By Josh Campbell, CNN
Published 6:42 AM EDT, Mon August 14, 2023
Publisher’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 (or call 800-273-8255) to connect with a trained counselor. Or please visit the Lifeline site.
Alleged members of a global sextortion operation that targeted more than 100 victims and led to the death of a 17-year-old boy were extradited to the United States on Sunday to face federal criminal charges, authorities said.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, and Samson Ogoshi, 20, both of Lagos, Nigeria, were arrested following a joint investigation by the FBI and Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and are now in federal custody in Michigan, US Attorney Mark Totten said in a news release.
Both men were indicted in May by a federal grand jury on charges including conspiracy to sexually exploit minors and conspiracy to distribute child pornography, according to court records.
Samuel Ogoshi also faces a more serious charge of sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor resulting in death, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. That charge stems from an alleged online encounter that investigators say resulted in the death of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay, who died by suicide after falling victim to a sextortion scam.
Authorities say the extradition of a third man, Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, is pending.
CNN is attempting to locate attorney information for the defendants.
The FBI defines sextortion as an online scheme in which a perpetrator using a false identity solicits an explicit photo from an unsuspecting individual and then threatens to publicly release the image unless the victim provides payment.
It commonly “starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship or with someone who is offering something of value,” the FBI said.
The bureau has received thousands of sextortion reports of minors last year, representing an “exponential increase,” and was aware of more than a dozen suicides associated with these scams, it said.
Many of the sextortion scams reported to federal agents are determined to be from suspects on the African continent and in Southeast Asia, the FBI told CNN.
According to prosecutors, Samuel Ogoshi used a hacked social media account to make contact with DeMay while pretending to be a young woman. After persuading DeMay to provide a sexually explicit photo of himself, Ogoshi allegedly threatened to publicly release the image unless DeMay paid the scammers.
DeMay paid Ogoshi $300, but Ogoshi demanded more, authorities said.
After DeMay wrote that he was going to kill himself, Ogoshi allegedly responded, “Do that fast, or I’ll make you do it,” Totten said.