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Nigerian man arrested for stealing over $20K from Lafayette resident

Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 20:25:03-04

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry released a statement on Tuesday on the arrest of a Nigerian man who allegedly stole over $22,250 from an Acadiana resident.

According to the statement, Vincent Izuchukwu Ezeocha, 27, of Nigeria, was arrested on one count of Bank Fraud, one count of Felony Theft, and one count of Money Laundering. The arrest was the result of work by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities said that Ezeocha operated out of Chicago and allegedly contacted the Lafayette victim while claiming to be a New Mexico merchant with whom the victim had previously done business. Ezeocha allegedly arranged for another transaction and used Chicago bank accounts to route the illicit funds to himself.

The New Mexico merchant had previously suffered a network intrusion that compromised the merchant's email database.

On Monday, LSP stopped Ezeocha for speeding in Tangipahoa Parish and determined Ezeocha was wanted by the LBI for felony charges in Lafayette Parish, at which time he was booked in Tangipahoa as a fugitive for LBI. On Wednesday LBI agents booked Ezeocha in Lafayette on the specified charges. During the investigation, it was determined that Ezeocha was a Nigerian citizen, in the U.S. by way of a visa. Ezeocha had previously been detained in Chicago following a traffic stop in August, but was not held for extradition to Louisiana by the Chicago Courts despite the active warrant for his arrest in Louisiana.

"This case should be a reminder to businesses and consumers to take a few extra steps to keep their information safe online," added General Landry. "And this case is further proof of the need for comprehensive immigration reform."

A detainer has been placed on Ezeocha by HSI.