," "tender fees," "cable and communications fees," and other fees. In total, Woschny had paid over $816,000 to the defendants, without receiving any money in return. Over $330,000 of this sum was wire transferred to an Oklahoma City bank account designated and controlled by Peter I. Philips. Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division tracked the flow of money from Luxembourg into an Oklahoma City bank account, which led to the discovery of the alleged scheme. Some of the money was then transferred to various accounts in Hong Kong, London and Washington, D.C. Other portions of the money were used to purchase, among other things, two Lincoln automobiles and an Oklahoma City nightclub named "Dreams." The cars and the nightclub have been seized by the IRS for forfeiture in the case. Miles-LaGrange called this case the first of its kind in the United States. "I'd like to commend the excellent work by the IRS on this case, especially in view of the international nature of the alleged scheme." # 94-585 # # #