In a rare move, two Nigerian men were extradited to the U.S. over the weekend to face charges in a sexual extortion scheme that authorities say prompted the suicide last year of a 17-year-old Michigan high school student.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, and his younger brother Samson Ogoshi, 20, of Lagos, were flown to the U.S. on Sunday and are expected in federal court in Grand Rapids on Monday afternoon, the Justice Department said. They are charged in a four-count indictment with the sexual exploitation of minors and with causing the death of Jordan DeMay, 17, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in March 2022 after the defendants allegedly tricked him into sending explicit photos of himself and threatened to share them with friends and family. Samuel faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted, and Samson faces a minimum sentence of five years.
“Here was three Nigerian men that conspired from across the planet, and came into my house in the middle of night while I was sleeping, and murdered my son,” his father John DeMay told NBC News in May.
The FBI issued a public safety alert last year warning that thousands of teens, particularly young males, are being targeted in “sextortion” schemes, most of which originate abroad. West Africa has long been identified as a hub of cybercriminals who prey on Americans, but U.S. authorities traditionally have not had much success in securing law enforcement cooperation in those countries to make arrests.
“This case is a huge deal, and it was the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes, government to government,” one senior Justice Department official said. “It really underscores the lengths to which we will go to bring these guys to justice.”
Earlier this year, agents from the FBI in Michigan travelled to Nigeria “to conduct a cooperative investigation with Nigerian law enforcement officials,” the Justice Department said. U.S. officials worked to prepare a request for provisional arrest, with a view toward extradition, of the two Ogoshis and a third defendant, Ezekiel Robert. Robert’s extradition is still pending.
In May, the three men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Michigan. On July 20, a Nigerian judge ordered both Ogoshis to be turned over to the U.S. to face the charges in the indictment. On Aug. 3, the Nigerian solicitor-general signed the final surrender order, authorizing the U.S. to bring the Ogoshis to West Michigan.
“Financial sextortion is a global crisis that impacts teens in our country and around the world,” said Devin J. Kowalski, acting special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan. “As this case demonstrates, the FBI is committed to working closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to prevent young men and women from becoming victims of this tragic crime.”
According to the indictment, the defendants bought hacked social media accounts and used the accounts to pose as young women to lure teenage and young adult males into sexual chats. They allegedly used an Instagram account bearing the username “dani.robertts,” which communicated with Jordan DeMay shortly before his death. After initiating chat conversations with the victims, the defendants used the internet to compile dossiers identifying their home addresses, schools, family members and friends.
The indictment says the defendants then used their female personas to induce their victims to produce and send sexually explicit images of themselves. The defendants then allegedly created collages that included the sexually explicit image alongside other images of the victims from social media, including images of the victims’ school, family and friends. The defendants then threatened to disclose the collages to others, including family, friends and classmates, via social media unless the victims paid money. The grand jury alleges the defendants engaged in this extortion and attempted extortion of more than 100 people.
Jordan Demay had been a senior nearing graduation from Marquette Senior High School, where he played football and basketball. Six hours after he was approached for money, he was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his parents said.
They provided excerpts of text conversations between DeMay and the extortionists.
One said, “I have screenshot all ur followers and tags can send this nudes to everyone and also send your nudes to your Family and friends Until it goes viral… All you’ve to do is to cooperate with me and I won’t expose you Are you gonna cooperate with me...Just pay me right now...And I won’t expose you.”
The extortionists wanted $1,000, but DeMay could send only $300.
DeMay messaged them: “I’m kms rn [killing myself right now]. Bc of you.”
The defendants allegedly replied, “Good...Do that fast...Or I’ll make you do it...I swear to God.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.