2 Nigerians Stole $660K From Mercer County, Officials Kept it a Secret


In September 2019, the feds announced the arrests of numerous fraudsters who used “business email compromise” or BEC schemes to intercept and hijack wire transfers of vulnerable agencies.

The four-month probe, dubbed Operation reWired, involved the U.S. departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Investigators seized $3.7 million in stolen funds and arrested 281 people, more than half who were from Nigeria. Authorities nailed others in Turkey, Ghana, France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Not a peep was made about the international roundup in the Trenton press, because the news release obscured a little-known fact, kept close to the vest by members of the Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes administration: Two of the arrestees, Nigerian “money mules” Emmanuel Igomu and Jude Constantine Balogun, were tied to the theft of $660,000 in taxpayer funds from the Mercer County government in February 2019.

The federal theft case is sure to set off a fresh round of questions about Hughes’ handling of county affairs and his administration’s forthrightness with county leaders and the public.