Joliet Cops & U.S. Secret Service Take Down Nigerian Scammer: Police

A Nigerian citizen living in Crest Hill posed as an oceanographer from New Zealand while running an internet auto sale scam, police said.

Valentine Odije. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Valentine Odije. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
A Nigerian man living in Crest Hill ran an auto sale scheme and bilked his unwitting victims out of more than $10,000, officials said.

Valentine Odije, 25, of 1805 Arbor Lane was taken into custody at his home by Joliet police.

Odije was booked into the Will County jail on charges of wire fraud and theft. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

Odije preyed on the buyers and sellers of motor vehicles on Craigslist, said Joliet police Lt. Brian DuPuis.

Odije convinced car sellers to send him money to cover shipping costs, Dupuis said. In one of his schemes, Odije adopted the persona of an oceanographer from New Zealand, he said.

The U.S. Secret Service worked with the Joliet police on the case. The Illinois Attorney General's Office will prosecute Odije.

Odije had his marks wire him funds through MoneyGrams at Walmarts and used the aliases "Steven Johnson" and "Jordan Johnson," said Attorney General spokeswoman Maura Possley.

Odije worked with an unidentified accomplice who remains at large, Possley said.

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Ex Jolietian March 31, 2014 at 07:12 PM
If we had a strong economy we would have less crime. People can't find honest work so they turn to crime. I blame President Obama and his comrades.
Ex Jolietian March 31, 2014 at 07:15 PM
LOL... 300 block of north Hickory... one block from Evergreen Terrace. JOLIET – Five teens were arrested early Saturday after authorities said they shot at another vehicle on North Hickory Street. Cmdr. Al Roechner said just after the shots were reported at 1:45 a.m. in the 300 block of North Hickory, a detective saw two cars driving over the Jefferson Street Bridge "at high speeds" and pursued them. The vehicles split up, but officers pursued a gray 1998 Ford Escort on Chicago Street to Fifth Avenue to Eastern Avenue where the car stopped at a dead end, Roechner said. A 16-year-old boy fled from the car and ran away before being recaptured in the 600 block of Gardner Street, Roechner said. Brandon Maiden, 19, a 17-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy remained inside the Escort, where officers found a .45-caliber handgun under the passenger seat, Roechner said. The gun had been reported stolen from Kenosha, Wis. "With probable cause to search the vehicle, they checked the trunk and found another 17-year-old boy hiding inside with two loaded guns," Roechner said. Police also reportedly found shell casings on Hickory Street.
Ex Jolietian March 31, 2014 at 07:15 PM


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