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Nigerian Internet Scam Blamed For $600K Seizure From Oklahoma City-Based Trevo

Trevo LLC President Mark] Stevens
Courtesy photo
The Journal Record

The FBI has found thousands of dollars from scam victims in an Oklahoma City company’s bank account, but they may not be in trouble.

The multi-level marketing company Trevo sells its nutritional supplement juices in dozens of international markets.

Late last month, the FBI seized $610,000 from scam victims that found its way into the company’s bank account, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

“Unfortunately, there were some brokers that the money that was exchanged from our (Nigerian currency) into U.S. dollars, there was some fraudulent activity on that,” [Trevo LLC President Mark] Stevens said. “Not from the company, but through the individuals that were doing the third-party brokerage. That money ended up in our account without our knowledge that it wasn’t actually legitimate.” According to an FBI filing in federal court, several Americans were scammed out of thousands of dollars online. Among the victims, an Oklahoma City man met someone online and the two had a relationship solely through text messages. The man spent more than $17,000 trying to help the scammer get a nonexistent inheritance out of Nigeria, sending the money directly to Trevo’s bank account.

The FBI did not name any suspects, and Stevens said he is not under investigation. However, Stevens said he has reached out to Nigerian police to investigate the brokers.

Oklahoma attorney Robert Robles, who is not affiliated with the case, said international banking comes with complications. Robles said Trevo now has to tell the federal government why the money shouldn’t be seized from its accounts, if the company wants to fight the seizure. “All of this takes some time, but it is a way that the owner of the money can be exonerated,” Robles said. “It could be an innocent thing, but on the other hand, it could be not so innocent.” Trevo has not yet responded to the federal seizure filing.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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